São Paulo might be a hotbed of Brazilian skating today, but Letícia Bufoni was on her own when she began skateboarding there at age nine.
“In my neighbourhood, I was the only girl skating,” she says. “Then I started to go to skateparks and I met some girls in Brazil that skated. Then after, maybe not even a year, I started competing in the contests. Everything happened super fast.”
Despite facing early resistance to her love skateboarding from her dad, who didn’t approve until he saw her love and talent, she won the first contest she entered.
At 14, she travelled to Los Angeles to compete in the 2007 X Games, however, after the contest, she never got on her flight home.
Realising that LA was the place to be if she wanted to become the best skater she could, Bufoni made the daunting decision to relocate to California alone.
She enrolled at Hollywood High School and set her sights on skateboarding glory, which she achieved just two years later, when she claimed first place in Street at the 2009 Maloof Money Cup.
Since then, every year just gets better and better for Leticia. In 2013, she won three X Games gold medals, she turned pro in 2017 for Plan B Skateboards, won gold at X Games Street in Norway in 2018 and took another gold at X Games Street Shanghai in 2019.
Bufoni was the first woman signed to the Nike SB team, the first woman on the cover of The Skateboard Mag and she also starred in her own reality TV show in Brazil, becoming a spokesperson for female skaters around the world.
In 2019, Bufoni was selected to be a member of Brazil’s first ever national skateboarding team. Where does she see women’s skateboarding in 10 years? “Just over the past two years it’s changed so much,” she says. “There are more and more girls coming up now – young girls ripping. I feel like after the Olympics it’s just gonna be huge. I think it’ll change everything.”