Letícia Bufoni, the global skating star known for her high-intensity style and fearless approach reflects on her skating journey over the years.
Urban Playgrounds explores some of the world’s most thrilling places for urban sports, with musings from star athletes, including Letícia Bufoni, Fabio Wibmer and Danny MacAskill, on what makes a spot unique, and insights from academics and architects on the marriage between space and recreation.
Growing up in São Paulo, Letícia Bufoni was nine years old when she got her first skateboard, learning to skate in the streets near her family home. “I was the only girl skating with eight or ten boys,” she remarks. Her father did not approve: one day, he sawed her skateboard in half. After a family friend convinced her to take part in a skating competition, and Bufoni won - her father changed his tune and agreed to travel with a 14-year old Bufoni to Los Angeles to compete in the X Games, where she finished eighth. From this point on, Bufoni decided she wanted to stay in the United States and reluctantly, her family agreed.
“L.A was always the dream city,” Bufoni says. “It was in all the skate videos, and I always wanted to go and skate there.” Moving through the city, skateboarders see the world differently. Every building, every ramp, every staircase is an opportunity to launch a different trick, to Bufoni, “everything can be skateable,”.
She especially likes to skate on public school campuses. “There are schoolyards in L.A that you can only find in L.A”. Covered hallways link single-story classroom buildings and playing fields. There are picnic benches to trailside, ramps to ollie, and staircases for high-flying kick flips. “They have everything,” says Bufoni. When the final bell rings, the skateboarders move in.
Since 2007, Bufoni has won six X Games gold medals and travelled the world to compete and film. In 2021, Bufono represented Brazil in Tokyo at the Olympic Games and finished ninth. “When I started skating I just wanted to skate, because I was doing what I love,” she says. “I never thought I’d be one of the biggest skateboarders in the world - it’s just crazy.”
Be it freestyling on a skateboard, riding a BMX, or stretching the human body in parkour, athletes unlock the endless possibilities of the urban landscape. Envision the city as an infinite playground. Discover more in Urban Playgrounds today.