Brazilian pro skateboarder and X Games gold medalist Leticia Bufoni has achieved more in her 20 years than many of her elders ever will. Here, the fearless phenom shares a playlist of songs that have defined her career so far.
After you've checked out the soundtrack to her life, be sure to watch Leticia explain how she became one of the top female pro skaters in the game today in the video below.
As told to Tara Aquino (@t_akino)
1. “Blitzkrieg Bop,” The Ramones
This song was in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3. I used to play that game with my brother all the time when I first started skating. I’d always play as Elissa Steamer. I was in shock the first time I faced her in competition—it was surreal, but now we’re friends.
2. “Let's Go Surfing,” The Drums
This is the song that I wake up to every morning. It gets me excited to skate. I learned how to skate with my neighborhood friends in Brazil. A guy named Anderson, who had small ramps, rails, and boxes, taught all the little kids. He’s not a pro skater but he’s very good.
3. “Paranoid,” Black Sabbath
In the beginning, my dad was against me skating. He’d say, “You’re skating every day with 10 boys and you’re a girl. You’re not gonna skate anymore.” He used to pull me back home and tell me to stay inside, but I’d wait ’til he left for work and go back outside and skate again. When he went to my first contest, he realized a lot of girls skate, too. Then he gave me his support.
4. “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses
I started listening to Guns N’ Roses in Brazil because my sister is a huge fan. People used to call me Lil’ Axl Rose because I wore my bandana when I skated, especially in competitions.
5. “Kids,” MGMT
The first skate video I filmed in the U.S.—a 2008 Osiris video called "Children of the Revolution"—used this song. Getting my first sponsor with Osiris Shoes was a dream come true because if I didn’t find one I wasn’t going to move to America. Now, I have my own pro shoe.
6. “TNT,” AC/DC
When I first moved to California, I went to Hollywood High School for a year and a half and a lot of the friends I skated with listened to AC/DC. At that time, I didn’t speak any English. Once, I was trying to skate a roof gap and I saw three cops coming. I didn’t know what to say, and they started talking to my friends. I thought we were going to jail but the cops didn’t even give us a ticket. I’ve actually never gotten a ticket. I’m lucky; I’ve never had to run from the cops when I was skating a spot.
7. “Time to Pretend,” MGMT
I skated the 12-stair at Hollywood High School a lot and I listened to this song every time. The 16-stair was too big. [Laughs.] My first big bail was on a vert ramp when I was 12 years old. I tried to drop in and I landed on my nose. I didn’t break it, but it bled a lot and the next day it was all black and big.
8. “Start Me Up,” The Rolling Stones
I’ve always liked to listen to this song as I skate. The Maloof Money Cup in 2009 was the first big competition I won and it’s how a lot of people got to know me. I couldn’t believe it. I was skating against the best girls in the world. I saved the money from the competition and bought a house in Brazil.
9. “Wish You Were Here,” Pink Floyd
This is the song I listen to when I’m feeling good. When I won the X Games Skateboard Street Gold Medal in Brazil, it was one of the best feelings of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to win it than in my home country.
10. “Hey Jude,” The Beatles
I listen to this when I want to relax. It reminds me of hanging out. My favorite things to do when I’m not skating are surfing in San Clemente or Newport Beach and riding bikes with my friends.
Watch Leticia break down how she got into skating, the highs and lows of her career, and what motivates her in the clip below.