The Swiss Squirrel: Getting To Know Tamara Prader

Tamara Prader is one of the few women out there who inspire me. She manages to strike an unbelievable balance between work, skating, love, and travel. She also embodies everything it means to be a global ambassador. She builds and supports grassroots, community events, puts out great media, and is always skating for the joy of it. Throughout it all, she stays true to herself and her values. Tamara may not know it, but the world would be a better place if there were more people like her!

Hey Tamara! How’s it going? Let’s start with the basics! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
Hello Cindy! I am mucho good thanks. My name is Tamara Prader, I am from Luzein, a small village in the Swiss mountains. I do all kinds of things but originally, I am an architect based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

An architect eh? That’s awesome! How did you end up getting into downhill longboarding?
After I graduated from ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), sh* went downhill! I actually have a snowboarding background and the whole downhill longboarding just happened accidentally… things lined up & I was super excited about skating in the beginning, yet never had the intention to compete.

Fun is over©patswitzer
You and Perropro recently collaborated for a new video called ‘Hide Your Nuts’. How did the video come about and what’s the story behind the squirrel suit?
Perropro suggested we do something together which got me extremely excited!! We had worked together for Greener Pastures Offshore so I knew what an honor it was to film with him! I also love his crazy style & great ideas for stories.

The squirrel has been with me for a long time now. In one of my first jobs, everybody was given an animal that suited their character. The squirrel only really came out when I started skating. Now there is one on my leather suit & also a onesie in my closet. Ayumi, Fifer, Partick and I all got onesies in Japan in 2013. Happy memories!

You’ve skated roads all across the world but ended up shooting in California for this video. How do you like skating in Malibu compared to other mountainous places like Japan, Switzerland, or the Canary Islands?
It isn’t really my decision where or when we shoot. It just so happened that Perropro and I landed within two days of each other in California and we both had supporters there that encouraged videos. Boom!

The most amazing thing is to be able to skate a variety of roads and locations! All the above locations would be amazing to skate and film on.

What are your plans for this year?
I cut down a lot of racing. I am enjoying the fact that I’ve been to so many events in only 5 years… now I pick and choose, do more clinics and community things. Mucho fun! Plus, I picked up a Bhangra!! I need a teacher though… wanna help?! I can only go fast down hills… Woamp woamp.

Haha, yes! Dancing is my jam, especially on a Bhangra. We’ll definitely get a lesson in next time around. But let’s talk about community for a moment. I’ve seen you and Patrick create community events and clinics all around the world. Tell me a bit about them and why they’re important to run.
A sport can only grow in a sustainable way if we take care of the community! The kids, the mom’s and dad’s out there, the consumers. It seems to almost be our obligation to teach how to be a responsible and safe rider and good ambassador and ultimately, pass on the idea of what a healthy community can be.

I’ve been doing workshops for ladies here in Switzerland while Pat has started up clinics in the Philippines. We’d love to do more of these clinics together.

The clinic’s content is based off of ambassador training that was originally held by Orangatang. The clinics slowly develop as we go. It is more than a rider clinic as most kids don’t need to be taught how to ride… but they can absolutely learn from us how to be inclusive and responsible. We try to open up conversations and have them think about their own community. How they fit in or not, how to organize your own little events, how to talk to different people who may or may not be positive about skating. Safety and awareness are topics as much as non skill related games in order to involve all the participants. Lots of fun stuff!

Awesome Tamara! We need more people like you who are willing to put in the effort and build communities through rad events. It also takes experience. Let’s talk about the more competitive aspect of skating. How long have you been racing? Do you have a favorite race track?
This is my 5th race season… omg. Time flew! There are different favorites. I tend to always say Kozakov… yet, there are so many great challenges out there!

5 years, wow! You’ve probably seen a lot of ladies come and go in downhill racing. How would you say women’s racing has changed over the years?
That is partly true. Some have been sticking around for a very long time. What has become undeniable is, that the level of riding keeps getting better! The field of strong competitors has become a solid one that slowly keeps growing. There are ladies out there who want to compete.

Yet, it is an unfortunate fact that it is very costly to do full race seasons. A lot of traveling is involved which is, of course, the cool part but also the one that makes it tricky sometimes. In order to get a significant result by the end of the year you have to go to a lot of events. It is difficult to find sponsors who are financially able and willing to support females. At the same time, there are the guys who become jealous when they see the girls jump on the travel- boat… I’ve heard rude words for trying to achieve better exposure and support for females. Wear a thick skin like an elephant with pride and keep shredding ladies!

Maryhill©Christian Barnard
How have you managed to keep racing year after year?
Also a very lucky coincidence. I was picked up by a young firm just at the start of my racing years. They still have me under a part time contract which allows me to make money but also be away for big parts of the year.

Racing is not only expensive travel wise but as well because we go through a lot of equipment. I am happy to get support for wheels, boards and helmets and to receive some incentives depending on how much time I have left next to working. And if I do find time, I can make some money for bills sometimes with graphic design projects from within the skate industry.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to women trying to get into racing?
Make some boys cry!… I don’t know. Racing is good and bad! It brings the best and the worst out of myself so it is very difficult to give advice.

And finally… just so people get to know you a tad better, what is your:

Favourite colour: Black. I know, not a color. It is what it is though.

Favourite food: Fairy dust.

Favourite place: The dark side of the moon.

Favourite set-up: Loaded Truncated Tesseract, Ronins, Orangatang Kegels/ Yellow Keanus.

Favourite skater: I don’t worship. Though, I love it to listen and learn.

Thanks for your time Tamara! Always a pleasure talking to my favourite Swiss shredder. Any last words or shoutouts?
Thanks to Nightnurse Images GmbH Zurich, Orangatang Wheels, Loaded Boards and Triple8 NYC for the support! Huge thanks to my family and friends for the everyday support and to my significant other for pushing me when I am too slow. Believing in unicorns and rainbows makes this world a better place!