We caught up with Emma Olofsson, one of the newest members of the Goodyear Wingfoot Alliance, for a chat about her life and career so far within the MTB world. Oh, and we also meet her feathered sidekick, Donald the Duck!

WHAT THE DUCK...........

One of the newest additions to the Wingfoot Alliance family, Emma has made a big splash (duck pun intended) across the mountain biking scene. The Swedish rider now based in New Zealand mixes her love of rock and heavy metal with big jumps and the results speak for themselves.

We caught up with Emma and her sidekick Donald to find out about her progression through mountain biking and what to expect in 2023.

Can you explain your journey from starting mountain biking to where you are today?
The first time I got on a mountain bike was in 2014 I think, my brother had seen this sport online and wanted to try it out so our mom and I came with him to try it out! I think I walked more than I rode but I remember really enjoying it. I rode a few times after that, visited a few different places to ride in Sweden but it’s very flat and mountain biking isn’t really a thing there. Anyway, after a few years of living in cities, I moved to New Zealand in 2017. My brother lived in New Zealand too and he got me to buy a 2010 Giant Glory with like 600mm handlebars haha! The fact that the bike park is right in town here in Queenstown made it so easy to be able to ride every day, and that really sparked my love for biking. All trails were pretty hard in Queenstown back in 2017 so to ride more than a handful of trails, I had to ride a lot of steep and harder tracks which helped me progress quite fast at the start.
Most riders in Queenstown go overseas during winter here and that inspired me to do the same, after a season in Queenstown, I went to Åre, in Sweden and did a season there. There is nothing else to do there in summer than to ride, so I rode a lot, and it’s a really good bike park for beginner/intermediate riders. Then I went back to Queenstown for a summer, then to Europe for a summer, back to Queenstown for a few years so I rode ALL THE TIME.
I always want to progress and get really upset with myself if I don’t, so I always set goals to achieve whether it was learning a trick or riding a specific track, I always had personal goals I was striving to achieve.
I’ve always been interested in photography and art and see myself as a quite creative person, so I started getting into photography and video shoots for biking and always loved it! It’s cool to see how your riding can get expressed in art. Even doing iPhone edits, can be art, how you put music and video together can make some really cool content and I like editing my clips after a ride just as much as I like riding. I guess this has taken me to where I am today, riding, still pushing my limits, getting content and keeping things in my style!

As an amateur, who did you look up to for inspiration, are there any key people who helped you get to where you are today?
Hmm, I’ve always been a fan of Veronique Sandler’s style on a bike. After seeing her videos doing crankflips and sui’s, these were the first tricks I wanted to learn, and I did! I also really looked up to people I was riding with, my second year in Queenstown I rode a lot with my friend Matteo Iniguez, I think we all know what an insane rider he is and he helped me ride harder trails and made me do one handers, no footers etc on the jumps so I owe him a big thanks to where I am today! My first few photoshoots were with Hunt Cinema, so I of course have them to thank for getting my name out there. Yeti NZ helped me by giving me discounts on their bikes so this also helped me a lot as having a good bike with good components gives you the confidence to ride bigger jumps and steeper trails, trusting your bike is key to progression!
I also believe being at Hang Time and Dark Horse helped me a lot, this was recently but these jams were great for my progression and stokeness on bikes! So, thank you Hannah Bergemann and Casey Brown for inviting me to your events, they were also for sure the highlight of my trip I did overseas last winter. Also, all my friends who helped me get photos and videos at the start of my career, without them, this obviously wouldn’t have happened. to I have a lot of people to thank for getting to where I am at today!
How much did Being a part of the Mons Royals Future Ground camp impact your development as a rider?
The main thing I took with me from this event was that I got to know a bunch of RAD chicks. I never rode with girls before this camp, after Future Ground we all became really good friends and we have a huge girl crew riding together in Queenstown now. It was also during this camp I had the confidence to hit a few of the jumps on the Dream line which was huge for me then! At every women’s jam/event I’ve been to, I’ve always felt so confident and supported in my riding.

When did you make the decision to go pro, was it a natural progression or did you plan and push for it to happen?
I never aimed to get sponsors or to go pro, I’ve always just ridden for fun and because I love it and I think it shows in my riding and personality. My first few sponsors hit me up and I was stoked to get some support as biking is expensive, especially when you work for pretty much minimum wage in Queenstown. It wasn’t until last year I contacted people for support, as I then was at a point where I really couldn’t work full time anymore and have time to ride, create content and have a life. So, it happened quite naturally from my love for biking, content creation and social media.

Do you see yourself always being based in New Zealand?
What was the reasoning behind taking the big jump south from Sweden?

I think so, I love it here; insane riding, long summers, amazing people, super safe and NZ is a very laid-back country. I never planned to stay here forever, but things just kinda ended up that way. I was running out of work visas to get here, so I got my Canadian Working Holiday visa to live there for a year, but then Covid happened and I decided not to go there just yet. After being stuck in New Zealand for like two or three years, this felt like home, and because of covid, I could get a 3-year long visa too so I didn’t have to worry about getting kicked out of the country after a year had passed. I got my residency here in June last year, through this fast-tracked one-off residency visa they released because of a lack of staff after Covid. So I am actually allowed to live here forever now, so I think it would be dumb not to!

Have you noticed a difference in opportunities from when you started riding to now? Especially for female riders in the sport?
For sure, I mean now I am more a part of it all The female presence in mountain biking has really blossomed and more and more girls are getting noticed and supported by companies and events.
In 2023 what can we expect to see from you, what’s on Emma’s calendar?
I have a lot of goals and plans for this year and hope to achieve them all! So far my personal life has been pretty hectic, changing jobs, working more with companies, new sponsors, moving houses, getting a pet duck etc. I am really keen to create some sick art this year, in video and photo form. I am also planning to travel a fair bit to ride new stuff with new people, and document this to inspire others to travel and ride! I’m planning to go to Tasmania, the US, Canada and Europe this year so I hope I can make it all happen. I’d also like to attend a few more events this year, no  competitions but events that I wanna ride for fun and to push my limits. And a big goal for me is to push the women’s MTB scene in Queenstown, we are so many girls absolutely tearing it up here and I would love to showcase this and just ride with sick female shredders here.
Finally, is there an up-and coming female rider are you most excited about who are they and what makes them different?
There are so many, but someone I’m really stoked to see more of is slopestyle rider Patricia Druwen, she can do ANY trick and has the sickest steeze, flow and style, I’m mind blown every time I see her videos. Brooke Anderson, my YT teammate, is another young and INSANE rider. The amount of steeze this girl has, even in first hits she is just so so stylish and it’s amazing to see.
Can’t wait to see her progress as she is already a super-talented rider and an amazing person!
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