Skip to main content

Longboarder Sophee Southall skates around Tasmania to inspire others

Sophee Southall with longboard and cart
Sophee has a trailer board attached to carry her food and tent.

Twitter: @SopheeSmiles

It takes guts to skateboard a thousand kilometres, even if it is through some of Tasmania's most picturesque scenery.

Brisbane blogger Sophee Southall is returning home after a month traversing the island on a long, cruising skateboard known as a longboard.

The 'Miles for Smiles' challenge was Sophee's way of raising money for mental health support service beyondblue.

She boarded from Hobart, along the east coast to Launceston, across to the north-west coast and then back to Hobart.

"I was attracted to longboarding because it's male-dominated, and the idea of a girl — especially because I'm five months pregnant at the moment — it's just absurd and it's not typical," she said.

She was inspired by a male friend's similar route between Perth and Brisbane.

"The fact that a guy took it on, I thought, surely a chick can do this sort of thing as well," she said.

Sophee Southall near Stanley
Sophee Southall found the landscape around Stanley "eerie".

Twitter: @SopheeSmiles

Sophee also took inspiration from scenes in the 2013 movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which featured scenes of the main character played by Ben Stiller, skateboarding through Greenland.

"I think I had maybe two hours the whole trip where it was my Walter Mitty moment, where everything was smooth and what I'd imagined," she said.

"Every other moment was a constant battle with the road. But I wanted it to be a challenge because I knew it would be character-building and it would be an adventure and it wouldn't be easy."

If you or anyone you know needs help:

She struggled with traffic, including road trains and gritty pavement.

Sophee used a trailer board, attached to her main board with a hinge, to carry a tent and her belongings in a plastic tub she described as "nothing fancy".

But the month on the road did have its special moments.

"I have to admit Freycinet National Park was just glorious," she said.

"I really liked Cradle Mountain as well, it incredibly dramatic and commanding as a landscape.

"I think the big surprise though was the north-west coast. I didn't know what to expect - Stanley is almost eerie because it was so unfamiliar to me and it was like nowhere else I've visited, but so striking."

Sophee Southall takes a meal break
Sophee has found the hard times character building.

Twitter: @SopheeSmiles

She said the entire experience was an emotional rollercoaster ride.

"You can't do things like that and not learns things about yourself," she said.

"There were constant problems popping up, and I think especially because I'm expecting a baby it's good that I've learnt how to think on my feet quickly and I don't let the stress get to me.

"I want my baby to be born into a life of adventure and to know it's not just dad that gets to do all these cool things, that women can do them to, that's important to me."

Sophee Southall's holding a longboard.
Sophee Southall says her Tasmania trip was an emotional roller coaster ride.

Twitter: @SopheeSmiles