Creator Spotlight: Skimboarder + Filmmaker Amber Torrealba

Creator Spotlight: Skimboarder + Filmmaker Amber Torrealba

9 minute read

In honor of International Women's Day, we have lined up a very special Creator Spotlight for you. Amber Torrealba is an impressive multi-hyphenate. Outside of being a 3x World Champion Skimboarder, she also makes waves as an incredibly talented filmmaker. Rather than reading our thoughts on her though, check out the interview below for a deep dive into her amazing story.

For those that don’t know you, how would you describe yourself? 

I’m a dreamer and creator, currently balancing life as a Professional Skimboarder on the World Tour and being a Filmmaker, Editor, and Producer – running my brands while I’m off my board. 

Talk to us about the beginnings of your career and how you got started. 

My creative career started alongside entrepreneurship and my pursuit to become a Professional Skimboarder. At 18 years old while getting my Bachelors at UCF in Florida, I started a skateboard brand, which allowed me to gain experience in digital production and visual branding through photography and videography. After graduating, I started to build a unique portfolio of POV and other action sports content for my personal brand as I was becoming a Professional Skimboarder and gaining sponsors. I realized that filming while out for a skim session not only helped me become a better rider through playback, but also allowed me to learn how to edit. Years later, I left my corporate job managing a million dollar RadioShack store, to go all-in on my professional skimboarding and creative career. I packed everything I could fit in my small car, and moved to Southern California by myself with no turning back. My love for creative video and storytelling through short films developed further through making my dreams become a reality in California and eventually winning world titles on the most prestigious skimboarding beaches in the world. 

I was the only professional girl skimboarder in the world making a living through content creation and influencing through online platforms, so I have always wanted to inspire others to tell their story and create their own path to do what they love. Over the years I’ve been grateful to create with many brands such as Red Bull, Adobe, GoPro, Insta360, Seadoo, Panasonic, Hollyland, Blenders Eyewear, Freestyle Watches, and so many more amazing collabs and relationships.

"I was the only professional girl skimboarder in the world making a living through content creation and influencing through online platforms, so I have always wanted to inspire others to tell their story and create their own path to do what they love." - Amber Torrealba

Can you tell us about your earliest influences, and some of the people that inspire you today?

I have always been influenced by creators that push the boundaries of traditional filmmaking. My style has developed from the skate and action sports culture growing up, so I enjoy blending the style of a traditional skate and surf film, with storytelling and cinematography in my short films. 

How has technology affected your career? Does anything in particular excite you about where technology's going right now?

I feel that technology has played a huge part in every step of my career, especially with a background of 7 years with RadioShack. Being an innovator and early adopter on technological changes in the industry allowed me to find more fun in creating and stay on top of trends. I look at tech advancements these days, such as AI plugins, as additional tools in what I’m creating. I’m excited about some of the AI, VR, and AR options that are arising to potentially aid in experiences for others around the world that might not be able to see the things that I get to see, but I can help them experience it through my art and storytelling. It allows us to understand more perspectives, and ultimately ways to express ourselves and connect with one another in new ways. Change in tech is inevitable, so I like to stay open to the shifts in entertainment and expression through digital art and film.

Can you tell us about a time having a data storage strategy prevented you from losing important work? 

Traveling for projects around the world and in remote places leaves my team and I in many vulnerable situations with our gear and storage drives. One of those times being when a drive failed completely within an approaching deadline. Our storage strategy was able to save me from having to completely re-shoot the project because my partner and I always have an extra copy of the footage on my drive and his for safety. Particularly for this level of a project, I also did not erase the original memory card until the project was sent off. I set it aside as a backup and used a new or alternating sd card for my next overlapping project. So in this case, thankfully, the project files were stored in 3 locations (2 SSDs, and 1 SD) so I was able to recover the project fully and deliver by the deadline. Heart dropping moments for sure!

Can you walk us through a typical day of work?

A typical day for me flows with the weather, tides and waves. Seems cliche when I say it, but as a Pro Skimboarder I need to balance my time with how and when it is best to be in front of my computer editing vs. on location filming for a new video, or practicing and competing on the world tour. If the waves are good, I’m going to be out filming and practicing skimboarding to take advantage of what the ocean provides at that moment. So at times, this means a lot of late night editing and particular production planning to meet client deadlines, but I have found a lot of reward in this workflow. After being outside, traveling, and the experiences of an extreme lifestyle, there’s a ton of reward in being able to rest my body in the editing bay for some time during post production. 

How do you stay inspired and motivated creatively?

I usually stay inspired and motivated by aligning myself with projects and goals that are authentic to me and what I believe in. It moves me to connect with others who are also following their passion in their career. I created my company “No One” from my latest short film, on a mission to give back, sponsor, and provide a platform for other athletes and creators chasing their dreams like I did. 

Can you touch on some of your more recent career highlights?  What were some of the most gratifying moments of your career?

Some of the most gratifying moments in my career were winning the Vic World Championships at the beach I always dreamed of skimboarding, as well as touring my first short film from coast to coast in the US, showcasing it on the big screen in my home theater of Melbourne, Florida. There have been some serious full circle moments for me along this journey, but it means the most to me to see other girls around the world also achieving their goals alongside our movement and creative projects.

Can you tell us about a project that was particularly challenging? How did you overcome those obstacles? 

One of the toughest projects I’ve done was in the flooded Utah Salt Flats with freezing water and ripping winds. (Watch the reel on IG here.) Everything we touched would become salt and potentially ruined, with water below 32 degrees fahrenheit and only liquid because of the salt. It was really important to plan each shot, time slot, have alternate takes, and shoot-to-edit. While this seems like it should be common practice, the nature of extreme conditions can make it really challenging to get the right shots and bring any concept to life, so there are many times where you have to work with what you got in the moment and be flexible. Skimboarding on that surface was the hardest place I’ve ever had to perform, and the mirror effect we were going for only had certain windows with the wind and ripples. Proper planning and communication with my team overall was the key to allowing me to get what I was looking for in post production. It’s always a delicate dance to haul and protect all of our gear in the mix of saltwater, sand, and gnarly weather. 

What are three products you couldn’t work without?

Besides the main vessel, my laptop – I probably couldn’t work without my SSD, a waterproof cam, and POV mouth mount. But, when I was the face of Adobe’s Premiere Rush, I’ve made projects work with as little as an iPhone, natural light, and any other mount I could create with gaffer tape!

If you could go back in time and give your younger self advice when you were first starting out your career, what would you say?

I would say care less, and explore more. Don't be afraid of what people think of your work because you’ll also look back on it one day and laugh. It’s all a part of the process, and the more you play, the more you have fun and learn, even from your mistakes. Keep pushing boundaries and enter those unknown areas of filmmaking, creating, and your passion.

Thank you so much for sharing some of your story and insights with us, Amber!

Make sure to give Amber a follow on IG and TikTok: @ambertorrealba 

All images and links provided courtesy of Amber Torrealba.

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