For far too long, skateboarding has been dominated by boys. Avril Lavigne’s Skater Boi is perhaps the sport’s biggest anthem (and a total tune, tbf) but how much more cooler would it be if the song championed the Skater Girl? Girls don’t need to sit at the sides of the skatepark, cheering on their brothers and boyfriends. They can be the ones on the boards too, ripping up the park!
Things are changing in the world of ollies and 360 spins, with gender bias being well and truly kickflipped by a generation of seriously gnarly skater girls. With championships such as Street League Skateboarding recently including a women’s division, young female skaters taking social media by storm, and skating initiatives for young girls being set up around the world – could you be the world’s next best skateboarder?
Skating all over the world
Like most forms of exercise, skating is good for the mind, body and soul – although a few bumps and bruises are more than likely along the way. It’s pretty badass, too. No wonder girls around the world are coming together and making their mark.
Skateistan is a charity that gives teenage girls a safe and encouraging environment to skate in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa. It empowers young people and helps grow a confidence that can only be possessed by a strong girl on a board.
Over in America, GRO is another organisation offering skating and snowboarding lessons for young girls in local communities. And SheShreds was set up by a dad in Australia, who realised that his daughters were the only girls in their friendship group who skated.
Here in the UK, emerging website Girl Skate UK is a skater girl’s online bible, which explores all the nation’s skating events, emerging stars and news. Skating lessons and sessions for girls can be found around Manchester, Devon, London, Sheffield and beyond – find your nearest one here.
Rising skater stars
Female skating stars are on the rise. These girls are starting to be sponsored by big skating brands like Vans, and get to travel the world to participate in international competitions. Here are a few to look out for and completely obsess over:
Sky Brown is only 8 years old. Yep, 8! The Japanese skater picked up her first board when she was 3 and has practiced with her younger brother, Ocean, ever since. She is huge on YouTube and is the youngest female to skate the Vans US Open Pro Series. This girl is crazy good and has to be seen to be believed…
Josie Millard is the Brighton based 18 year old who recently won Female Skater of the Year. She started skating 7 years ago when she was curious about her brother’s unused skateboard. Today Josie is part of the Nike SB team (imagine all the free trainers!) and is fast becoming a national treasure. Her advice for girls wanting to give it a try? ‘Just go for it!’
Lizzie Armanto’s skills on the board are as enviable as her chameleon-coloured, curly mermaid hair. The 24 year old Californian has won over 30 international skateboarding awards! She is also part of the Vans crew. Jel much?
The London based Nefarious Skate Crew love skating and pizza – what’s not to love about them? The gang’s mission is to make the idea of skating less scary for girls and to celebrate the growing number of skating events that take place in the city. Give the guys a follow on Instagram.
How can you get involved?
If you feel inspired to grab a board and get out there, it’s best to make sure you’re doing it in the safest way. Get yourself kitted out properly with a helmet, protective pads and proper skate shoes. Then talk to a parent about going along to a skate session near you. Or, if you already have a friend who skates in the local park, ask to go along and give it a try.
Being a girl skater means becoming part of a community that’s widening its circle and breaking barriers. You’ll meet so many likeminded people, have loads of fun shredding hours in the skate park and learn some seriously impressive skills and tricks that only a small number of people possess. Who knows? You might even be chilling out with Sky, Josie, Lizzie and co in a few years’ time.
Image: Hailey Hamilton