Women make up under a quarter of the total number of skaters in the US and probably less here in New Zealand. There’s this perception that it’s a male-only sport, and the hordes of teenage boys at skate parks around Auckland everyday can be intimidating for young girls who want to give it a go.
I believe that skating is a brilliant outlet for creative individuals, and it’s helped me to unleash my artistic side throughout my life. And although young girls may want to skate too, there’s very few actually having a go - how can we change this?
Getting girls involved
Skateboarding was born in California way back in the 1950s - invented by surfers who still wanted to ride when there were no waves. Back then it was a counterculture, for the individuals, the out-of-the-box thinkers - and 57 years later it’s still the same.
This doesn’t mean that skateboarders are punks or miscreants. They just think a little differently and skateboarding is an outlet for that individuality. After all, no matter how many tricks you can do, what’s always most important is your own style and unique flair on the board. It’s different than other team sports that encourage following the rules and playing a role - skating is all about thinking for yourself, developing your own style and growing creatively.
By emphasising this aspect of skating, we can encourage young girls to get involved and find their own creativity.
Skaters are inherently creative, and this I what I try to bring to the fore in my ‘design your own board’ workshops. They’re brilliant for both boys and girls, but they have a special value for young women who might be hesitant to try riding the board for fear of injury or judgement from male skaters
By showing them how fun creating together can be, and how inclusive skate culture really is, we can get young girls of all shapes and sized to give skating a chance. When they do, a world of possibility open to them.
The link between skater and board
Being creative is great for kids. It helps in their mental development, encourages new ways of thinking and, when they see the results of their efforts, the boost to their self-esteem is obvious to see.
It’s fantastic to see the pride kids take in what they’ve created when they get to take their creation home with them after a ‘design your own board’ workshop. This makes young girls want to ride their boards, get more creative and think outside the box. For me this is what makes running my workshops worthwhile!