Women's Skateboarding. It is here to stay.

Women's Skateboarding. It is here to stay.

CULTURE

Women's Skateboarding. It is here to stay.

skateboard (verb): skateboarded; skateboarding; skateboards – to ride or perform stunts on a skateboard.

Simply defined skateboarding is to ride or perform stunts. Further defined, skateboarding is an intransitive verb meaning it is characterized by not having or containing a direct object or possession of said object.

Yet, for many years, skateboarding was seen in competition as a sport for the men. It is only within recent years that skateboarding has taken a leap forward to adding contests for women.

Leticia Bufoni- Photo: Defy Focus Photography

This year at the Dew Tour in Long Beach, June 29-July 1, the ladies are set to take to the course and showcase their undeniable talent to “ride or perform stunts.”

“Skateboarding to me is ultimate freedom as well as a creative outlet,” said Mimi Knoop, former professional skater and current Executive Director of the Women’s Skateboarding Alliance. “No matter how the perception of skateboarding changes for the masses over time, it will always be that for me.”

Photo: Ricoy Photo

Yet still, until 2015, contests for women in skateboarding were hard to come by. Taking this as a challenge, female skateboarders have taken it upon themselves to produce and promote female focused media as well as organized leadership groups like the Women’s Skateboard Alliance (WSA) to provide females with more abundant opportunities to showcase their skills. Much of this work from the skaters to the community around them has led to major gains for women in skateboarding.

“A multitude of factors come into play as to why women’s skateboarding has risen in popularity today,” said Knoop. “Currently, there is an abundance of skate parks around the world and in smaller communities where that wasn’t the case in years past. Accessibility is one driving factor in increased participation among girls in skateboarding. Another reason for growth is that the early adopters of skateboarding in the 70’s and 80’s, when skateboarding was not looked at as a female activity, now have families of their own. It is no longer a ‘rebel or outsider’ sport. It is an embraced family activity, and these fathers are sharing their love of skating with their children and it carries onto their children and more generations to come. Women are riding at an all time level and marketing themselves in way that they can make skateboarding their full time job. There has been a shift to where there are several female skaters that have a bigger following than some of there male counterparts. Take Nora Vasconcellos for example, her pro model skateboard is one of the top sellers for Welcome Skateboards, the brand she rides for.”

Nora is the only female on the team.

Photo: Giovanni Reda

Despite many advances women have made in skateboarding, there are still some barriers they face. One of those being the lack of exposure that they deserve.

“The shift is happening now,” said Knoop. “Social media has played a big role in building an authentic audience around the top women skaters.”

Along with WSA, there are several websites from all over the world dedicated to women and girls in skateboarding and other action sports. These sites serve to advocate for female skateboarders allowing them to increase their visibility and media representation along with developing a community among their peers as well as the broad skateboarding community of fans.

“By continuing to advocate for the skaters and creating new opportunities for them, the growth will continue,” said Knoop. “Beyond just contests, it is important to continue to grow the local communities of skateboarding on the grassroots level too.Through WSA, we try to teach the girls about the impact that they have on future skaters coming up behind them.”

Do you want to be involved?

Join the ladies as well as the men as they skate this weekend in the Dew Tour in Long Beach, California. Event schedule and other information can be found HERE.

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