I started skateboarding back in 2019. Two of my brothers, one older and one younger, have been skating since they were kids. Back in 2019, my boyfriend at the time was also a skater, and I found myself at the skatepark quite frequently, getting stuck with the role of filming his tricks. Watching them skate always looked like so much fun to me, but I had never tried it out because I thought it was a sport that didn’t match up with my personality or gender.
My boyfriend had a roommate whose girlfriend also skated. I thought this was so cool because, with the number of times I’d been at the park, it was so rare that I would see a girl skating. Watching her inspired me, and I started practicing on other people’s boards.
When I finally got a skateboard of my own, I realized how much I enjoyed it, and that it didn’t matter what other people thought. My best friend got her own board too and we started going to the parks just the two of us, without any brothers or boyfriends. It was nice going together because we were both beginners, so most of the time we were working on the same tricks.
Building up the courage to go to any skatepark was difficult in the beginning. I was always intimidated by the other skaters at the park since they were almost always all boys, and I felt insecure and out of place. I also dealt with men coming up to me and trying to teach me how to skate when I didn’t ask. This got frustrating at times, especially after I’d been skating for a couple of years and was at my local park, where I clearly felt comfortable and familiar. They would give me tips on things that they couldn’t even achieve themselves, which got annoying.
Being both a girl and a beginner skater was hard. From what I’ve experienced in California, skaters already aren’t too fond of beginners for some reason, and being a girl is just the icing on the cake.
At the skatepark, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the other skaters. If you want to practice a trick on the coping, for example, you’ve got to make sure that you take turns and wait for others to finish their line before you attempt your own.
I’ve gotten called rude names at the park because a boy was mad that I messed up his line, even though it was my turn and not his. This set me back and made it hard for me to build up the courage to go back.
Regardless, I kept going and as time went on, I started to notice more and more girls at the skateparks. Every girl skater I’ve met has been so friendly and supportive, cheering me on while I try new and intimidating tricks. I even made some friends!
Roller skating also got big during COVID-19, which is heavily dominated by women. One of my other best friends was a roller skater, so she’d bring her skates to the park and I’d bring my board.
Years later, I’m still skating and benefiting from the joy it gives me. I sometimes still feel anxious when going to a new park from what I’ve experienced in the past. But this worry isn’t strong enough to make me forget how much I enjoy it. I encourage all girls to try out skating if they’ve wondered about it, and GCU has such a nice quiet skatepark that isn’t used as much as I thought it would be, which really helps with the intimidation factor.