Don’t Think, Just Do
The prominence of females in the skate community has been steadily inclining for some years now, and is clearly growing in popularity. You only have to look at the likes of skaters such as US chicks Leticia Bufoni, Lacey Baker, Nora Vasconcellos and Vanessa Torres, or Brit gals Josie Millard, Lucy Adams and Stefani Nurding, to see the abundance of coverage ladies are receiving.
Maybe it’s due to popular culture, with fashion brands continually lending inspiration from the skateboarding community’s trends; or social media, where anyone can post their own story for thousands of people to see - the landscape is changing. But, for me, it was still scary taking that first leap.
Skateboarding has always been something that I kind of idolised. From being a kid I was fascinated by the culture, from the style and aesthetic right down to seeing the hard work and determination that goes into landing a trick. Yet, despite my interest, I was always too scared. Mostly because, at the end of the day, skateboarding is for boys, right?
Sure, skateboarding has long been a sport dominated by men, but just because more men are doing it doesn’t mean that girls can’t altogether. I’m very lucky that some of my best guy friends skate, and they’re super passionate about what they do, and about sharing that passion with someone else - with anyone else!
I spent a long time idolising everything they did. I was mesmerised every time they seemed to effortlessly grind a rail or drop in on a ramp. I just figured I couldn’t do that, ‘cause I was a girl. Because if I did do that I would be deemed as a “poser”, or an “attention seeker”. Being a female entering into a male dominated sport, especially one associated with some gnarly injuries, can be daunting. So, instead, I lived vicariously through the boys in my life.
Photo: Stella Grob
But then, I made a huge transition, and packed my shit up, and moved 3,600 miles across the ocean to Toronto, in a bid to tick off a list of things I want to do. Step one, move to Canada. Step two, start taking skating seriously and stop giving a fuck about what other people think.
Only one week after my arrival I discovered the Babes Brigade, an all-girl skate crew made up of a range of abilities that welcomes new members. The group was set up in 2015 by Stephanie Battieste in a bid to tackle underrepresentation of women in the sport, and is growing by the day.
Arriving in winter meant that the weather wasn’t exactly shred friendly, but luckily the group meet once a week in the East End of the city, at The Skate Loft.
Youth Lessons | Photo: Stella Grob
It’s a refreshing change to go into a space surrounded by chicks with similar goals and likes who are all super welcoming and encouraging. They also kick ass. Just ten minutes into my time there, I found myself attempting my first ever mini ramp, filled with trepidation and excitement. These gals don’t mess around.
Sure, I was thrown into the deep end, but as I’ve learnt, it’s better not to over think. Don’t think about it, just do it. Even when your body continually rejects the whole concept. It’s harder if you think about it.
Everyone was super friendly and supportive and no matter how many times I fell on my ass, or anyone did for that matter, it was all about getting back up and doing it again.
I’ve likened the feeling to falling in love, wanting something so desperately that you just want to keep trying. It’s an adrenaline-charged roller coaster of excitement and fear. Hitting the ground and getting back up with more determination.
The growing scene for girls is nothing but a positive one, just another push towards equality, and it’s rad. Skating can be intimidating for anyone, male or female, but just remember: don’t think, just do.
By Aimee Robinson
BABES BRIGADE FACEBOOK: facebook.com/babesbrigade
BABES BRIGADE INSTAGRAM: @babes_brigade
STELLA GROB INSTAGRAM: @stellagr0b
AIMEE INSTAGRAM: @aimeerobbo