The female skate scene is on the rise, with many girls staking their claim at suburban parks and city streets across the world. In fact, in 2013, US women’s sports channel Mahfia TV claimed that skateboarding is the fastest growing sport for female participation worldwide.
But for the women leading the charge, it hasn’t been easy - they’ve had to face serious sexism both from the boys at the rink and the wider skateboarding community that still wants its women to be sexy while they shred. To many people, skating and skating culture is still a masculine thing. Here are four local Aussie groups trying - and succeeding - in shaking that image up once and for all.
Thrusher is a skate gang that was started by 36-year-old mum Alana and her friend after a couple of beers one New Year's Eve. They were inspired by a YouTube video of fifty-something skateboarding mums in California. Thrusher is a play on words, taking iconic San Francisco skate mag Thrasher and mixing it with that delightful vaginal yeast infection that predominantly affects women. The group post weekly skate meets in Melbourne on Instagram and, while they’re female focused, they’re pretty clear that mostly they’re about making the skate park an open and inclusive place where anyone is welcome. “Boobies or willies or anything in between. Just be your rad self!” proclaims their website.
She Shreds was started by a Tassie dad who wanted to teach his two daughters how to skate. Finding that they loved it but were too intimidated to go to the skate park with all the boys, they started trying to get their friends involved. At first starting with just six girls, there’s now over 100 in the gang - from kids just starting school to adult women. They’re also lobbying the Tasmanian government to introduce skateboarding programs for girls in schools as part of sport.
Longboard Girls Crew
Not so much a gang as an online skateboarding community, LGC connects female skateboarders across Australia, sharing “videos, pictures, gnarly stack stories and your successes”, as well as organising meet-ups and giving inspiration to those that want to start their own skate gangs.
Girls Skate Australia
Girls Skate Australia has been running all-girl skate comps around the country for the last five years. It’s run by a collection of professional female skateboarders who are out to change the way the sport is viewed, both among men and in the wider Australian sporting community, along with creating exposure for female skateboarders on a world scale. Their main competition every year is Daughters of Doom, Australia's only annual professional skateboarding event dedicated solely to women.
Get your skate on at 9:30pm tonight with King of The Road on SBS VICELAND. You can also watch the entire series of King of the Road at SBS On Demand: