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Female Skaters – Inescapable Gender Genre

Concrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017

Concrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017 Female Skaters - Inescapable Gender GenreConcrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017Concrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017Concrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017 Female Skaters - Inescapable Gender GenreConcrete Wave Magazine Fall 2017

On the surface, the session looks like any of a hundred other sessions I’ve seen before over these past several decades. This may be the first “all-female” session encountered, tho I can’t recall – and much about it feels different.

My attention is drawn to their facial expressions, the intensity in their eyes translating down into the corners of their mouths; lips strained, eyes narrowed as pupils dart, fixing along invisible “paths-to-assault” as created in the depths of their minds, tracing routes they’d soon take to traverse the horizontal, toward transitional environs, up, up and up, and onto the vertical. Sometimes caressing past the tiles, grinding both trucks hard and loud, sometimes not so high, but just as majestic, and so graceful. Incredibly stylish.

In the shallow end, the enthusiasm is the same for every run. High. Very high.

All levels, ALL skills, are embraced and celebrated somewhat equally. Almost every incremental increase in the ability is celebrated. The degree of stoke is incredible, with a mutual support I’ve seen only in the more close-knit of core community tribes of skateboarders. Here, this day, I do not see any of the shallow, selfish doucheyness that prevails at so many of the public skate parks. Surely an anomaly, as skaters are a “bitchy-bunch” by nature – infantile at times. Thus its absence standing out, and noticeable like this.

Loudly, they exclaim when one of their lot shoots into the deep end – low and slow scum-line carves. It is surprising, how loudly they yell, cheer, shout, praise each other for just doing that. I find it rather curious. This joy, passion, the deep, deep stoke … is off the charts. Why do they blow up so over some small carves? I try to think of a time where my friends and I were ever this excited about something as specific as what amounts to “beginner” carves. Maybe back in ’76, ’77, while seeking out our first backyard pools. Maybe 15, 16 years old.

Imagine one of them times when you light a match in a pitch-black room. It explodes in my mind, but in a slow, deliberate way, revealing what I am actually witnessing as not very different than the same paths on which my old friends and I had scored our skate epiphanies. Those series of firsts. First push down the sidewalk without falling. First drop off a curb. First tic-tac. First scum-line carves, then tiles, then grinds, then double-edgers … and so it grows. Indeed, it becomes more of a beautiful thing for these old eyes, which have had the good fortune to see certain humble beginnings 40-odd years ago, and recognize much of that same stoke, passion, daring in the spirit, of these hard-charging females. It’s as if I were seeing what we must have looked like back in the mid-’70s. It becomes glaringly apparent that the reason I didn’t grasp the source of the stoke in the female skateboarding movement prior to this is that I have no point of reference to compare it to. But now, it makes perfect sense. It’s like staring into the past. A good way to begin to grasp and appreciate female skateboarding is by seeing it from the eyes of the past. To not see it with seasoned eyes, but to step out of the shoes of what’s familiar, and see in new ways. A new familiar perhaps. If I were told to summarize female skateboarding into a few words, they would be: Skateboarding Like No One Is Looking.

Companies run by women such as Meow Skateboards are collaborating for the female skate scene growth!

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