SPORT - Skateboarding
Skate Out 2: The first ever female only skateboarding event in the
Epic Skatepark, Birmingham - Sunday 23rd Feb, 12-3pm
took off more than twenty years ago and (like most good things) was
instantly dominated by men. Considered at first to be too aggressive
to interest women, the female role within skateboarding was marginalized.
Comparitable to women in other masculine, mainstream sports
such as football, women (in public at least) were watchers, wives and
cheerleaders. However, it was never a simple lack of interest that kept
women from participating in skateboarding, our social conditioning tells
us (both men and women) that is not normal and definitely
not feminine. Well, it is now.
Over the last few years female skaters have come out of dingy
car parks and into the limelight, Lucy Adams (the UKs best female
skater) has had considerable media attention within the last year. Last
year also saw the first female only skateboarding event in the UK -Girls
Skate Out, organised by two pro-active female skaters Laura Powell
and Vanessa Gorman, which was held at The House skatepark in Sheffield.
This years Girls Skate Out was held at Epic skatepark in Birmingham,
which should have been easy enough for me to get to from new street
station (as it is a couple of minutes away), had I not confused Epic
with the old Warped Sports skatepark, on the other side of the city.
After a two mile skate followed by a taxi ride with a driver who at
first thought I wanted him to take me to Essex skatepark
my friend and I arrived at Epic, late. Even when you expect it, the
site of a skatepark littered with women rather than boys is slightly
When youre used to just skating street, the prospect of dropping
in at a park (and potentially slamming quite hard) can be quite daunting.
However the tutorials provided by GSO skaters proved to be hugely popular
and inspired many skatepark virgins I spoke too. The first half of the
day took the form of a relaxed jam, where girls either got warmed up
for the competition or had a go and got hurt, myself being in the second
The GSO team had a job encouraging girls to skate in the actual comps,
but the standard of the entrants was really impressive. Sadie Hollins
was the clear winner of the under 18s street, flying around the
park, landing boardslides, noseslides and kickflips, she also won the
kickflip to fakie competition (jammy). Upbeat jazz and broken beats
from the Phonetics were replaced the heavier rock from Ross
to get the over 18s going, Rowena Brannon kicked ass and won the
crown. The much respected Sue Hazel was inspiration to all GSO girlies
as (at 40 years old) she won the mini ramp competition for the second
year running, although Rana Traboulsi gave her a run for her money.
Prize giving ended the day and anyone who placed received a decent prize,
thanks to GSOs generous sponsors who included Carhartt, Gallaz,
Frozen, Howies, Exit Skate Shop, Kates Skates, Easpac, Project
Skates, Rookie, Mooks, Curly Grrlz, Death, Shiner and New Deal UK. The
sticker toss generated more enthusiasm than collection of the bigger
prizes though, which is worrying
On that evening the city of Birmingham was illuminated with girls on
boards, starting their individual journeys home with happy hearts and
bruised knees: a beautiful thing indeed.
skateboarding events are always last, the results always posted at the
bottom of lists. While we continue to be such a minority this under
dog status is both understandable and expected. Being blatantly and
publicly ripped-off at the Etnies European Open competition was a bit
of a shock though.
Girls were required to pay the standard £20 entry fee and to skate
two 45-second runs each. Fair enough. The decision made by the judges
on the day not to bother to place the girls and to give everyone the
same prize money; £40 and an over sized mans watch was almost
The total prize money given out that day was 10k, making it one of the
best-paid skate events in the UK. A total of £240 was handed out
to the girls altogether (half of that being their entrance fee),
2.4% of the prize money. The insult should be self-explanatory.
Money aside, why make the girls do individual runs just to hand out
the same mandatory prize? It was said on the day that not enough girls
had entered but this would have been better received had it been said
before the skating had finished.
Six girls skated that day, a lame amount but definitely enough to constitute
a competition. Being treated as a second rate joke is not going to give
more girls the incentive to participate in big events or to do anything
more than cruise.
It came to light after the competition that the judges had placed the
girls, but decided not to announce the results on the day or to award
the appropriate prizes. In first place was Laura Powell, who started
her run with an ollie to fakie over the steep bank and finished with
a switch 180, where she reverted so fast it looked like a switch 360.
A4, who organised the event with Soletech Europe, told Laura that the
decision to split the prize money evenly between the girls was in
fairness to everyone that came to take part. This is no comfort
to Laura, who spent £20 in petrol and £20 entering, leaving
her with a watch so big that its only use is as a wall clock.
We want to support girls skating but we need more participation
to justify paying anywhere near as much as the guys stated A4.
It is an undisputed fact that the standard of guys skating is
(in all realism) superior to that of the girls but surely girls first
place should have earned a better prize than guys 14th place street?
The final results for the girls jam posted on the Etnies official website
1. Laura Powell / England
2. Emma Richardson / England
3. Rowena Brannon / England
4. Roxanne Chiftory / England
5. Kristina Neff / Germany
6. Florence Hudson / England
Rachel D'Cruze is a senior journalism student at Falmouth
College of Arts- UK
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