Sessions boost female skaters’ confidence

Girls from Primary school age to teens attended a recent Sisters of Shred skateboard event in Orewa. They included, from left, Rola Alghamdi, Jasmine Lau and Kimberly Lau.

An Auckland group that aims to encourage more women and girls to try skateboarding is holding sessions in Orewa.

Tanja Swanepoel started Sisters of Shred last year because she wanted more girls to feel confident enough to give skateboarding a try.

“My friend and I used to go to the skatepark at 7.30am so that no one would see us,” Tanja says. “We were way too intimidated to skate around other people those first couple of times. Slowly we realised that the guys don’t really care, in fact they are often happy to see girls around at the skateparks. I found that, as a whole, skaters are often very supportive.”

In recent months, Sisters of Shred has been running one-day girls skate days on the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast in conjunction with Steve Hodges of OnBoard Skate school.

“The sessions are a safe and supportive environment to try the sport,” Tanja says. “The ultimate goal is to have the girls feeling confident enough to skate at skateparks.”

Tanja says she strongly believes in the positive impact that skateboarding has on individuals both physically and mentally. “Since skateboarding is generally a male dominated sport, girls are often too intimidated to even go to the skate park. A lot of this is due to mental barriers that we, as women, set for ourselves but there are also countless occasions where you receive hostile comments for being a female skater,” Tanja says. “It’s about building up your confidence.”

A total of 14 girls attended a recent session at Orewa skatepark on August 5. Skateboards and safety gear are provided and there are coaches around to offer guidance. The events are free.

The next girls only skate day will be at Orewa Skate Park, Saturday, August 26, 12pm–3pm.


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