LIFE AND ADVICE

Get Ya Boards Out: Here’s Why The Future Of Skateboarding Is Female

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It was post-Covid Adelaide, and after two months of mandatory iso, like a lot of people, the experience made me want to get out of the house as much as possible. My answer? Skateboarding.  

WATCH: Aimee Massie Skating.

I grew up with a skate park near my home, and for years I walked past feeling fascinated by the guys shredding the ramps and their ~cool~ outfits, but I would never look too long as I was intimidated by their laissezfaire attitudes. 

But after iso, my intrigue got the better of me, so I thought whatever, I may be awful, but I want to give this a go.

I managed to wrangle two friends together – Nina and Dina – and we bought boards to start our very own tragic but delightful skate group.

You don’t need to be skaters to know that men dominate the sport – it’s also historically been very difficult for girls to even get onto a board.

But now, 20 years or so after skateboarding blew up in Australia, the girls are getting their go.

No one understands this better than professional skater Aimee Massie, 29, who works at Basement Skate in Sydney.

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Aimee Massie. (Credit: Instagram)

Who is Aimee Massie?

Aimee has been on the scene for years and is a trailblazer for girls in skating, and she has a huge following on Instagram, which has 102k and on TikTok, which has 870.6k followers.

She has also started a YouTube channel called Aimee Massie to inspire girls to get into skating and teach tips and tricks.

For Aimee, skateboarding became an essential part of her life because she subconsciously used the skate park as a safe place to seek refuge from her complicated upbringing.

“I grew up in housing commission, so I was constantly around bad things, bad people, and I would always see drugs and violence.

“Skateboarding for me was something that took me away from all of that, and I think that is why I got so good, because I didn’t want to be at home, I wanted to always be at the skate park away from all of that.

“Skating for me has probably been a coping mechanism… if anything bad is going on in my life I jump on my skateboard and it changes everything.”

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Once the park stops feeling intimating it becomes a refuge. (Credit: Instagram)

This is a deeply relatable experience for a lot of skaters I encountered at the park.

While some people are there to have a break from work and to let off steam, others fell into skating to help cope with things in their life that were causing them pain, and there is a sense of when we are at the park, it is time to leave life on the outside and to let the board transport you to bluer skies.

This is one of the many reasons girls gain from skating because being a young girl is a complicated experience, and getting a group simply to skate is freeing.

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“There were no female skateboarders.” (Credit: Instagram)

Skateboarding and TikTok

On TikTok, the amount of female skaters making content has grown, and Aimee has been at the forefront of this.

Aimee didn’t quite know how TikTok worked when she joined, she just perceived it as another place to put up content, and she blew up on there after reposting her viral Instagram videos.

“I went on TikTok to browse and I realised there were no female skateboarders.

“I joined last year, and I was like I want to inspire women to skate.”

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Using skate competitions to demand space and equal pay

It has been a long-time goal for Aimee to get more girls into the sport, which was probably born from her early skating days when boys would make it hard for her to learn.

“Guys didn’t want you to feel welcome, they thought it was something just for them and that girls weren’t meant to do that but I was there proving them wrong.”

What happened next is what makes Aimee inspiring, she decided if they won’t help, she was going to watch the boys in the day, wait for them to leave and practise their moves until she mastered them herself.

She learnt how to drop in and Ollie on her own, which is an incredible feat because even with guidance, those skills can be hard to achieve.

It was only once she felt confident with her new skills, that she earned the respect of the boys and became a part of the crowd.

This experience is different from the one I had in Adelaide.

I found the guys at the skate park were excited to teach girls to encourage them to learn, and I believe this is a result of women like Aimee, who pioneered women’s skate comps.

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“I would win a $200 prize pack for coming first and a guy would get like $5,000.” (Credit: Instagram)

It wasn’t just the issue of girls not being able to compete but the huge pay gap. 

“Girls weren’t accepted in skating, we were in competitions and girls weren’t winning prize money whereas guys were.

“So me as a girl, I would win a $200 prize pack for coming first and a guy would get like $5,000.”

However, thanks to Aimee and other female skaters, this is no longer the case after a female competition was organised in Melbourne called, Just Another Female Skate Comp.

Aimee competed the year it started in 2011 and ended up winning the $1000 prize, “That was the first year when girls won money, so from that day us girls kind of changed everything.”

There is no doubt that an event like this helped propel more women onto the scene and has made it less jarring for girls to pick up a skateboard.

I like to think this is why I got to have a wholesome experience.

There is still more change to be made because like many industries women are still not being paid what they deserve, or even at all as it is harder to find sponsors and paid comps.

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So, how can you get into skateboarding?

Getting into skateboarding is actually really easy; it‘s as simple as going to your local skate shop and getting on the board.

Aimee has some sage advice on how to build up your confidence so you can eventually feel comfortable going to the park.

1. Find a board that is right for you

When you go to the skate shop, explain to the shop assistant if you want a board for tricks, street, or to skate everything.

Aimee: “Say you’re a street skater and you’re a 17 year-old-girl, I would suggest a 775 board or an 8 boar.”

2. Seek out a basketball court

Now that you have your board it is time to get on it.

Aimee: “Go to a basketball court or somewhere with smooth concrete and just learn your basic tricks.

“You can learn your basics on YouTube as there are loads of females on there.”

3. Intimidation is all in the mind

Most people at the skate park are friendly and willing to give you a hand as you hone your skills.

Although it is intimidating, one guy told me at the park, “You have as much right to be here as everyone else.”

Aimee: “I have been that person, and overcoming that fear as well, you have to just put yourself out there.”

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Skateboarding is a tough sport but it comes with big rewards. (Credit: Instagram)

Skateboarding is such a rewarding sport because victory is achieved through hard work and, ultimately, failure.

Aimee put it best when she said, “It teaches you life lessons because no matter how much you’re getting knocked down, once you land that trick and roll away, it’s the best feeling, and everything is so worth that moment.”

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