Paige is a skateboarding coach for Skate Like A Girl, an organization that is working to make skateboarding a more inclusive world. Skate Like A Girl offers programming for skaters of all ages, ranging from 3 years old to adults, though all programs are currently virtual due to the pandemic. Skate Like A Girl creates a community where skaters can connect, share skills, gain confidence, and learn about important social justice issues.
What’s it like to be a girl in the skateboarding world?
My first thought when I started working with Skate Like A Girl was, “Wow, I wish I had a program like this growing up.” When I was growing up in the skate world, I always found myself in the shadows of male skaters which made it really hard to progress. Women, trans, and queer skaters have place here where they can learn, grow, and be themselves without having to face the pressures of not being “good enough” or that they don’t belong. It can be really intimidating for young or beginner skaters to skate at a park, so we provide a safe space for them to make mistakes, practice falling, and ultimately build their confidence.
What skills does skateboarding provide young girls?
At Skate Like A Girl, we discuss topics with our participants that aren’t necessarily related to skating but are important in creating social skills and having awareness of what’s going on in the world around them. Each week they have a different theme where we talk about what these topics mean in the context of skating in life. We’ve discussed things like inclusion, equite, determination, and self confidence. In a way, we are using skateboarding as a vehicle to discuss social justice. Skating helps a lot with social skills as our youth tackles their fears of being worried about people watching them. We teach our skates that it’s ok to fail and to try new things, and that vulnerability is something that should be celebrated— not everyone is brave enough to try something new! I’ve also been able to see how skating improves leadership skills, which is really important to teach this next generation of skaters.
What’s the best part of being a coach?
I love getting to know our participants, playing games with them, and having fun. My favorite moments are when we are trying to play a game or run a drill and things totally go awry and we’re able to be silly and just wing it. It’s great to see kids connecting with other skaters because they are both trying something new and having fun while doing it. During the pandemic especially, this connectivity has been so important and has been a great way to keep kids motivated and having fun.
What do you see as the future of skateboarding?
There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement in terms of inclusion in skateboarding. I want to see more diversity and more inclusive communities within the skating world so that everyone can feel welcome to participate. These communities are just starting to emerge, but I would love it to become more mainstream. Ideally, we should be seeing more female and trans people at the skatepark. Currently, skateparks are a very male-dominated space, and I love that Skate Like A Girl is trying to change that.