An LS6 skateboarding group, is encouraging women and girls to get involved with the urban sport in a bid to break down gender stereotypes.
Written by Sal Wilcox
As well as providing a sense of community in the male dominated sport, ‘Leeds Skate Gals & Pals’ organise regular meet ups and trips to skate parks in other cities.
Leeds woman crowned UK mountain-boarding champion
One of their members, Annabel Nash, was recently crowned the UK women’s freestyle mountain-boarding champion.
“There are some amazing supportive women who roll on various wheels in Leeds and we all support each other.
“I first started mountain-boarding and skateboarding a little over a year ago. I have been around the mountain-boarding and skate scene for about ten years, taking pictures at events and watching my husband compete.
“Last year at the UK championships I decided to give the freestyle a try and I absolutely loved it” said Annabel.
Annabel even incorporated her and her husband’s love for board sports into their wedding day and competed in the world mountain-boarding championship during their honeymoon.
“My wedding day was brilliant; we had a super relaxed day. We rode both our mountain-boards and skateboards. We opted out of a first dance and chose a ‘first skate’ instead.
“In July I decided to have my honeymoon in Slovenia at the World Mountain-board Championships and I placed in a respectable 8th position” Annabel told Leeds Hacks.
Annabel’s passion for sports is not just limited to board sports, as this year she became the first woman to compete in Rhythm X, a new style of racing on BMX pump tracks.
“The next and final big competition of the year is the Rhythm X finals at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. This is a difficult and advanced track and I’ll be riding with some of the finest athletes in the world” said Annabel.
“People’s views and opinions are slowly starting to change towards women in extreme sports, although there are still many people who think that we shouldn’t do it because they assume we are too frail. But when we fall down we get back up and we carry on until we have nailed that trick” said Annabel.
Local Leeds people agree that the rise in the sport is a good and that it deserves as much recognition as any other sport.
Teacher Ben Wilkinson, 29 said: “It’d definitely as much a sport as cycling is.
“There can be a competitive element to it and a certain level of athleticism with professional skateboarders. I don’t know if I’d consider it myself, but I have respect for people that do”.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Skateboarding has been announced an official sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.
Professional female skateboarders such as Lacey Baker and Leticia Bufoni have praised the inclusion of the sport, believing it will help change prejudice towards female skaters and bridge the pay gap between professional male and female skateboarders.