Girls Can Skate
Around 2015, I really wanted to learn how to skateboard, but when I would go to skate parks, I felt very intimidated by the guys there. I had no confidence rolling up to a skate park, being the only girl there. So I decided to start a Facebook and Instagram page focusing on girls in South Africa wanting to learn how to skate in a more comfortable environment. I started Girls Can Skate.
Girls Can Skate really encourages that potential girl skater to try something new and to go out and do it. It lets them know they are part of a community who are just as eager, but afraid of doing it alone. The girls get to learn and grow with a group of like-minded women. It's so rewarding, seeing girls connecting, teaching, and motivating each other.
Now, we've also expanded Girls Can Skate to include women on other kinds of wheels. There are some incredible roller skaters and bladers out there, and we want to bring everyone together. Some of the women from Chicks In Bowls have been interested in learning how to skateboard, and that kind of cross-pollination is progress for women's alternative sports.
Of course, there are always some challenges along the way, like trying to arrange skate parks that are open to having female-only sessions, so they can learn without feeling intimidated. And that's by no means indicative of the level of the skaters — it's that far too often the male skaters go out of their way to make us feel unwelcome, or like a spectacle of some kind when we are there to have fun and become badasses in our own right. But I always say, and I know it sounds cliché but, "Just keep getting up, keep trying. You're never gonna get better at it if you don't allow yourself to fail and learn every time you hit the ground." Besides, it's all part of the fun, which is the most important thing.
For the future of Girls Can Skate, I'd love to open a park/training facility that's completely inclusive, where girls and women feel like they have a home, somewhere that they can go to be empowered and inspired to be the best skater possible. There's been such an increase in women wanting to learn, which is amazing. I just want to see that continue to happen so that it becomes a self-sustaining, unstoppable movement. Girls CAN skate; it's time everyone sees what we can do.
Sharne Jacobs is the founder of Girls Can Skate in South Africa. She is a visual merchandiser as well as graphic designer and a huge passion for skateboarding. She loves all action sports and getting women involved with skating in South Africa. Follow @girlscanskate_sa
Words: Sharne Jacobs