Durango student launches girl’s skateboard group – the Durango Herald
The girl group provides a safe space to struggle
For Alyssa Nicoly, a senior at Animas High School, Durango’s skate park is friendlier at night.
Then she can skateboard freely – without hearing more experienced skaters judge her form in tricks or say that she is only there because of her brother.
“For me personally, just seeing men intimidates me right away because I don’t have the experience of a skater,” said Nicoly, who started skating in May 2020. She always says to herself. debutante. “I want to be able to go there to learn things.”
For her senior project, she decided to revive an old idea: skate parties where girls and non-gender binary people can meet and be inspired by a predominantly male sport.
In 2017, another student at Animas High School started a series of Ladies Skate Nights, but the weekly events ended when the founder went to college. Nicoly started her own series of Wednesday night rallies, called Women on Wheels, on April 28. She is hosting a launch event from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday working with local groups to encourage girls to join.
“Finding a community of girls who skate is really difficult because I think a lot of girls are very intimidated,” said Nicoly.
Women have been skateboarding since the sport was invented in the 1940s, but in fewer numbers than their male counterparts.
Over the decades, they have slowly but steadily entered the industry. In 1964, Patti McGee became the first professional skateboarder. In the 1980’s, Thrasher, a skateboard magazine, featured the first woman on its cover. In 2008, professional female skaters got equal pay, according to a MasterClass story of Women in Sport.
Skateboarding, including women’s skateboarding, was first planned as part of the 2020 Olympics. And now, young skateboarders can admire Leo Baker, born Lacey Baker, the first openly gender queer non-binary skater, and Samarria Bevar, the first African-American professional skateboarder to sign with a major skate brand.
In rural Durango, Nicoly said skate park women are rare. There could be a maximum of three girls out of five to 15 boys, Nicoly said.
The skate park, near Schneider Park and the Animas River, is the only place in town to learn. There’s no bowl anywhere else waiting for her to try new tricks, she says.
“If there were a lot of girls, I think it would be a lot more comfortable. You can go up and ask, “Can you teach me how to do this?” Said Nicoly. “If there’s a time dedicated to learning and skating with other girls, I feel like it could be easier to learn or teach.”
The first Women on Wheels event on Wednesday drew around eight people, said Lindsay Levine, an Animas High School student who was in attendance. All weekly events will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“It was great.… There were a bunch of kids there at the start and it was fun seeing all the little crushers,” Levine said. “The park has faded a bit, and all the girls who were there were able to do whatever they wanted. “
Roller skates are Levine’s wheels of choice. She started two months ago and tried to get “excited” to fall 6 feet.
“I wish skateparks were less intimidating for women and non-binary people,” Levine said. “It can make you feel like you don’t belong and don’t have the right to be there. I would like to see ladies dominate the place and feel welcome. That’s my goal.”
Nicoly was feeling nervous but excited heading into the first meeting and the next kick-off, she said. The Hive, a local youth activity organization, has helped with advertising and joining local groups.
She already has a “line of succession” scheduled for next year, after entering college. Eventually, she hopes to see 10 to 20 skaters meet regularly, skate together a bit and mentor young skaters.
For the skate park boys, Nicoly wants Women on Wheels to show them that women have a right to be there, she said.
“I really hope this inspires some young girls in the community to start skating,” said Nicoly. “It’s super scary. It’s considered a men’s sport, so in my opinion it’s really daring to be a woman in the skating community.