News Satire People Food Other


By Madeleine Gray on February 2, 2017 in News

Photo: Dean Tirkot

Photo: Dean Tirkot

Skateboarding has long been thought of as a man’s game. From all-boy avatar options on skating video games, to skater characters in movies being 99 per cent dudes, to the fact that ‘dangerous’ sports have historically been linked to aggressive masculinity, the message has been clear: skateboarding isn’t meant for girls.

But not any longer. Evidencing an exciting zeitgeist shift, a new generation of female skateboarders is now killing it on the international stage. And, particularly thrillingly for us, a lot of these awesome chicks just happen to be from around the Eastern Beaches area and will be competing at the General Pants Bowl-A-Rama in Bondi on February 18 and 19.

Current world number one female skater, Bondi native Poppy Starr Olsen, is one of these talented women. At only sixteen years of age, Poppy is already competing – and winning – in comps all over the world.

Ms. Olsen told The Beast that her first time skateboarding occurred when a male pal let her have a turn of riding his board. “And then I kept his skateboard,” she added.

“When I started skating at Bondi I was eight, I was the only girl,” Ms. Olsen said.

“There were a lot of old school guy skaters who were really supportive and gave me advice, but it wasn’t until a few years later that a bunch of other girls started to join in.

“Then local Bondi girls like Gracie Earl and Sari Simpson, who are also competing at Bowl-A-Rama, started coming along too.

“It was really cool, us all trying to help each other learn.”

Bowl-A-Rama has a comparatively high ratio of female competitors compared to other skating comps, and that’s largely due to the fact that this year it has introduced a women’s division.

While the idea of ‘open’ (gender) comps is exciting from a feminist perspective, Ms. Olsen said she enjoys skating against the girls in the female skate category.

“I like having the different divisions, because the girls started skating after men, and I think it’s good because the women support each other,” she said.

“We all challenge one another, but we also just help each other out.”

Fellow female Bondi skating prodigy Gracie Earl echoed this perspective.

“As they’re now introducing women’s divisions in the international competitions, more opportunities are rising for girls in the industry,” she said.

Also competing in the women’s division at this year’s event is American skater Amelia Brodka. Amelia is the founder of EXPOSURE, the largest girls skating comp in the world – with proceeds going towards supporting survivors of domestic violence.

While the open comp at Bowl-A-Rama will be full of household names – think Bucky Lasek, Pedro Barros, and Tom Scharr – we think the girl’s division might just be the most exciting aspect. According to Ms. Olsen, American Jordyn Barratt is one to watch, as is Queenslander Izi Mutu.

Our money is on the Eastern Beaches girls, of course.