Monday, 15 October 2012

Skate Mates and Good Times

One of the best things about learning to skateboard has been the new people it has brought into my life. Since I started skating over 7 months ago I have met people from all over the world, from different backgrounds and of all ages; from young kids to people in their forties. We've all connected via our love of skateboarding and I've made some good friends in the process. I really think this is something unique about skateboarding. Other sports are generally organised according to age or ability and in particular with team sports, locality. This often means you don't get to meet people outside your particular group. When you go to a skatepark you never know who you are going to meet. Yes, the core group of skaters are usually teenage boys, but there is more of a mix then you might expect.

In the first few weeks I skated I went to skateparks with my then work colleagues Wayne (a semi-pro skater) and Carlos (who had started skating again after a 7 year break). I ended up going to watch a skate contest in Sofd with Wayne in April. The skatepark was teeming with kids and teenagers, all boys, and I began to feel really out of place. I had brought my camera with me, so I could use 'taking photos' as my excuse for being there. I had brought my skateboard too, but that was staying in the car as far as I was concerned. I planned on staying for only an hour or so and then heading off, that was until I noticed there was woman dropping in on the mini-ramp. I was really surprised, this was the first woman I'd actually seen skating! We got chatting and it turned out Marie started skating 6 years ago when she was a teenager. She managed to convince me to get my skateboard out and go for a roll and, my whole day turned around. Since then myself and Marie have continued to meet up regularly to skate together. Like most things in life, having somebody to go skateboarding with makes all the difference, and I'm convinced that if I hadn't bumped into Marie that day, I might have given up skateboarding after a few weeks.
I met my 'skate mate' Marie at a contest in Sofd
When I went for my skate lesson with Lucy Adams in May, she recommended going to the Girl Skate Jam in St Albans and after I got back from London I told Marie all about it and we planned a trip over. It turned out to be a great weekend of all girl skate madness, and seeing and meeting so many other girl skaters, was inspiring. When I was in London in August I met up with Jenna Selby, (organiser of the Girl Skate Jam) again and we went for a few skates together. I also continue to skate with my ex-colleague Carlos, and along with Marie we try and head off on regular skate trips. More recently when replying to something, that had nothing to do with skateboarding, on a social networking site I noticed that the woman's profile had skateboarding down as an interest. This prompted me to get in touch with her and we've since met up and gone on several great skate trips. I've now set up a facebook group called Girls Skate Dublin to try and get more girls involved in skateboarding and to maybe organise Ireland's first Girl Skate Jam? Who would have thought that a little wooden board with four wheels on it would have such a positive influence on my life...

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