Interview by Anna Langer
I love snowboarding, and I want everyone to like snowboarding as much as I do. I want all girls to go away on holiday with guy friends and be able to hit everything that their friends can, or at least get close to it. I love riding with girls and when I'm coaching I get to do it all day! There is less competitiveness with girls so I find there is less pressure to get new tricks and more focus on just having fun and riding.
It's tough starting out in a park with all of the guys absolutely killing it, or not killing it but still throwing themselves over features and barely surviving. I want girls to have the confidence to go to any park and be able to hit at least one feature with confidence, even if they have to warm up to hit all of the others. I find that a lot of girls ride with really straight legs and this can be a real problem when starting out in freestyle as it makes you unstable on your board, so the thing I find myself saying most when coaching is - get low and absorb!
I'm still pretty new to snowboarding. I started riding three years ago now, which is sometimes tough when I am coaching people who have been ridig for 10+ years!! One of my friends wanted to go away snowboarding and I wanted to go along so I decided to learn. I hit my first box on that holiday and was a park rat from that moment on. I love riding the park and ride the UK freestyle nights every week, getting away as much as I can.
I find that a lot of girls ride with really straight legs and this can be a real problem when starting out in freestyle as it makes you unstable on your board
When I first got coaching from Jay at Maverix I knew that the level of coaching I was getting was amazing, what I didn't realise then was that I would end up planning to marry him! When we started going out I was attending a load of courses with him and found out accidentally that I had a really good eye for movement analysis and could tell instantly if someone was slightly in the backseat or their head was in the wrong place. Most of the girls things that I had attended in the past have been more focused on the social side than the riding, and I wanted to create something where girls rode as hard as the guys, so I got my coaching qualifications to start up the girls camps! I think it links closely with my day job where I teach Maths in a secondary school, so I spend all of my time trying to break things down to enable people to understand which helps a lot when coaching.
There is a lot of machoism in snowboarding still. Even when I was on my course to get qualified as a coach, the person in charge made me just do ollies for the whole day as I couldn't get as high as the guys (even though he didn't make them ollie once so I'm not sure how he knew how high they could ollie!). All of the guys were lapping the kicker and I was going down the flat slope because I was a girl!
I've had some times on courses when I've been coaching guys and they have refused to have me coach them or shrugged something off when I've said it, but really enthusiastically tried it on their next run when a male coach had told them the exact same thing! There was even one day when someone said "You're a girl, what do you know?" but I'd rather forget that, and it's only happened once!
There was even one day when someone said "You're a girl, what do you know?" but I'd rather forget that, and it's only happened once!
I think the level of female snowboarding at the moment is fantastic. There are some great girls emerging, especially the likes of Aimee Fuller, Katie Ormerod and Becky Menday from the UK. It's great that the girls are now hitting the same kickers as the guys and really showing what they can do. I think the level is really high and progressing so much it's just crazy to see. I'd love to see girls freestyle snowboarding promoted more in the UK though, it's still really small.
It's amazing to spend the summer in Les Deux Alpes and being on the Summer Camps there I've had some of the best days of my life. My perfect camp could be getting up early, riding Superpipe at 7:30 in the morning before it gets slushy, lapping the Park until 1 o'clock and then trampolining all afternoon in the sun! A camp with girls who really wanted to ride and get better so we could just ride all day.
I'd like to say a massive thanks to Anna and Rich from Sputnik Snowboard Shop and Nikita Snowboards for all of the help they have given me and the camps. Also to Jay from Maverix for working so hard with me on my coaching and then letting me loose to do this girls stuff as I wanted it to be done!!