One thing that has always been discussed historically is how the contest circuit has provided a way for female skateboarders to get paid and concentrate on progressing, without having to rely on the traditional sponsorship model of earning a ‘living’ as a skateboarder. Would you say that is still the case?
I’d prefer to rely on that traditional sponsorship model and earn a living as a skateboarder who complements her skating with occasional contests. It’s more reliable, consistent and you can plan ahead better that way especially if you’re supporting a family. There’s a lot of uncertainty if you depend on contest winnings.
I do like to skate contests though, I always have and not everyone does. There used to be only one contest or pay check opportunity a year. Now with Street League, X Games and Dew Tour there are two to three happening, so that’s definitely a step in the right direction. With progression I feel like it happens when you’re skating every day and these occasional contests are just a great place to showcase how far women’s skateboarding has come.
The stakes are super high to have a clean run so I’m not sure if contests are where we are seeing the hardest tricks being done per se. There are still twice as many contests for men and more traditional sponsorship opportunities for the top male skaters but I’m confident there will continue to be more and more opportunities each year for female skaters. SLS for example is adding women and offering equal prize money to all their stops next year.
What are your thoughts on the people who argue that men and women should skate together in contests, rather than being separated?
Sometimes we do – X Games Real Street had 4 men and one women this year and Samarria Brevard held it down for sure, she’s such a powerful street skater regardless of gender. It’s an age long question really and it’s not unique to skateboarding. Contests are not real life, skateboarding is not by nature a competition sport.
To me it’s a act of self expression like art or music. You are competitive like with the particular trick or a spot. As a small woman, you don’t have the power to push as hard as larger men, the body mass to keep that speed for bigger tricks, or the ability to take the impact of wiping out or bailing down a serious stair set. Men can do fucking gnarly shit and that combined with technical skating is obviously mind blowing.
You are both Street League veterans (and contest veterans more generally) but both grew up street skating – how does the mind-set needed for an event like SLS differ from say, filming street skating? How do you prepare?
There is always the limit of what your body can take in the streets and in contests. But in contests there are thousands of people watching, pressure, the stakes are high to take home that pay check, and you are being timed either timed runs or X number of attempts. You don’t get to try it a dozen times.
SLS in London was a big deal for the nation’s skate scene and even more so for the female skateboarding community – what do you hope that people take from the event?
I love the women’s skate community out here. I’ve been skating with Josie, Sarah and a bunch of the other girls for a long time and it’s awesome how much leadership has risen out of here much attributed to Lucy Adams.
Maybe young girls will watch and realise they can be anything they want to be and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. And that skateboarding is for everyone, especially women.