I love first rides — why young girls flock to this underground venue

I love first rides — why young girls flock to this underground venue

Beneath the hustle and bustle of North Perth’s peak commuters, a fearless young girl is crammed into a unique location.

Some have missing teeth, are strong-willed, and still wear school uniforms. Girls wear helmets and protective pads and pick up skateboards.

For many, it’s their favorite day of the week to head to this underground skatepark.

Each vie for the instructor’s attention.

“Ando! Look at what I’ve learned.”

“Bonnie, help me stop by.”

The girls are waiting their turn and getting ready to drop by. They all carry skateboards and wear knee and elbow pads.
It is a very popular venue for young women.(ABC News: Ashley Davis )

Above the skate park is a skate shop that offers classes and all the gear you need.

Skating is popular with women, and classes for women only are held in the store.

Skate “Artform” and “Outlet”

A teenage girl with blond hair looks cool at the camera. She wears a pink shirt and has a skateboard.
Bonnie says she can express herself through skating.(ABC News: Ashley Davis )

17-year-old Bonnie Bo has been skating since she was 11 and has been teaching since she was 13.

“Skating is an art form in a way. It’s creative and self-expressive,” she said.

“It’s a really good outlet for me when it comes to dealing with things. It’s not easy growing up. I’ve found that to be the most helpful thing for me. Come and skate.”

A girl's legs and a held skateboard are in the foreground, and an instructor is speaking to a student in the background.
Girls are encouraged to go down and try it. (ABC News: Ashley Davis)

There are a lot of girls out there skating now, but Bonnie wants to see more women go on adventures.

“It’s a sport that not only gives you exercise, but also learns something new, achieves something every time you go, and gives you a sense of belonging.

“It’s a really fun hobby. If you’re a girl and you’re nervous to start, try it. I think you’ll love it.”

One of the smallest and most dangerous students in the class was 7-year-old Allegra.

A girl dressed in black is sitting on a skateboard. she is smiling Her helmet is A.
Allegra has been skating since she was three years old. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

“I love skating all the way from 1 to infinity,” she said.

“You always get a lot of fun out of doing it. It’s a nice surprise and it’s just fun.

love the first ride

Nine-year-old Daphne was nervous at first, but once she got on the board, she loved it at first.

A bright young girl in a pink shirt is leaning against a pole with a skateboard.
Daphne doesn’t understand why girls can’t start playing sports. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

“I love the way you go up and down ramps and all the cool things you can do,” she said.

“I love stopping by. Fresh air. You’re going really fast.”

“I think it’s really cool. It’s not just a man’s sport. It’s also a sport for girls. Why can’t girls do the same?”

“It would be great if I could go to the Olympics one day.”

Air enters as the Allegra runs up the sides of the bowl. She holds Ando's hand for support.
Allegra breathes air. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

Sports Boom Against the Background of the Olympics and Pandemic

Bonnie is right, her students are part of a larger trend, and their numbers seem to be on the rise.

Skateboarding has skyrocketed in popularity due to the pandemic. This is believed to be due to the social distancing inherent in skateboarding and its initial adoption at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Australian Sports Commission estimates that attendance has increased by up to 119,000 since 2019/21, 86% of whom were women.

One of the store’s much-loved teachers, Andrew “And” Powell, is something of a local legend.

A man is looking down into the barrel of the camera. Colorful glorious skateboards line the back wall.
Andrew “Ando” Powell says sports can teach kids resilience. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

He wasn’t even wearing armor when he was interviewed by ABC on his 53rd birthday.

“One of the things I would say to parents who bring their kids here for our classes is, in the 21st century, they wrap their kids in cotton wool, so once you get out into the real world, there’s a I mean some kids don’t wear cotton wool.It works too well,” he said.

“Of course, skateboarding is dangerous if it’s not controlled.

Mr. Ando holds the hand of a girl who is about to stop by.
According to Ando, ​​about 60% of the students are women.(ABC News: Kenith Png)

“One of the reasons our classes work so well is that parents can learn dangerous things like skateboarding, but in a controlled environment, step by step, injury and really get out. I realized that I didn’t have to come.”

According to Ando, ​​about 60% of the students are women.

“It’s interesting, skateboarding girls, the future is very exciting,” he said.

Three girls in helmets smile warmly at the camera.
The girl has a promising future in sports. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

“In the future, it may be the first sport in which there is no distinction between men and women.

“There’s nothing a man can do in skateboarding that a woman can’t.”

get back on track

Ando is a living proof of skateboard accessibility.

After losing his mining job and getting married at 48, he walked into a store and picked up a skateboard. He says he owes much to skating.

Ando defies gravity and climbs walls on skates.
Ando says the sport allows people to switch off from what’s bothering them. (ABC News: Kenith Png)

“Even that short period of time that I was skating every day, whether it was 90 minutes, 60 minutes, 30 minutes, it would turn my thoughts off,” he said. said.

“It was addictive in that respect.”

Before I knew it, the store manager asked me if I wanted a job.

“Especially at my age, I wouldn’t have believed it if I was told that I would reinvent myself through skateboarding.

“It’s been a crazy ride and I feel very lucky.”

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