The Reno Skate Scene: Girls Edition

A cultural drop in on the skate girls of Reno with reporters Emilie Rodriguez and Karina Dominguez.

Lexi Douglas, 19, has been skateboarding for three years but doesn’t see too many girls at local Reno parks. She hopes to grow the culture by encouraging girls just to try skateboarding and to not worry about all of the social pressures that come with being a female skater. “Just have the passion to try it,” said Douglas. Watch a full minidoc on Douglas and other girl skateboarders from Reno here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfoYQwxm-b8&t=1s

Where are the Girl Skateboarders?

Even with 15 skateparks in Reno, one might rarely see a girl grinding the coping, dropping in, or practicing tricks on flat.

Skateboarding across the nation is a male dominated sport. With notable male skateboarders such as Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, you rarely ever hear about popular female skaters like Patti McGee, the 1965 Woman’s first National Skateboard Champion, or Letícia Bufoni a five-times X Games gold medalist.

In a town such as Reno, where skateboarding is primarily male, female skaters are increasingly growing in number, but you may only see one or two of them at the parks at a time.

Lexi Douglas, a female skater local to Reno tries to hit up a skatepark at least twice a week. While she goes out after work or in between running errands, she’s only seen a couple of girl skaters in the three years she’s been skating.

“There’s about a few in Reno that I know of,” said Douglas.

A screenshot from the minidoc featuring Douglas and other local female skateboarders, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfoYQwxm-b8&t=1s

“If Guys Fall, It’s Fine”

Going to a skatepark and not seeing any support from other girls is the primary reason why girls are intimidated to go in the first place. Even when males are at the parks focusing on their own tricks, it can still be hard for girls to gain confidence when not supported by other females.

20-year-old Isabella Stubbs first showed interest in skating when she was in high school, but began practicing seriously in her freshman year of college at UNR.

“I feel intimidated by guys as a female skater… I just feel like there is more pressure on me as a girl to look good while skating…like, if guys fall it’s fine,” said Stubbs.

Stubbs says that while she experiences added pressure at skateparks, she also does not want to receive special treatment or exaggerated praise when landing a trick. Screengrab from the minidocumentary which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfoYQwxm-b8

A Growing Subculture

Although Stubbs admitted that the female representation is not nearly where it should be, she has noticed more girl skaters on campus and on social media, which she feels encourages the culture.

Now, Stubbs frequently skates at the Idlewild skatepark with boys and girls and learns new tricks from both genders.

“Skating is the one thing in my life that I feel incredibly passionate about,” said Stubbs.

Patti McGee was the 1965 Woman’s National Skateboard Champion, but growth among female skateboarders has lagged behind their male counterparts.

“Hats off to Her”

With the increase in girl skaters, most males do agree that females should be more present in the sport. Garret Volk, a Reno local, and skater of 11 years believes females should be welcome in the parks, and encourages them to skate alongside the males.

“It’s really cool when a girl is totally killing it and shredding…hats off to her,” said Volk.

Volk got into skating because it was a subculture that wasn’t a part of the normal sports culture. Volk says skating is just for fun and he likes to go do his own thing in his free time. Volk primarily goes to Idlewild skatepark and does embrace the bigger population of female skaters.

“There’s an increase, not so much consistently, every time I come to Idlewild I see a lot more [girl skaters],” said Volk.

Gender Pressure

Douglas and Stubbs feel like being a girl skater comes with its own complications and social pressures, especially with the ideology of females not being good at skating or when they fall they can be hurt easily. Volk feels different though.

“Not from my knowledge,” said Volk. “Women are just as capable of skating…it’s just about how much time they want to put into it…I wish I’d see more of them.”

Volk also doesn’t think skating is a “man’s world,” but he agrees that it’s been primarily guys who’ve traditionally participated in skateboarding. It’s also where people skate. Nevada, has a smaller population than the hotbed of skateboarding California, and it’s taken a longer time for females to get integrated into the skateboarding community here.

With the addition of new parks across Reno and the popularization of skate culture in the media, though, more girls will be exposed to the sport, which might ultimately continue to diversify the skate community.

Subculture Reporting by Emilie Rodriguez and Karina Dominguez shared with the Reynolds Sandbox

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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.