Surrounded by Stoke: A Profile of Vancouver Female Longboarders.
Written by Carly “Midget” Richardson
Sunday, 22 June 2008
The explosive growth of longboarding is undeniable. From freeriding, to sliding, to racing, cruising and carving, all types of skateboarding are getting more exposure than ever. Pockets of riders and small communities are forming and popping up all over the globe.
Although most types of skateboarding are very much male-dominated, there are not surprisingly more and more females getting involved in downhill skateboarding, especially here in BC. Whether it’s because of the endless terrain or the huge population and tight community surrounding the sport (much thanks to Coast Longboarding), the number of women riding here is constantly growing. The first girl to ever race at Danger Bay was Louise Leslie, a.k.a. LouDogg. She was a huge inspiration, and within two years of that there were 11 girls lined up to race.
Not only do the girls here ride all year round for the love of the sport, they are making a name for themselves at all of the local events and races. A core group of these girls in particular are paving the way and opening doors for girls/women of all ages and abilities to become more involved in the sport. Here’s a more in-depth look at these girls here in BC.The explosive growth of longboarding is undeniable. From freeriding, to sliding, to racing, cruising and carving, all types of skateboarding are getting more exposure than ever.
BRIANNE DAVIES, born and raised in Vancouver, has most likely intimidated a number of guys and girls on the start line. After picking up a Sector 9 in high school, there was no turning back. She had nothing short of awesome results at almost every race on the West Coast in 2007, and plans to do the same this year here in BC and in Europe.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle in longboarding? Keeping up with the boys! And the “no skateboarding” attitude of the city.
What made you want to get into racing? Danger Bay and you, Midget!
Do you feel like you’re treated differently at events and on the course? Yeah, boys are usually glad to have a girl to race with, because it means an easy win for them. Then I pass their ass and they aren’t so happy about it.
Who are your sponsors? Who supports you? Who has helped you out in the past? Rayne, Colabo, and Abec 11.
Anyone who attended Danger Bay 6 and read reviews or saw pictures was probably rooting for another Vancouver local, HAVEN ANDERSON. She had all eyes on her at the slide competition. Not only was Haven busting out some sweet moves, but she did it in style. At the end of the day, she was tied for 5th against a field of guys, and it was well deserved. Haven’s become notorious around here for her natural ability and all-around talent.
What are your setups? Favorite board/ trucks/wheels? Anything different than a regular setup (lighter, shorter, softer bushings, etc.)?I like the Sector 9 top mount race board — the wheelbase is short and it’s really stiff — with Smokeys and BigZigs.
How long have you been riding? Almost 2 years.
What made you get into racing? There was a girls’ race at Danger Bay 5. I love hay bales!
What is your favorite race and why? Paskapoo — it’s so steep, and there are so many corners and opportunities to pass. And best of all, there’s a chairlift that takes you to the top of the road.
What do you want to see happen for girls in the racing circuit? Separate classes? I think the girls should get to have their own race at the end of the day as a kind of novelty race. There are usually only enough girls for one or two heats so it’s quick and it’s a great crowd pleaser. But it’s more important for me to race with everyone. Most memorable experience? My most intense experience was when I hit a baby deer on Seymour. I got the biggest wobbles but somehow I didn’t crash.
Katie Neilson. Photo: Paul McDermott
KATIE NEILSON is a recent street/bowl rider convert. With a past filled with go-kart racing and a lot of skateboarding, she shows no signs of slowing down on her longboard. The first time I rode with her, I looked behind me expecting nothing, but there she was! The first time I raced with her I thought I’d have an easy heat. Instead, she passed me around Carnage Corner and beat me all the way to the finish line. This year, I’m scared.
What was your first longboard? I rode an Evo for Danger Bay and all...I guess that was my first setup even though it wasn’t mine. Ha ha, thanks Benny.
What made you want to get into racing? Racing is sweet; it’s embedded in my blood. I raced go-karts for years and stopped in my mid teens. The second I found out that people actually race skateboards I jumped on it with full force and sank my teeth into my latest addiction.
What separates longboarding from other sports you have been or are involved with? The community is the obvious answer. I don’t think there is another sport where everyone gets together like we do. Even if you don’t hang out they are still your boys; it’s great. Skateboarding is fun, and that’s why I do it. But the community is what keeps me sticking around and hungry for more.
Who are your sponsors? Who supports you? Who has helped you out in the past? Sector 9 has been helping me out with boards, which is awesome because they have an amazing shape. The top mount that I am racing on fits my body perfect. They’ve thrown me a couple of short boards to shred in the bowls and sliding as well, and I’m pretty sure that they have the nicest out of all the shapes I’ve ever ridden. Crazy strong wood too. That’s important...obviously.
Then there’s the girl you can hear laughing a kilometer away. CHIARA POSCENTE has an infectious stoke and addiction for flying down hills and slashing corners. She seems to jump all over the chance to challenge herself whenever and wherever possible. Chiara will most likely be longboarding until she can’t walk. Along with Brianne, she’ll be heading to Europe this summer to shred the gnarly roads and hit up a few races.
What are your setups? Favorite board/trucks/ wheels? Anything different than a regular setup (“Shevo’s,” lighter, shorter, softer bushings, etc.)? Rayne Carbon Hellcat Dee-Lite with Kahalanis and Zigs (Bigs or Zags). I like a feather-lightride, and I swear by JimZ bushings — gotta have ‘em. Always. They’re custom pimped to pop right into the trucks — very rad.
How did you get into it? My brother Luca, a.k.a. Astroboy. Look out, that kid is F-A-S-T!
What is your favorite race and why? That’s tough. I enjoy all the races, but I have this weird obsession with the Sully. I can’t help it. I don’t even really like the road all that much (it scares me); there’s just something about that incredible (long-ass) drive and the magnificent campsite and all the wonderful people. It’s got such a good vibe. Jody just puts on the best race. It’s affordable, fun, challenging, exciting; I really look forward to it. Yeah, Kimberley! Not to mention that Tony is my hero.
What separates longboarding from other sports you have been or are involved with? Skateboarding is more fun than anything else — bottom line. Who are your sponsors? Who supports you? Who has helped you out in the past? Sponsors are Mommy and Daddy. Um, Rayne has always been very nice to me. As far as help goes, I need to shout out to the Calgary crew who started it all; you know I love you boys!
Team Chilliwack; both Mikes (McGoldrick and Benda), Big-Time; Kevin Reimer — that guy is ALWAYS down to skate; and of course, my ladies, who are my inspiration and my stoke! Without these people my skateboarding could not have been possible.
What made you want to get into racing? You! Seriously, we met while I was on that road trip with Luca at Vernon DH and you told me to learn how to longboard and then come and race the next Danger Bay. So I did. Well, and Brianne too. She was like, DO IT! And it’s been awesome!
CARLY “MIDGET” RICHARDSON has graced the pages of Concrete Wave in both editorial and advertising. She holds down a full-time job at Landyachtz, sending out product throughout the world. Carly has competed at many different events in North America and would love to visit Europe one day. We couldn’t complete this article without interviewing her.
Michael Brooke: How did you get into skateboarding? I got into longboarding when I saw a couple of guys in my high school that had boards. I made an effort to “borrow” their boards for a few weeks at a time and would push around my neighborhood or the seawall whenever I had the chance.
What drew you to longboarding? I was drawn to longboarding because it seemed easier than regular street skating; it was more comparable to surfing or snowboarding and a great way to get around.
How do you feel you’ve been treated by fellow riders (both female and male)? I think I’ve been treated just like every other longboarder I’ve met, regardless of gender. Always surrounded by stoke and encouragement — as it should be! The first couple of races I attended there were questions being asked like, “you’re racing?” After a few events, people were used to it.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle in longboarding? The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been my fear of injury. At first I didn’t care and would throw myself down hills. As I got a bit older and had more responsibility, the more there was on the line if I got hurt. I have a dog to walk and bills to pay! Now I’m a lot more hesitant than I used to be to try new things.
What is your best skate memory? The best “skate” memory I have would have to be the first race I went to, Shnitzel’s SullivanChallenge in Kimberley. That race course is so odd, and the whole weekend is a blast. The other memory that sticks out is the first seawall cruise I attended here in Vancouver. All you can see in front and behind you are longboarders. Oh, what a feeling!
What can be done to encourage more females to skateboard? If the skate community is continuously supportive and encouraging of girls trying new things and challenging themselves, then there’s tons of potential for the number of girls that skate to keep growing. Things like the downhill Diva sessions that Isabelle Caudleputs on in SoCal, and the recent All GirlsSkate Jam/tutorial that the girls here in Vancouver put on. All these things among others will contribute to girls getting involved in skateboarding.
Who are your sponsors? Landyachtz, Pink Wheels and Timeship Racing.
What do you want to see happen for girls in the racing circuit? Separate classes? Separate classes have their advantages. It’s great that at some races we get to race against both the guys and girls. Hopefully with more girls becoming involved there’ll be some tough competition for us. But if we have to race the guys, that’s totally OK with me.