‘On top of the world’: Ex skateboard pro rallies female boarders in Calgary
CALGARY – Erica Jacobs isn’t new around the skate park. She’s an ex-pro who competed nationally in her 20s.
But in her 30s she noticed a distinct lack of lady boarders around the Calgary skateboarding scene.
“You get a different feeling when you’re hanging out with women, especially in a male-dominated sport,” Jacobs said.
That’s why Jacobs launched the 100% Skate Club last April, uniting girls rolling around the city on four tiny wheels.
“I thought, ‘I wonder if there are other girls out there skateboarding’ and that was my reason for starting the club,” Jacobs said.
She found out she wasn’t alone. The club quickly grew to a whopping 45 female members.
The youngest is Brynn Jackson, who proudly carries a brightly-coloured board, sized for a seven-year-old.
“It’s a little monster and it’s a little creepy,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of cool. Lots of people comment about it.”
The oldest member, meanwhile, is 53-year-old Marlene Hielema.
“People know me – the old lady in the orange helmet,” Hielema laughed. “I pulled out my 35-year-old skate board and I could still ride it. So I was pretty happy about that.”
Hielema grew up skateboarding around her neighbourhood, but hadn’t ever ridden at a skate park before. “It was a big, big challenge.”
But thanks to the Wednesday group practices and other impromptu meet-ups with the girls, Hielema and others are now kick-turning their way around even the most challenging parks.
“I was actually quite nervous to go to Millennium alone, but now I actually know some guys there as well,” Hielema said. “Now there’s a comfort level. You can go with some girls.”
“It kind of has taken me out of my shell and I just love the social aspect now as well.”
For women considering entry into the sport, seven-year-old Jackson recommends “being brave.”
“You have to trust yourself going down the dips and making your board go up and then go down.”
“Everybody is at a different level and everybody is here cheering each other on, helping each other out, motivating each other,” Jacobs said. She held hands with Jackson and other girls, swinging them back and forth on their boards in an upper bowl at Huntington Hills Skatepark.
“When you leave and you’ve learned something new… it’s a wonderful feeling. Skating gives me that feeling every time I get out,” Jacobs added.
“It feels like, I’m on top of the world, for a moment.”
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