I’ve been a fan of skateboarding for years. Decades really. I have a now adult kid that skates, was the mom that piled all the kids in the car to and from the parks, have even attended the Battle of the Berrics. Was phenomenal for the record. But I’ve always wondered why so few girls are deeply immersed in skate culture. It has finesse, grace, sass, athleticism and an open invitation for creative expression.
Fortunately there are more and more groups supporting girls skating that are popping up over the last couple years. Amelia Brodka and her passion project Exposure Skate are one, but there are many more worthy of note: @poseidonfoundation, @sillygirlskateboards, @girlisnotafourletterword and @girlskatenetwork to name a few.
Imagine my joy when I stumbled across a super badass skater that blogs to dispel stereotypes with the name SkatingFashionista. Perfection. Meet Jordan Beal.
Let’s get the basics covered first. How long have you been skating and what brought you to a sport that is, for now, known primarily as a male dominated? Basically, of all things to love, why this?
JB: I started skating during my 5th grade summer vacation. I’m a sophomore at CCA now. My dad made me go to an Encinitas YMCA skate camp. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be surrounded by encouraging people. My camp counselor, Jeff Robbins believed I could skate way before I believed.
I love skateboarding because it’s transportation, art, exercise or anything else you make it. There are so many types of boards and places to skateboard that it never gets old or boring. There are no rules in skateboarding, so it’s all about freedom to have fun.
What advice would you give young girls, or really anyone who wants to get involved in the sport?
JB: My advice is stop thinking and just try skateboarding. You can get hurt doing anything, literally walking if you stumble, so don’t let your fear of falling or anything else stop you. I see more and more Learn to Skate clinics, which are great ways to try skateboarding without the cost of buying a board. I don’t think you need to have someone show you how to skateboard, but I think it’s helpful. I believe in the power of holding hands and a hand to help you up when you fall.
What was the inspiration for creating the SkatingFashionista blog?
JB: The name SkatingFashionista came from my friend and mentor, Neal Mims. It’s what he called me. It just got me thinking that the stories in the press were just a small representation of skaters. I wanted to share the stories of skateboarders just skating for fun and show how skateboarders encourage each other.
I write about all levels and all styles because each skater’s story is unique and inspirational. It’s my hope that the blog shows there’s no typical skater girl and that any girl that wants to can stay true to her style and be a skater girl.
As the blog has evolved, I’ve started writing about the many ways skateboarding gives back and develops you as a person on and off the board. Stereotypes and labeling are dangerous, I hope the blog helps shatter the negative labels that have been placed on skater girls, skateboarding, and fashion. Skateboarding is not a crime!
What has the reaction been from the skateboarding community to girls being more visible in the sport? Has it all been positive or has there been push back from the old school/boys crowd?
JB: I’ve encountered much more positivity than negativity. One of the lessons I’ve learned from skateboarding and blogging is that what others think of you is on them. All you can do is be your best self and encourage others to be their best selves.
Life is a crazy unpredictable journey, we know this. But if you had to guess, or hope, where do you anticipate your world to be, in terms of the skate industry, say 5 years from now.
JB: In 5 years I hope to be in college. I’m not sure where I’ll go, but because of the blog I’ve seen so much of the world that I’m confident I’ll be able to take my board and have fun skating wherever I am.
Our Metiza community believes in supporting each other, being true to ourselves and positivity. How do you create your own positive energy out there?
JB: I’m inspired by hearing and reading positive stories, so that’s why I search them out and share them on the blog. I also believe in giving back that’s why as I can I donate my time to skate clinics and skate fundraisers. What you focus on really grows – so I chose to focus on the positive both on & off the board.
Some groups I’m passionate about are Clash at Clairemont, Skate Rising, Tilly’s Life Center, and the Sheckler Foundation. All of them support the fun of skateboarding and giving back. When you surround yourself with positive energy, positivity grows exponentially for everyone.
I encourage all skater girls to check out the blog & share their stories – just email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also published on Medium.