Courtney Atencio rides low to the bottom, swerving out and in of lengthy, empty California streets. In a single video, she grabs the again of a Toyota Camry and cruises alongside behind it. In one other, she’s along with her friends, training tips at a neighborhood skate park. Each time, Atencio’s clips are undeniably cool, and so they rapidly change into flooded with feedback from followers asking for recommendations on the right way to begin skating. Atencio didn’t begin skating or her TikTok account to realize fame, however she rapidly discovered communities in each that she by no means skilled when she was rising up.
“Once I was 14, guys would make enjoyable of me for making an attempt to go to the skate park as a result of I’m the one feminine there,” Atencio informed The Sports activities Grind Leisure. “Having TikTok, to have the ability to present women that you simply’re not alone, you may nonetheless skate, you don’t even take heed to all these guys, is so essential.”
Skate tradition has discovered a brand new life on TikTok, the place brief movies of spectacular tips, painful wipeouts, and hangs on the native skatepark have collectively introduced in billions of views. The explosion in skateboarding movies has inspired one-time skaters to choose up the pastime once more and satisfied full newbies to strive it for the primary time — and in contrast to the male-dominated world that was the face of skate tradition for many years, a lot of TikTok’s stars are girls and queer of us.
Hashtags like #girlswhoskate and #skatergirl are continually rising, making a endless sea of movies starring women and girls. Swipe round, and also you’ll discover skaters like Brianna King, an extremely in style creator identified for providing suggestions that newcomers can use when beginning out, or skateboobs, an all-girl skateboard group in Scotland, which recurrently submit movies of their time skating. However many creators are extra like Atencio, who merely posts movies of solo rides by means of her dwelling in suburban Los Angeles or her time spent hanging out at skateparks with pals.
“I see much more girls skateboarding on TikTok than I ever did rising up,” Faeth Perryman, who additionally posts skate movies to TikTok, informed The Sports activities Grind Leisure. “I don’t actually know if that’s as a result of there a variety of women on TikTok usually, or if TikTok simply made skateboarding movies extra accessible.”
Because of TikTok’s suggestion algorithm, greater than 250,000 folks watched a video of Perryman skateboarding down an empty highway in Acadia, Maine, the Atlantic Ocean spanning for miles behind her because the solar rises. The app continually serves up new movies to individuals who have interaction with related sorts of content material. Mainly, if you happen to like, remark, or share a few skateboarding movies, TikTok will fill your feed with increasingly more.
After waning within the late ‘00s and past, skate tradition had a resurgence over the previous few years. The success of streetwear manufacturers like Supreme that lean closely on skateboarding aesthetics helped drive new curiosity in boarding, the pandemic gave folks extra time to lastly strive their fingers at it, and a remaster of the primary two Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater video games supplied up much more nostalgia. Skateboarding was even about to have its Olympic debut this 12 months till the video games obtained canceled.
It’s not like girls and trans skaters weren’t round within the final half-century, however it was males who dominated the covers of Thrasher Journal, males who starred within the coveted VHS compilations that will get handed round skate outlets, and males who made up almost all the featured skaters within the massively in style Tony Hawk video games. TikTok has helped skaters with much less visibility discover extra inclusive communities.
Perryman grew up round skateboarding — her brothers and pop all skated — however she nonetheless felt intimidated by the male-dominated tradition. On TikTok, she discovered herself with a brand new platform and a bunch of younger women who wished to emulate her model. Atencio, who has 76,000 followers, says she’s continually shocked by the variety of younger women who attain out to her asking about what dimension board they need to get.
C, a trans nonbinary artist, stated they had been impressed by the trans skaters who popped up on the app’s principal feed, and thought, “I’d be capable of do this myself.” Whereas C grew up skateboarding, they fell out of it as an grownup. It wasn’t till the pandemic hit, and C discovered extra time to choose up previous hobbies, that they jumped again into it.
“Skating is such a punk, anti-society factor, and in my view, so is being trans and present particularly outdoors of the binary,” C informed The Sports activities Grind Leisure. “Seeing these two issues occur on TikTok was so stunning.”
Issues that existed in skate tradition for years are current on TikTok, too. Males present up in feedback calling women posers and commenting negatively on the way in which girls skate. Perryman tries not to concentrate to the feedback, however Atencio argues the constructive feedback she receives outweigh the unfavorable ones.
“For each unfavorable remark there’s going to be like 20x extra complimentary feedback the place persons are pushing me and saying good job,” Atencio stated.
However creators like Atencio and Perryman need to encourage folks to get off TikTok and truly strive skateboarding. Skateboarding to Perryman and Atencio is about getting on a board and assembly others simply as a lot as it’s watching folks. It’s Atencio’s closest pals — those she discovered at skateparks, she says — who pushed her “to do what I do on TikTok.”