It was great to meet Molly and Adam at Lancaster Skate Park on Friday.
Molly had got in touch with me to highlight some changes the skating community would like to make to their park.
Skateboarding across the UK is seeing a massive resurgence with new (like Molly) and re-engaged skaters (like Adam) jumping on boards and hitting the ramps.
The growth in skateboarding in the last six months is another outcome from the Covid lockdown and I’m really excited that one of the biggest changes is more girls taking up the sport.
With Skateboarding becoming an Olympic Sport for the first time in Tokyo next year it’s likely there’ll be an even bigger explosion of interest.
Molly tells me that all female skate crews are on the rise in the UK but this is lacking locally. “As a female skateboarder it can be daunting to start off in a male-dominated sport and the nearest all girls skate night is all the way in Manchester.” It would be great if we could introduce this in Lancaster?
She also raised the issue of shorter days and there being less light which “means it will be practically impossible to use the skatepark during winter. Once it goes dark or starts raining, skaters do try and find alternative and empty places to skate but more often than not they will be told to leave, which means there is nowhere for us to practice, learn and have fun. There are only so many ollies one can attempt in their carpeted living room!” I’ve no idea what this means, but it would be fantastic if we could get lighting installed at the park to turn it into a year-round activity.
The park was built 17 years ago and could do with an update. “We have two quarter pipes, a flat bank, a box, block and a rail. For beginners the height and disproportionate sizing of the pipes makes skating extremely difficult and practically impossible – I mean, who wants their first drop in experience (scary enough on a mini ramp), looking down a quarter pipe? A good skatepark will normally include more flowing obstacles such as a flowing bowl, mini ramps or wave ramps, which are great for beginners.” Again, I’m not sure I follow all the lingo but it sounds like the park could do with a 2020 make-over and one that is carried out with the collaboration of the skate park users.
Importantly Molly told me that skating isn’t just a sport. “I have formed new friendships since starting both in person and online, and it has also given me ideas for starting my own business. There is a real sense of community in skating. It would be amazing if we could make skating more accessible in Lancaster for beginners, especially for women and girls who feel intimidated to enter a male-dominated sport. I know that if we had a skatepark with easier obstacles and ramps, I’d be less nervous to go to the skatepark – because there isn’t a great deal I can do there as it is now.”
I’ll be writing to the city council to start a dialogue on how we can introduce these exciting changes – and who knows? One day a Lancastrian may be competing in the skateboarding Olympics!