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Guest interview #4

My name is Alethea and I’m 26 and I’m currently doing a PhD (looking into marine plastics).

I started skating off and on about 4/5 years ago but I started skating seriously probably about a year ago. I was always into the skate/surf aesthetic but only started skating as an adult (and after meeting my boyfriend who skates). 

As a woman who started quite late on, I still sometimes find it difficult to call myself a skater, and feel like a bit of a phoney, despite how proud I am of my skate achievements. It does feel cool to be a skater, even if sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve to call myself one! 

My family are pretty open about my skating, what with me being an adult. Most friends just think it’s pretty cool that I skate now. 

The worst injury I’ve had so far is falling on my face and bursting my eyebrow open. Luckily I only needed steri strips not stitches, and it definitely hasn’t put me off skating. I haven’t skated the quarter pipe that gave me the injury yet, but hopefully I’ll get it back soon...

I think skating has changed me as a person to an extent - when I first started skating I would cry at the slightest fall, knock or shock, but when I burst my eyebrow open I didn’t cry once (and don’t really cry despite how bad the injury is). This mentality has translated to the rest of my life, I feel like I’m a lot more resilient. I was always very scared of public speaking, but I always tell myself that if I can drop in to a bowl/quarter pipe/half pipe that I’m scared of then I can just talk in front of people. It’s definitely helped with my confidence. 

I think skateboarding as an Olympic sport is a difficult one, like with snowboarding. Even if people are able to do the same tricks, the execution and style of that trick can be so subjective. It’s good that skateboarding is being recognised but the thought of it being a “scoreable” sport doesn’t really appeal to me. 

The girl skate scene at the moment is definitely gaining momentum and it’s exciting! I think having girls nights and girl skate communities on Instagram is super important, as girls and women (myself included) can feel intimidated to enter a skatepark by themselves or even start skating in general. Having people of a similar level, and other girls to skate with has definitely helped me and other women I’ve skated with. But I think this is the first step into “integrating” girls and women into the wider regional skate scene.

Skating shouldn’t be about separating people skating, but the girl skate scene is a gateway for many to get into skating. 

10 years is a long time! As long as I’m still enjoying skating in 10 years time I’ll be happy. It would be great to aspire to be somewhere big in the skate scene by then but I think realistically it’s not going to happen...

Starting out skating, the most important thing I tell anyone who is starting is to just get comfortable! You’re not going to be able to do tricks or skate transition or do anything you want to if you can’t comfortably push or stand or roll around on your board. Skate schools are definitely a great way of starting out skating, regardless of your age, because you can meet people of a similar age, level and mindset. There’s a certain level of accountability and hype that a group of people learning brings that helps people stick at it. 

Find a good couple of pals or crew to skate with, who all hype each other up and inspire you to keep pushing yourself. And don’t forget that skating is about having fun! If you’re not having fun than what’s the point? 

Hope this is alright!

Alethea x

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