Ride On: A Guide to Women’s Skateboarding

Skateboarding has long been considered a male-dominated sport, but over the past decade we’ve seen a huge rise in female participation on boards. Women are rapidly catching air, landing tricks, and carving out their place in skate culture. Whether you’re a beginner stepping on your first deck or a seasoned shredder looking to take your skills to the next level, skateboarding offers an empowering outlet for fun, fitness, and self-expression.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about women’s skateboarding. You’ll find tips on choosing the best skateboards for different riding styles, learn key techniques for beginners, intermediates and advanced skaters, and get answers to frequently asked questions from other female riders. By the end, you’ll be ready to push off confidently on your skate journey!

Finding Your Perfect Board

The board itself is the heart of every skater’s setup. Luckily there are now many high-quality skateboard brands designing boards specifically shaped and sized for women. Choosing the right deck, trucks and wheels for your height, style and skill level will make learning much easier.

Longboards (32 – 60 inches) excel at cruising and commuting with their long decks and large soft wheels. Good beginner models for women include:

  • Sector 9 Lookout: this bamboo 38-inch pintail longboard has a mellow flex pattern ideal for lighter riders. With 7-inch Gullwing trucks and 70mm wheels, it’s smooth and stable for pushing around town.
  • Arbor Axis 37: Arbor’s 37-inch maple flagship cruising board has a micro drop-down platform for pushing comfort. It comes with smooth Paris V2 trucks and large 75mm wheels for traction.

Shortboards (28 – 34 inches) are best for tricks, skateparks and streets with their flip-friendly concave decks and small hard wheels. Great starter shortboards include:

  • Enjoi Whitey Panda: this iconic 7.5-inch wide deck has a medium concave and pop. With Venture trucks and 52mm wheels, it handles tricks while still being rideable.
  • Chocolate Mayu Swindle: Chocolate’s pro model for Mayu features an approachable 8-inch width, mellow concave and fun graphic women love. It comes ready to roll with Thunder trucks and soft Ricta wheels.

Cruisers (26 – 32 inches) split the difference with their kicktail versatility to handle tricks plus a mellow shape for casual riding. Top choices are:

  • Landyachtz Dingy Deacon: this 28.5-inch maple board with Bear 105s trucks and Fatty Hawgs wheels masters sidewalk surfing and skatepark fun.
  • Arbor Pilsner: Arbor’s female-focused 31-inch deck finds a sweet spot between popsicle tricks and cruising with Paris V3s and large 65mm wheels.

In addition to individual deck styles, consider your budget and graphic appeal too. Brands like Toy Machine, Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta and Welcome make great women’s pro models across all board types. Shop at your local skate shop if possible to stand on the actual boards.

Choosing Your Setup

Beyond just the deck, you’ll need to tailor the full skateboard setup to match your personal needs:

  • Skill level: Beginners need a wider deck (8″+) for balance, medium popsicle trucks for turning, larger soft wheels for a smooth ride, and quality bearings that roll well. Intermediates can handle more advanced deck shapes, lighter trucks, smaller wheels for tricks, and faster bearings.
  • Height/weight: Those under 5’3″ feel most comfortable on decks under 8″. Lighter riders under 150 lbs will prefer softer bushings for easier turning. Bigger feet may overhang some boards, so go wider.
  • Style: Cruisers and longboards need large soft wheels and looser trucks for carving. Trick skaters need hard small wheels and tighter trucks for control. Find flexibility if you’ll do both.
  • Graphic: Don’t underestimate style! Choose skaters and graphics you vibe with. Many women love floral patterns, artists like Andy Warhol, and pro models from female team riders.

For your full setup, buy from reputable skate brands like Independent, Bones, Spitfire, Bronson, and OJ Wheels. Talk to experienced skaters and shop employees for recommendations too. Invest in your gear and it will progress with you.

Beginner Skills to Roll Out On

Once you have that perfect board picked out, it’s time to start riding! Here are some tips to quickly get comfortable rolling around:

  • Find your natural stance by placing one foot on the board and gently pushing off. Whichever foot feels in front is your dominant forward foot.
  • Start off pushing while standing with your front foot turned sideways across the board to keep balanced.
  • Kickturns are the basic way to change direction by swinging your front trucks around 180 degrees. Practice them on flat ground.
  • Carving is turning by shifting your weight heel to toe to wiggle back and forth. This builds board control.
  • Learn to gently foot brake by dragging your pushing foot lightly on the ground to scrub off speed.
  • Safety gear like helmets, pads and gloves boost confidence when starting by protecting your body while learning.
  • Look for smooth paths and driveways with a very gentle decline to safely build up speed. Don’t push beyond your limits.
  • Try watching skate tutorials on YouTube to see tricks in action. Slowing down videos helps break down techniques.

Stick to flat ground at first. With regular practice, you’ll be amazed how quickly rolling around, turning and pushing smoothly becomes second nature. Take it step-by-step and celebrate small achievements.

Leveling Up Your Skating

Once comfortable rolling on your board, you’ll be eager to take it further! Here are some tips for intermediate riders looking to expand their skills:

  • Start attempting ollies over small cracks or blocks. This fundamental trick gets air under your board and opens the door to many others. Go slow and commit your popping foot.
  • Ride off curbs while keeping your knees bent to absorb impact. This will build confidence for dropping off ledges later.
  • Try riding transition at skateparks. Start on mellower quarter pipes before working up to deeper bowls. Get used to shifting your weight back and forth to pump around the curves.
  • When ready, practice dropping in starting on smaller ramps. Lean forward as you descend, keeping knees bent. Aim to roll in as straight as possible.
  • Look for good outdoor street spots with sets of stairs, ledges, or manual pads to expand your terrain. Always check run ups and landings first.
  • Learn flip tricks like kickflips, heelflips and pop shuvits on grass first to master the scooping motion and commitment. Then bring them to smooth pavement.
  • Joining up with local skate groups or making skate dates with friends will motivate you to build skills together. Find role models to learn from.

Keep pushing yourself bit-by-bit outside your comfort zone while having fun polishing your style. Filming your progress helps analyze areas to improve. Skating takes patience through the learning curves, butthat makes breakthrough moments even more gratifying.

Next Level Skating for Advanced Women

For experienced female rippers ready to shred, you can take your skating to an advanced competitive level through precision technique, fearlessness and style:

  • Dial in super technical flip tricks like kickflip nosegrinds, 360 flips and nollie heelflips. Lock into grinds by really popping into rails and ledges.
  • Build a deep bag of styles on transition like lipslides, 5-0s and rock-n-rolls flowing smoothly between the tranny. Generate serious speed pumping the curves.
  • Handle big gaps and sets with proper run-up, speed control and commitment. Bend knees deeply on landings to absorb impact for stair sets and drops.
  • Travel to top skateparks and street spots to experience diverse terrain and competition. Challenge yourself in contests and demo sessions.
  • Mentor younger girls at skate camps and events. Promote skateboarding through influencer channels and compete on a pro level.
  • Know how to prevent and treat injuries with proper stretching, nutrition and self-care. Listen to your body and allow needed rest days.
  • Maintain your gear consistently. Customize and dial in your pro-level setups for each discipline. Always skate within your ability range.
  • Take inspiration from pros like Leticia Bufoni, Alexis Sablone, Alana Smith and the rising stars of women’s skateboarding.

Forge your own path in skateboarding while promoting the sport as an inclusive place where women can thrive. Go without limits!

FAQs from Women Looking to Skate

How can I find the right size skateboard as a beginner?

Start by measuring your height and shoe size to narrow down an appropriate deck width and length. Test different sizes at a shop. An 8″ to 8.5” deck is ideal for most beginners. Go wider if under size 7 shoes or taller than 5’ 5”.

Should I learn on a longboard or standard trick deck?

Longboards are more stable for cruising, but trick boards teach control faster. Consider a multi-purpose cruiser if you want versatility. Ultimately choose whichever excites you most and fits your goals.

What safety gear do I need starting out?

Helmets and wrist guards are essential fall protection when learning. Knee and elbow pads will also save you pain and allow you to skate worry-free. Always prioritize safety before style.

Any tips for getting comfortable on my new board?

Start by placing it on carpet or grass and stepping on to find balance. Try tic-tacs back and forth to get used to the feel. Once ready, practice pushing and kicking around smooth flat areas in soft shoes. Take it slow!

Would lessons help me pick up skating faster?

Structured lessons with an experienced instructor can definitely accelerate learning if you’re struggling with fundamentals. They’ll correct bad habits early. But self-teaching works too with consistent practice. Do what motivates you most.

How can I learn tricks without getting intimidated?

Build physical skills and confidence on your board before focusing on tricks. Master the basics like pushing, turning, kickturns and stopping first. Start simple with ollies and shuvits on grass or carpet. Small wins boost morale.

Is skateboarding a worthwhile workout for women?

Absolutely! Skating works your whole body through constant core engagement, leg pumping, upper body pops and anaerobic cardio bursts. It builds balance, agility and raw power. Just ease into longer sessions to prevent exhaustion or injury.

What’s the best way for women to find a local crew to skate with?

Search for women/queer skate groups on Meetup or Facebook. Introduce yourself at skateparks. Take a class to meet friends. Ask skate shop employees to connect you with regulars. Consistently showing up yourself will lead to bonds.

What’s a realistic budget to get started skateboarding?

You can grab a starter complete board for $100 to $150. Add in $60 for a helmet and pads, $40 for skate shoes, and $30 for accessories like tools. So plan around $250 to $300 for a proper beginner setup that will last you at least a year.

Is skateboarding safe for women to do alone?

Use caution and avoid isolated areas. Only skate in daylight, bring pepper spray if concerned, and share your location via GPS with a friend. Scope out any unknown skate spot beforehand. But don’t sacrifice fun – skating’s benefits outweigh its risks if you take basic precautions.

Keep On Rolling

Skateboarding is a journey without a destination. No matter your age or experience, always keep that beginner’s excitement to wander, explore and progress on four wheels. Let your inner child play through self-expression on a board. The freedom you feel carving through life’s terrain can’t be matched.

Hopefully this guide has inspired you to start shredding or take your skating to the next level. From cruisers to bombers, long fluid lines to technical flip tricks, skateboarding is for every woman seeking empowerment, adrenaline and sisterhood along the ride.

Grab your deck, hit the pavement, battle through falls, and celebrate breakthroughs. Keep looking ahead to what’s possible. The magic is being fully present in the process, not any final skill achieved. Soak up your skate sessions and the exhilaration you feel pushing your potential.

Ride on sisters – this is our time to soar on concrete waves! Feel free to drop any questions below on your own skate journey. Let’s roll!

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