Second-year digital media production major, Niamh Hoban has recently created a community for girls who know how to skateboard or want to learn: New Paltz Girls Skating Community.
According to Publicskateparkguide.org, out of all skaters, 77.1 percent are male leaving only 23.9 percent female. This difference between men and women often leaves women unsure of where to skate, who to skate with.
Hoban realized this difference of men and women skaters as soon as she learned how to skate in 2009, nearly ten years ago. She explained how she could not find any female skaters to look up to or watch online. This led to Hoban’s insecurity in regards to the sport. Skate parks and street skating were both filled with men, shying her away from pursuing skating to her fullest extent. It is questionable how many other female skaters have felt the same way.
It calls to question how many beginner female skaters have decided to stop teaching themselves because of the situation.
Women in New Paltz often face adveristy. A prominent fear of women is condescension from male skaters.
“I wanted a place where people could feel safe to share their level of skating experience without being judged,” Hoban said.
New Paltz Girls Skating Community member and second-year student Sara Rose VandenOever echoed Hoban’s feelings.
“I think the male skating community isn’t trying hard enough to be welcoming or encouraging of female skaters,” VandenOever said.
Hoban recognizes the importance of women in a man dominated sport. Gender should not be used against someone in regards to skating, she said.
Skateboarding is a recreational activity, or an action sport, that happenes frequently on campus. As the weather becomes warmer, more and more skateboarders can be found riding around to get to class as well as with friends.
For Hoban, skateboarding is a sport of pure independence. With room for creativity, you can often vary your skating style allowing you to think freely about what you can do with your board.
Through this community, Hoban plans to bring women together, plan skating events and teach others. On Wednesday Feb. 28, several girls from the New Paltz Girls Skating Community will be partnering with Majestic Sk8 Crew in Gardiner to teach young girls how to skate after school.
The emergence of New Paltz Girls Skating Community is relevant in this time, as women across the nation are uniting to make their societal issues heard. Locally, skateboarding has become a topic of discussion.
This past Monday and Tuesday, there were meetings held to discuss the restrictive policies to certain modes of transportation, including skateboards and students’ concerns with it. Skateboarders of all genders are headstrong about keeping skateboards on campus.
New Paltz Girls Skating Community welcomes skaters to join their Facebook group to find out about updates as well as when and where they are skating. Hoban explained she has seen more female skateboarders around campus and hopes to unify.
“I wanted an environment where you did not have to wear Thrasher and know all the skate lingo to be accepted,” Hoban said.
If Hoban was not so busy she would think about affiliating New Paltz Girls Skating Community with SUNY New Paltz. But, for now it will stay on Facebook where she hopes more members will join.