Courtney Atencio rides low to the floor, swerving out and in of lengthy, empty California streets. In one video, she grabs the again of a Toyota Camry and cruises alongside behind it. In one other, she’s along with her buddies, training methods at an area skate park. Every time, Atencio’s clips are undeniably cool, and so they shortly turn out to be flooded with feedback from followers asking for tips about the right way to begin skating. Atencio didn’t begin skating or her TikTok account to attain fame, however she shortly discovered communities in each that she by no means skilled when she was rising up.
“When I was 14, guys would make fun of me for trying to go to the skate park because I’m the only female there,” Atencio advised The Verge. “Having TikTok, to be able to show girls that you’re not alone, you can still skate, you don’t even listen to all those guys, is so important.”
Skate tradition has discovered a brand new life on TikTok, the place brief movies of spectacular methods, painful wipeouts, and hangs at 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 first 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 ladies and queer of us.
Hashtags like #girlswhoskate and #skatergirl are continually rising, making a unending sea of movies starring women and girls. Swipe round, and also you’ll discover skaters like Brianna King, an extremely widespread creator recognized for providing suggestions that newcomers can use when beginning out, or skateboobs, an all-girl skateboard group in Scotland, which recurrently put up movies of their time skating. But many creators are extra like Atencio, who merely posts movies of solo rides via her dwelling in suburban Los Angeles or her time spent hanging out at skateparks with associates.
“I see a lot more women skateboarding on TikTok than I ever did growing up,” Faeth Perryman, who additionally posts skate movies to TikTok, advised The Verge. “I don’t really know if that’s because there a lot of girls on TikTok in general, or if TikTok just made skateboarding videos more accessible.”
Thanks to 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 as the solar rises. The app continually serves up new movies to individuals who interact with related forms of content material. Basically, in case you like, remark, or share a few skateboarding movies, TikTok will fill your feed with increasingly more.
After waning in the late ‘00s and beyond, skate culture had a resurgence over the last few years. The success of streetwear brands like Supreme that lean heavily on skateboarding aesthetics helped drive new interest in boarding, the pandemic gave people more time to finally try their hands at it, and a remaster of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games supplied up much more nostalgia. Skateboarding was even about to have its Olympic debut this yr till the video games received canceled.
It’s not like ladies and trans skaters weren’t round in the final half-century, however it was men who dominated the covers of Thrasher Magazine, men who starred in the coveted VHS compilations that will get handed round skate outlets, and men who made up practically all of the featured skaters in the massively widespread Tony Hawk video games. TikTok has helped skaters with much less visibility discover extra inclusive communities.
Perryman grew up round skateboarding — her brothers and pa 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 needed to emulate her model. Atencio, who has 76,000 followers, says she’s continually stunned by the variety of younger women who attain out to her asking about what measurement board they need to get.
C, a trans nonbinary artist, mentioned they had been impressed by the trans skaters who popped up on the app’s predominant feed, and thought, “I might be able to do that myself.” While 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 outdated hobbies, that they jumped again into it.
“Skating is such a punk, anti-society thing, and in my opinion, so is being trans and existing specifically outside of the binary,” C advised The Verge. “Seeing those two things happen on TikTok was so beautiful.”
Problems that existed in skate tradition for years are current on TikTok, too. Men present up in feedback calling women posers and commenting negatively on the approach ladies skate. Perryman tries not to concentrate to the feedback, however Atencio argues the optimistic feedback she receives outweigh the unfavorable ones.
“For every negative comment there’s going to be like 20x more complimentary comments where people are pushing me and saying good job,” Atencio mentioned.
But creators like Atencio and Perryman need to encourage folks to get off TikTok and really 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 associates — the ones she discovered at skateparks, she says — who pushed her “to do what I do on TikTok.”