Producer and Interview Aina Nur Sarah Videography and Editing Ariszuan Irfan
I don’t know about you, but growing up with #StrictAsianParents, most of us weren’t weren’t always given the freedom to do much or to explore anything out of the realm of what was ‘safe’ or ‘acceptable’. Other than rollerblading which seemed pretty vanilla as a sport, our parents freaked at the prospect of their daughter skateboarding or trying anything that seemed the least bit “dangerous” or “boyish”.
So just to satiate that desire or that curiosity, I would always try out my brother’s skateboard, teaching myself how to balance and kicking myself whenever I fell over and was down. No older brother or any of the boys would be caught dead teaching a girl how to skateboard. Ahh, growing up can be fun.
That aside, if you think about the general narrative surrounding skateboarding in the world, it has always been male-dominated. It has never been thought of as a sport for girls, and this started in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has stuck — with the exception of names like Peggi Oki and Elissa Steamer.
Here to flip that right around is Girls Jom Skate, a homegrown Malaysian collective that’s hellbent on making skateboarding accessible to all girls of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, skill levels and everything. So even if you’ve never been on a skateboard before and want to try, they have teamed up with Wheel Love Skateshop based at Ener-z Indoor Extreme Park in Subang to provide a safe, judgment-free space for girls to come and try skateboarding or show off their skills. No more trepidation when you think of those large skateparks and hordes of pubescent teen boys who are too prepared to laugh at your stance.
#TeamCLEO spoke to the co-founders of Girls Jom Skate (GJS), and found out that it was quite the similar motivation for Dianne, who said they started GJS, “[Because] I wanted to skate, and I wanted to skate with a lot of girls. I knew a lot of girls wanted to skate too.” Yeng, on the other hand had a dream of improving the scene so that his own daughters could try the sport and fall in love with it. “If you really want to help the scene… You don’t want people to have excuses. We removed the barriers — we provide the helmet, the skateboard, and so on,” he said.
All you need to do is show up and ask for equipment which you can rent (it’s RM10 a board).
Hit play for our whole full interview with GJS and see how writer Aina went on her first go (hint: she didn’t stack it!) and how we loved skating without judgment or fear. Totally tubular!