We all remember the skaters who grew up in California skating back in the day, as that seemed to be where most of the magazine coverage was during that time, as social media was non-existent. But other places had some female rippers doing their thing as well. With the emergence of Facebook and Instagram we are now seeing and hearing more and more about girls who were riding solely for the stoke of it (rather than contests or sponsorship) in all parts of the world. We are please to introduce you to one of those girls here. We hope you will enjoy hearing about Sheenagh's experience skating in the UK in the late 70's. xx
Who's Rad? Sheenagh Burdell
Age? 50 years old
Home is? I live in a medieval market town, in South West France
How Long Have You Been Skateboarding?
I started skateboarding at 11 years old in 1976, I regrettably stopped at the age of 16, but took it up again at 49.
Girls who inspired you back in the day?
There weren't really many girl skaters in the UK at that time and I had only really seen Teri Lawrence riding pools in America, who I thought was fantastic! But the girl who I found most inspiring was my best friend Inch (she wasn't very tall). She had a severe back problem and her balance wasn't too good, she(I hope she doesn't mind me saying this) couldn't skate very well, but she never gave up trying and was always with me at the skatepark laughing and having fun, she didn't care what anyone thought of her skateboarding skills along as she was enjoying herself ! Which she certainly did!
Girls Who Skate that inspire you today?
Girls who inspire me now,thats a difficult one! There are so many great female skateboarders out there now! Julz Lynn, Lizzie Armanto, Poppy Starr Olson, Alana Smith, the list goes on and on! They all make it look so easy. Julz seems to effortlessly fly through the air with such a serene look on her face! But I think that OG women like Judi Oyama inspire me more and prove that skateboarding can still be done at our age! Then there are relatively unknown women like Kirsten Swansen who loves to skate & help youngsters to skate and Tameka Gallien who often graces the F.B. Page of Skaters Over 50.
Favorite place you've ever skated?
I always remember Arrow skatepark in Birmingham England as being my favourite place to have skated.It was in an old warehouse crammed full of weird and wonderful wooden ramps & pipes,you could easily have got lost in there!
My home town skatepark Solid Surf at Southport, although I didn't appreciate it at the time must have been a favourite too, as I practically lived there for years!
How was it skating in the UK – tell us about the skate scene then.
The skate scene in the UK in the 70's was pretty big, skateparks had shot up all over the country, some were diabolical, some were great! The country produced a lot of great skaters! But there was a lot more opportunities if you lived down South as far as sponsorship and coverage of the sport went!
I don't know if you would call it a trick, but I used to love to elevator drop into Colnes massive pool! I don't think many people actually had the bottle to do that! I think I was the only girl who ever skated that pool!
Tell us about the style of skating you did back in the day?
My style back then was very compressed, I used to try and copy a friend called Stef Harkon he had a great surfer style! I was an aggressive skater, London skater Marc Sinclair recently told me that they used to call me "the go for it girl" I mainly skated parks, pools and pipes! Although I did do some freestyle, it definitely wasn't my favorite thing! But I did enjoy slalom!
Who did you skate with back then?
I used to skate with loads of people back then, Andy Lomas, Steve Gratton, Stef Harkon, Dan-z, Jackie & Julie "Inch" Lee, Noel & Glen, to name a few. There was always a good crowd of friends where ever we went, but I rarely skated anywhere without my big brother Darren. Although it was me who got Darren into skateboarding,he was my main influence and coach, always pushing me to try new things and making me really go for it!
Sponsors back in the day?
Sponsors back then were few and far between, especially for a Northern England girl! Lan skateboards had a northern team who I skated for, but they didn't really have much to offer! We traveled around the country to a few competitions with them, they gave me a deck!
My Mum and Dad had a skateboard shop in Southport called Freewheelers, they were my best sponsors!
What was your board set up back then?
I had a lot of different set ups, Sims & Dogtown being 2 of my favorite makes, I rode Tracker trucks, Independent & Megatrons. When new wheels came into the shop I found it hard to resist trying them all, I loved Wings Wheels! My least favorite were Powerflex 5's, I tried a set & hated them, so I washed them & put them back on the shelf to be sold! (Don't tell my Mum!)
Are you still skateboarding now?
I returned to skating again after a small break of 35 years! I bought a Fiberflex slalom board from a videgrenier (empty your attic) for 2 euro & started having sneaky goes on it when no one was watching, in case I fell off!
If so what is your favorite thing to skate?
I have my own halfpipe in a barn. I got it for my 50 birthday,but I had to help build it! There is a concrete bowl that I enjoy skating in Langon about 20 mins drive away from where I live.
Three Things You Don't Know About Me:
1.) You may not know that I used to race in the Supertwins Championships on a Top Gas drag bike for many years.
2.) I have a collection of motorbikes ranging from 1970's classic mopeds to a 1450 Harley, I do a lot of the renovation work myself including the paint jobs!
3.) I enjoy riding trials bikes.
Any advice for girls out there skating now?
Don't take it too seriously, have fun & try not to worry about what people think. Don't ever stop skating either because it's not so easy to start again after 35 years off! Don't let anybody put you off either, if you think you can do it , do it, I did . I still find it hard to believe that I ever got back on a skateboard, but I am so glad I did! Stay young skate!
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