Images Ian Logan Photo
I have waited 30 years to see what I witnessed this past week during the Vans Park Series. It was inspiring. It was motivating. It was INSANE. The level of skating was off the charts - it was some of the best skateboarding I have ever seen in a girls competition. Hands down AMAZING. It was also the talk of social media in a huge way.
The rules have changed in girls skateboarding and the flood gates have opened. Big contests like the Vans Park Series are no longer "invite only". The Boardr and their new "it's not an invite" contest system have changed all that - you apply, you send a video, and if you can skate bowl/vert competently, you get to come show your stuff. There is no Pro and AM, you all skate together, and if you shred and have a high scoring run (best out of 4) and your score is in the top 10, you make the final. Which means it's an open playing field. It's above board and it's exciting.
We saw girls from all over the world at this comp, it was definitely not just the same faces we see most times at events. It's very similar to what Exposure Skate has been doing these past few years with it's contest - and we love it! There were girls who have been skating hard in their own small towns, big cities, and countries - quietly shredding hard with little to no fanfare. Girls like Hanna Zanzi who came in, seemingly out of nowhere, and took the entire contest by storm and wound up with first place. Girls from Brazil like Yndiara Asp, who made top 10 and will go on to compete at the finals in Sweden on August 20.
Tuesday's competition shook the women's skateboarding world up. Were some people stoked? YES. Were some not so happy? Absolutely. We heard comments on both days (practice and contest day) that were pro and con.
But it doesn't matter how you feel about the new system in place, what matters is what you do to use it to your advantage. If you are angry about the changes, use it as fuel to keep yourself motivated by learning new tricks, and help yourself stay in the top 10. Bitching about isn't going to change it, and it's time to move forward.
Throughout the years we have seen changes in skateboarding, starting with freestyle and then watching as skateboarding started moving into vert. Girls who did freestyle, but wanted to stay competitive, started shifting their focus towards vert to stay in the game. In the 80's when vert started dying out due to the skateparks being shut down, street skating was born out of necessity. If you wanted to compete, and be relevant, you had to change and adapt. Rodney Mullen is a great example of this.
These new girls on the scene, like Hanna & Yndiara, as well as the younger girls who are now in the mix like Poppy Starr Olsen, Jordyn Barratt, and Brighton Zeuner, are all pushing hard and challenging the established pro's. We also saw AM's like Bryce Wettstein make the top 10 and hold her own. This is called PROGRESSION. These changes we are seeing in the contest format are pushing every girl out there to do more and more, and that is actually a good thing. It helps keep us fresh and helps push women's skateboarding forward.
With the Olympics coming we need to have the BEST girls out there representing each country, and we need to have motivation and innovation. I think the new format for the Vans Park Series did that in spades.
Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts below.