These nine GrlSwirl founders have made it their mission to break the gender barriers in the skateboarding world and empower womxn of all backgrounds by creating a safe and inclusive space to learn and grow. With the International Women’s Day theme being centered around choosing to challenge gender disparities and celebrating womxn’s achievements, this local collective immediately comes to mind.
Lucy Osinski, Tobi Ann, Julia Ama, Shannon Moss, Lindsey Klucik, Myriah Marquez, Monroe Alvarez and Danielle Schwartz officially created the all-female collective in 2018, in Venice Beach, California. What casually began as a group of girls embracing the freedom and power of being on a board with other girls, has grown into a global online community of over 85,000 people. Their chapters (active skating groups) span both the West Coast and the East Coast in cities like L.A., of course, New York, and San Diego.
In a largely male-dominated sport, cruising as a solo female can not only feel intimidating but can lead to a lot of unwanted attention. When the founders started hitting the concrete bowl together, they quickly realized how together they could become a revolutionary force rather than a splinter group. By harnessing the power of inclusivity they have managed to redefine the sport and create a culture that replaces fear with freedom, support and family.
Los Angeles has a long history of skateboarding and females are by no means new to it. Since the birth of “sidewalk surfing” in California in the late 1940s, pioneers like Patti McGee have been carving out a space for women in the sport. Having McGee doing her iconic handstand on a board on a 1965 cover of LIFE magazine would have felt like a distant world during the 90s. But over the last few years, groups like this are turning the spotlight on remarkable females, providing the visibility as well as the support needed to progress and reclaim the streets.
For GrlSwirl, there is no “type” of skater. The group welcomes every womxn of every ability and background, including the LGBTQ+ community, to participate free of judgment. Beyond sports, the collective has philanthropy at its core and has worked on numerous projects that have helped over 300 girls in underserved communities get on wheels and gain new skills.
Featured Image: GrlSwirl via Facebook