No longer the baggy jeans boys’ club, lockdown has seen a significant rise in the number of young women in Scotland taking up skateboarding. 

During last year’s nationwide lockdown, the deserted roads became the perfect playground for skaters – with more girls and young women among them than ever before.

Retailers, such as Ozzy’s skate shop in Dundee, believe women skateboarders now make up about one in five men instead of one in 50 a decade ago.

Clan Skates in Glasgow noticed the sales of preassembled boards to girls between the ages of eight to 20 has tripled since last summer. 

“It has been pretty outstanding,” owner Jamie Blair noted. “The future is bright for female skateboarding.”

A desire to take up a new hobby during lockdown is one possible explanation for the sudden increase. 

The debut of skateboarding at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is another. 

Over the summer young amateurs have been inspired by professional female skateboarders such as Sky Brown, the British-Japanese teenager who scooped a bronze medal for Great Britain at just 13 years of age. 

As a result, all-women skate collectives across the country have started to form. They provide a safe social space to continue mastering ollies and kickflips and encourage women to step onto a board for the very first time.

The Glasgow Girls Skate Club is one of the most recent groups to start up. Hosting its first physical meet-up in August, the group’s founders have already created a group of more than a dozen keen skaters. 

Anna Sweeney, 27, co-creator of the club, believes that lockdown pushed a lot of women and girls towards the skatepark, while the sport’s debut at this year’s Olympics has helped it gain a brand new audience.

“I think the influx of women skateboarding has probably been a product of lockdown leading people to spend more time outdoors and finding new sports and hobbies. I think skating as a whole has totally boomed over the last 18 months,” she explained.

“I definitely think the Olympics has added to that. The women’s skateboarding events were a total hit this year and it was pretty impossible to not feel inspired by all those amazing young skaters.”

HeraldScotland: (Photo: Colin Mearns)(Photo: Colin Mearns)

Anna, alongside co-founder Kerry, started the skate club as a friendly, welcoming introduction for other women to find their way into the sport.

“We get a lot of messages from other women who would love to start skating, but find showing up to a skatepark alone pretty intimidating, and maybe don’t have friends who they can skate with,” she said.

“Despite the rise in female skaters it is still a very male-dominated sport. Even just learning to push around on a board by yourself, knowing full well you’re going to hit the deck several times in front of a crowd of strangers, isn’t for the faint hearted. 

“I know a lot of people really struggle with confidence in busy skateparks, and as a beginner skater it’s so easy to get put off.”

It was for Anna’s own benefit, too.

“I also felt like it would be great to start connecting girls who skate with each other because I often struggle to find someone to skate with. It has been so nice to be in such a big supportive crowd,” she added.

Another such group is SkateBoobs, a skate crew for women and non-binary people in Edinburgh.

“The best way to increase the number of a non-male demographic is these people to show up and skate, which is happening and is great,” said Eli Campbell, one of its members.

“Skating is, and always will be, for everyone.”

Social media is also helping young female skaters find each other.

The hashtag #GirlSkateScotland has spread through Instagram. Used 130 times since May, it encourages women to take part in the sport whilst also providing a platform for girls to meet like-minded peers. 

Ken Smith, the director of Transgression Skatepark in Edinburgh, said he believed this increased visibility had created a ripple effect. 

“There has been a substantial increase in skating and skateboard sales since lockdown that has definitely been driven by women taking up the sport,” he said. 

“The majority of our new customers are girls and women.

“I don’t believe there is any single factor to the sudden change in attitudes but more a slow increase over the years, which now means there are enough women visibly involved. 

“The ‘if you see it, you can be it’ factor has kicked in.”