It’s GSUK’s 7th birthday (wahoo!), which should mean skating, good vibes, and most importantly: cake. In past years GSUK have hosted a fair share of bumper birthday bashes, with giveaways, raffles, and competitions at indoor parks around the country, including Flo and Broom skateparks in Nottingham and Leicester.
But sadly, in light of the pandemic we’re resigned to celebrate by eating pizza and cake at home, waiting for things to open up again. With this in mind, I caught up with Danni, GSUK’S founder and community champ to see how she’d be spending the day.
Hi Danni. First of all, how do you feel about GSUK turning 7?
It feels mad to think it’s already been 7 years, so much has changed for females in skateboarding in that short space of time – but in many ways it also feels much longer. Looking back at some of the past events has made me feel proud of everything that’s been achieved so far, and most importantly, to have been able to bring so many people together.
It’s a shame that that won’t be possible this year. How are you celebrating instead?
We were incredibly lucky last year to have hosted our 6th birthday party at 4motion in Darlington a couple of weeks before we went into the first lockdown.
This year will obviously be a little different, so to celebrate we will be looking back over the years’ events as a little bit of nostalgia to those who came along, and also as a tease of what’s to come for all those taking up skateboarding in lockdown and are yet to join us!
What’s your favourite GSUK birthday memory?
Cliché I know, but I actually couldn’t choose, I think each year they just get better! The staff at each venue we have held them in have gone above and beyond for us and I couldn’t be more grateful to the indoor skateparks across the UK for their support over the years.
Our annual parties are a place where everyone is invited. There is not a skateboarding event in the country that has more equal representation than the yearly parties GSUK host, and I think it’s this mix of people that makes the atmosphere just so good.
Lockdown has led to more people starting to skate, or picking it back up. How do you think this will continue to impact the UK womxn’s skate scene?
Speaking with lots of shop owners it’s clear to see that skate, quad, and bike sales over the past year have shot up, and skateboarding too has grown exponentially since the first lockdown.
This was something that became apparent to me as soon as April last year, when DMs across all of our social platforms tripled and our inboxes were inundated with questions and bookings for The Skate Retreat workshops, which completely sold out over the summer!
It is still a bit too early to tell how all this will play out over the next couple of years, but I think it will make itself more clear when parks start to open and events can be hosted again over the coming months.
More female skaters can only be helping to close the gender play gap in skateboarding, which, if we do see levelling out, will only mean more awareness and exposure – which ultimately leads to more opportunities and progression for the sport.
Speaking of progression for female skaters, where do you see GSUK in 7 more years?
Oh gosh! You never know what’s going to happen but I’m excited for it all. Lockdown was a curveball but one I think we flourished in despite everything. I think the key is just to ride the waves, take everything in your stride, and adapt to the changes.
In an ideal world there wouldn’t even be a need for Girl Skate UK in 7 years’ time, but we still have some way to go until then. Whether it’s me leading the charge or not, I think Girl Skate UK will still be here: hosting events, bringing people together, providing opportunities and challenging change in skateboarding through exposure and dedicated projects – all for the love of skateboarding 💖
Happy birthday Girl Skate UK!!! Hope we can party together again soon. In the meantime, take a look at our social media channels to see highlights from previous birthdays: