The 11th of January seemed like a regular Wednesday at Le Taz. I walked in escaping the dry, frigid weather gnawing at my face and hands only to be greeted by the comforting warmth of familiarity with the skate park. The sounds of tails popping and wheels clacking against the hard, slippery floor blended with the rock music playing in the skate shop. As usual, I presented myself at the desk and got myself tagged. “Have a good session,” said the ticket booth worker. Of course! It was the premiere of the all female skate film: Quit Your Day Job.
Once evening hit, people started assembling in the lounge area where a giant projector screen draped down over the gray brick wall. People were chillin’ on the black couches, skaters were scattered on the floor and some were sitting on the highest bench of the bleachers. From where I was sitting, I could see little skater kids jumping and playing on the ottoman contained in the center of the enclosure of couches. Suddenly, the feature started to play, followed by the cue of the soundtrack and a rise of excitement from the crowd. The women of Meow and Hoopla skateboards had our full attention.
Every girl had a sponsored skater or skaters they admired, or so it seemed. Samarria Brevard Lacey Baker Savannah Headden Mariah Duran and Candy Jacobs had their individual segments in the film. I could hear the hollers of girls upon seeing their favorites executing amazing tricks off of staircases, rails, and banks that just happened to be there at the skate spot. I also heard their expressions of dread and horror upon witnessing the many slams that took place. Candy Jacobs, you legend! These ladies of shred gave us a taste of their skill, skate style, and personality delivered as a dropkick to your face. They were simply stunning.
There was a certain calm just before the storm of screaming. The rising crescendo of cheering filled my ears as the name of Montréal’s own Annie Guglia flashed across the screen. The first time I met her was at “Sk8 D8”. She organized at least three of these events last summer. It was a way of encouraging aspiring female skaters to come out of the shadows and to skate. With the help of Les Vagabonnes some girls learned to ride a board, how to drop quarter pipes, how to power slide, and various other tricks according to skill level. Annie brought skateboarding to others, on and off screen. (That reminds me, I should ask her to sign my copy of Skirtboarders one of these days.)
After the film, the vibe changed from a usual woman Wednesday (women skate for free at Le Taz) to a “whoo-hoo-man” Wednesday. I remember throwing high fives and fist bumps to every skater I met. I never saw so many girls motivated to skate and have fun before. I met a girl who did a mean “Strawberry Milkshake” and stomped that trick to the ground. I gave her props and tried it with her. Other girls were in on the action too. They were so geared to learn something new. I even tried to teach a beginner how to do a “180 No Comply” which was taught to me by another female skater. That night I couldn’t sleep from all the hype.
In skate communities, there is definitely a teacher/pupil relationship – a mentoring system, if you will. We learn from each other and through example. It’s like a pendulum swinging back and forth, and we keep that momentum going together. That’s how we learn, how we develop and grow at a steady pace. We skaters are constantly challenging ourselves, and by skating together it enriches the experience. Everyone has their own bag of tricks and we can help each other fill them with more. The next time you drop by a skate park, teach good skate park etiquette, encourage your peers, and help others get their tricks with some constructive criticism. Be that change you wish to see in the world. Peace.