Skater Girls Are Having All The Fun
GRLSWRL is giving skaters community and making skater girl dreams come true.
GRLSWRL is a monthly column written by members of the GRLSWRL, a global network of skate chapters that serve as welcoming spaces for people of all backgrounds to the world of skate.
When I was 6 years old, there was nothing I wanted more than to be a skater boy. I loved every part of the skateboarding culture, from the busted boards and sticker-covered helmets to the 00s punk music that blared from boomboxes at the skatepark and the ever-present bottles of Mountain Dew and Monster.
My dream never really came true. Sure, I learned how to get up on a board and push off, and I managed to steer myself cautiously around the flat parts of the park while my older brother yelled, “Faster! You have to go faster!” But I never skated the way I saw all the older boys skating—plunging into the bowl, grinding rails, speeding down the sidewalk, and wiping out spectacularly after a wheel ran over an unseen pebble. I could never connect with them the way my brother did, either. I was an elementary schooler with a baby blue helmet and a Taylor Swift t-shirt. In what world was I cool enough to share their skatepark?
Skating might be a solo sport, but it’s definitely a group activity. Without friends at the park, my time there wasn’t any fun. I eventually put away my helmet and pads and decided skating was one of those things that I just wasn’t going to be able to conquer.
All that changed after I stumbled across GRLSWIRL this summer. GRLSWIRL is a skating collective founded by women and open to skaters of all skill levels. For the group’s leaders, skateboarding is a way to connect with others, whether that’s through their group skate sessions or their community outreach.
I found GRLSWIRL through TikTok and was instantly hooked. Their posts showed women skating together, cheering each other on, and helping each other up off the pavement after a fall. There were videos of members hanging out, skating, and dancing. There were even step-by-step instructional videos teaching viewers how to comfortably stand on a skateboard, the best ways to balance, and tips for getting off the board.
Photo courtesy of GRLSWRL.
While many think of skating as a competitive sport or a pastime for kids, the GRLSWIRL leaders see it as a way to forge bonds and build confidence.
“We truly believe that through our individual stories and strength in community, we can inspire people to face insecurities and come together through the simple act of trying something new,” [GRLSWIRL’s website reads](https://www.grlswirl.com/pages/who-is-grlswirl). “Together we are carving the way to a more welcoming skate environment, where you don't have to fit a certain mold to be accepted.”
GRLSWIRL’s co-founder, Lucy Osinski, started the collective in 2018 for the very same reasons I ended up quitting the sport all those years ago: wanting friends to skate with.
“I was skating alone constantly and wanted women to join, not only because of the constant unwanted male attention you get as a woman on a skateboard but because it was something I loved so deeply and wished I could share with other women,” Osinski told Amadeus Magazine. “Thanks to my lucky stars, after a few months of recruiting random women for group skates, I finally met the most magical women who all loved skating and wanted to create a movement of empowering women through skate just as much as I did.”
That movement is now a global force. Born in Venice, California, GRLSWIRL now boasts chapters in New York, San Diego, Paris, and Lisbon and has partnered with brands like Carver Skateboards and ROXY.
GRLSWIRL has also built an impressive community outreach program, raising money for local organizations and teaching kids how to skate through their mentorship program.
“The whole idea behind GRLSWIRL is that you don’t have to be a ripper to get on a skateboard,” Osinski told Oprah Daily. “You don’t have to be a badass, you don’t have to be a Cali chick. You can have a 9-to-5, you can be a mom, you can be an engineer. We’re not claiming to be pro skaters. We think those women are incredible, but our goal is to make skateboarding less intimidating—to let other women have this liberating experience. If we’re what inspires them to try, then that’s the best thing in the world.”
GRLSWRL's founder, Lucy Osinski.
If you’re curious about the real impact of GRLSWIRL’s message of relentless positivity and confidence through skating, look no further than this article. After binging all the GRLSWIRL content I could get my hands on, I dug my board out of the garage and started skating again.
I’m not great—I’m not even good—but I’m having fun! I’m moving my body, spending time outside, and getting really good at applying bandages and Neosporin to scrapes. I even feel more confident; if I can get back on the board after so long and start skating again, what else could I do?
I might not be like the skater boys I idolized growing up, but these days, the skater girls are the ones having all the fun.