Women’s UK skateboard champ Lucy Adams speaks up for the skater girl revolution
Looking for motivation or a new way to work out? Take a leaf out of skateboarder Lucy Adams' book.
‘People ask me if I go to the gym to complement my skating but I say “no, I just skate!”
'When skateboarding, if I’m mastering a trick I may make over 50 attempts. The movements are explosive and powerful. And because I’m trying to reach the end goal - of conquering a trick - I forget I’m exercising. Although my legs feel really tired, I won’t stop until I finish the trick,' Lucy says.
'I’d rather do that then endless reps of squat jumps.'
As for motivation: Lucy, 28, has the push of her fellow skaters. ‘If you complete a trick, there’s people around that will always cheer you on. Not only have you achieved it for yourself, but for them too. We'll go out in the dark and cold and still have fun.’
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Lucy has been skating for nearly 15 years. ‘I skate for 45 minutes every lunchtime and try to make my way home via a skate park. Then I’ll be doing it all day Saturday for eight hours.’
Like so many competitive sportswomen, Lucy has a full-time job, working as sports development officer for her local council in Worthing, West Sussex. ‘It isn’t possible to make a career out of skating. You can get sponsorship but you are only really getting kit. Sometimes the men get a travel budget too.’
Lucy started off on skates. She explains, ‘I had roller skates when I was young. My mum played roller hockey. We’d go to roller discos. But I watched the boys skateboarding and thought "I really want to be able to do that too"’.
She started off skating with the boys at a local skatepark. ‘It felt like a nice community where we were all learning the ropes together, but I was the only girl.’
These days, Lucy enjoys coaching but again her classes are made up of mainly boys. 'If they see me as the coach, they’ll hopefully start to think it’s normal for girls to skate. So when there is a girl in the lesson the boys don’t act as if that’s abnormal.’
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Lucy is one of a group of female skaters now hoping to encourage more women to take up the sport. While some have taken to Facebook to arrange meet-ups, other have been pestering the parks. ‘Most outdoor skate venues are council-owned and therefore open access. Yet many indoor facilities now run regular women-only sessions. More and more are doing this, but only because they’ve had girls bug them into it.
‘Why not start your own group?’ she says. ‘My friend has just done that in Dublin. She posts where she will be and tells women to come along and they all skate together. Also, check out skatergirl.com.
‘Try to remember that everybody was a beginner at one time. Everybody has had that first step of trying and falling. I fall over all the time.’
When starting out, find somewhere smooth and flat to learn the simple techniques of pushing, rolling along and practising your stance. 'Get comfortable before you try to be in an area populated by skaters and younger people,’ Lucy advises.
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Other than a board, you don’t need any expensive gear to learn the ropes. ‘You can definitely start with your regular running shoes. These are much better than wearing pumps or plimsolls. The beginner moves are not damaging on your foot. As you start to jump and learn tricks, the shoes wear easily on the top of the board as it’s lined with a texture like sandpaper.'
As you progress, you can then invest in a decent pair of skate shoes. ‘It’s important to have cushion in the heel and the ball of the foot area,’ Lucy says.
Join our Keep the Momentum campaign and find other great ways to try a new sport today.
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