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Female skateboarders face off in Encinitas

Top competitors in women’s skateboarding faced off for a day-long benefit contest at the Encinitas Community Park on Nov. 7. The event featured over 100 professional and amateur female skateboarders from around the world with a portion of the proceeds going to Carol’s House, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Amelia Brodka, founder of Exposure Skate, created the event as a platform for female skateboarders to gain recognition in a male-dominated sport. Now in its fourth year, the event has become the biggest female skateboarding competition in the world.

Participants varied in age with some girls as young as 5 years old and with many traveling from other countries to compete. Also for the first time, Women’s Street was held along side the Vert and Bowl competitions.

According to Brodka, the annual event was created to fill a lack of women’s skateboarding events and all around coverage in the industry. However recently it has transformed into an event that includes a broader message about women’s health.

“We’re a nonprofit that’s dedicated to empowering woman through skateboarding,” Brodka said. “Skateboarding is the main vehicle for this but we also teach girls about fitness and healthy lifestyles.”

In fact, free yoga classes were held beside Tony Hawk’s 14-foot half pipe during the Amateur Vert competition. Bridget Gamble, who was running the classes, has been doing her yoga clinic at the event for the past three years. Gamble explained that she conducts yoga classes at the competition as another medium for expressing concern for healthy living.

“As stoked as these girls are getting about skateboarding, they’re also becoming more aware toward their bodies in general,” Gamble said.

Other booths set up around the park included related companies such as Boarding for Breast Cancer. The company, whose skateboarding team competed in both pro and amateur contests, uses skateboarding as a means for an active lifestyle to reduce breast cancer risks and to spread awareness.

Although it was only girls grinding though the contests, many male skateboarderss were in attendance and participated as judges, organizers or cheered from within the crowd.

Alec Beck, a third-year volunteer organizer at the event, celebrated Brodka’s ability to put together such an important event for skateboarding.

“Woman are such a big part of the sport and of the art of it all and this event is a big part of that,” he said.

Lizzie Armanto, one of the highest performing female skateboarders in the world, attended the event to support the Exposure cause. Armanto agreed women are often under represented in sports and expressed the event’s importance for woman in skateboarding.

“I think events like these are really great for encouraging women to go out and pursue sports and to be athletic,” she said.

 

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