Some women in China are discovering that they don’t need to be gifted like 15-year-old Olympic champion Nishiya Momiji from Japan to love skateboarding.
There is a version of skateboarding called surfskating which is a bit easier for older people to learn.
The city’s sport is giving women like Mina Zhao, 40, some time off from their COVID-19 worries.
Easing COVID-related tensions
Zhao said she felt “shut inby Beijing’s recent COVID-19 restrictions. The measures closed exercise centers like gymnasiums and parks. But she discovered surfskating on social media and decided to give it a try.
She learned by going to a lesson near Beijing’s famous Water Cube Pool stadium in May. At that time, the classes had about 12 people. Now nearly 100 come every week to learn from the teacher, a professional dancer named Duo Lan.
Zhao even brings her husband and son.
She said skateboarding “had a positive effect” on her life. She said she’s lost weight and doesn’t feel as bad about how COVID restrictions could affect her child’s education.
Zhao said she feels good about herself now and feels better spending more time away from home. She even changed her hair color. It is now lighter than its natural color.
She said sport helped her feel comfortable being herself.
Sometimes, when she feels worried, she even uses the skateboard inside her house.
The surfskate has also caught the eye in part because of the “buzz“Snow sports, such as snowboarding, made their debut at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year. Many people say that the surfskate resembles the snowboard. But skaters can make slow, wide turns without having to worry about hills or snow.
“You feel so free”
Chen Yanni, 29, is another woman who tried surfskating this year and feels calmer.
“You feel so free,” she said.
Yanni also discovered the sport on social networks.
She said that even though she is approaching her thirties, the sport makes her feel young. “I love that feeling,” she said. “It’s like being a teenager again.”
A Chinese search engine said the number of people searching for the term “land surfboard” increased 50 times in June from a year earlier.
JD.com is an online retailer based in Beijing. He said surfskateboard sales were up 80% in June compared to the same month in 2021.
Burning Ice is a skateboard store with five stores in Beijing. A store supervisor, who did not want his name used, said stores had seen a 300% increase in sales this year compared to the previous year.
Skateboards and surfskateboards cost between $60 and $600. They represent 50% of the increase in sales. And women are the buyers 70% of the time.
Some women have said they started skating when they found out they couldn’t travel because of COVD-19. Yoyo, 34, works in commerce but enjoys diving and surfing when she goes to the beach.
She said skating made her feel “like I’ve gone back to the beach.”
And she added, “It’s hot in the summer but I have the wind in my hair and I feel free.”
I am Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learn English based on a Reuters report.
words in this story
shut in – v. (phrase) to keep (a person or an animal) inside a building or in a small space especially for a long time
stadium – nm a very tall, usually roofless building that has a large open space surrounded by plenty of seating and is used for sporting or musical events
lesson -not. an activity you do to learn something
comfortable – adj. a feeling of carefree and physical ease
buzz – nm (informal) the things that are said about something in particular by the public or people in general
What do you think of this story? We want to hear from you.
We have a new comment system. Here’s how it works:
Write your comment in the box.
Below the box, you can see four images for social media accounts. They are for Disqus, Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Click on an image and a box appears. Enter your social media account ID. Or you can create one on the Disqus system. It’s the blue circle with “D” on it. It’s free.
Every time you come back to comment on the Learning English site, you can use your account and see your comments and replies. Our feedback policy is here.