Local focus: Pāpāmoa becomes the surf skate mecca for women


“Seeing girls skateboarding – no matter what they skate – is just fantastic. “

With the popularity of skateboarding at an all time high, Bay women are turning to “surf skates” to improve their technique.

Unlike the skateboarding showcased at the Olympics, it’s not about ollies, kickflips, or green ramps, it’s about carving the local pumping track like you’re riding a wave.

“I’ve been surfing for about 30 years and it has become a natural progression,” said Shelly Jones, owner of Switch Stance, Surf and Skate at Pāpāmoa.

“When there is no surfing you are always looking for alternatives. I wish the surf skates were there when I started learning to surf, they just advance your surf in a way. drastic, ”she said.

“The freedom and ability you have to move around on a skateboard mimics and feels like pumping a surfboard.”

After selling a few boards online, Jones saw the demand and took the plunge by opening a surf skate store that catered to women.

“I like to offer female knowledge to other women who feel intimidated to go to a surf or skate shop where there are potentially young teens giving advice …”

The store has also partnered with local surf coach Joe Swaine to offer surf skate lessons for women of all ages and abilities.

“He gives a lot of skate lessons, he teaches for the grown-ups and we decided that we wanted to do a session for girls where the girls can skate and feel comfortable in the environment, without feeling like to be judged. We decided to have a trial one. and it was a huge success, “Jones said.

Swaine said, “A lot of these women come from the surfing world, they ride a foam board all the way to get the surfers to progress. They were women who wanted to spend more time with their kids but also improve and progress out of the water in any way possible. “

The courses have been a great success so far.

“Having a locally run female skate shop really made me feel welcome,” said Ai Sumihira from Pāpāmoa Beach.

“I have a longboard, a skateboard that I had when I first started surfing, but I was never brave enough to do it on my own,” said Michaela Blackman, a resident of Mount Maunganui. .

“It’s freedom … freedom to move and stay nimble and fit.”

To become a better surfer was the motivation of many women in the group.

“For my birthday my partner gave me a skateboard and I realized it was actually quite fun,” said Polly Arnold of Mount Maunganui.

“I find it less scary because the sea still scares me a little … it’s quite fierce. I feel like I can progress here and then I find it much easier when I go back into the sea . “

Helene Nihotte, also from Mount Maunganui, was looking for surf lessons online when she found Swaine’s lessons.

“He coached surfing and that’s why I contacted him originally, and then I saw that surf skating was becoming such a thing, and my roommate that I’m here with, she had a skate. surfing so I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do together. “

Sofie Aschwanden from Mount Maunganui said: “I wanted to improve myself in surfing and this seems like the best way to do it.”

Mount residents Lilly Hudson and Claire Vanderpoel also wanted to improve their surfing skills.

“Stopping and skateboarding seems like a good way to do it,” said Hudson.

“After doing the first workshop I immediately felt more confident on my surfboard so now I’m really into it,” said Vanderpoel.

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