Opinions continue to be pretty divided over whether or not there is a need or a purpose for women’s-only events. We definitely think there is and every event we host proves us right, time and time again.
The dynamics, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone really change within an all-female environment, especially in an action sport that for the most part continues to be heavily male-dominated. Quite hard to put into words really, seeing is believing!
Saying all that, things have definitely changed significantly since we all started out – so rad to see a steadily increasing number of women at the starting line!
Our main focus has always been the athletic and technical side of skating in all its shapes or forms and every camp demonstrates anew how much progress can be made within the space of a few days or a week when given the right tools and supportive framework around it.
People who have never stood on a board before leave with a massive grin after standing their first slide and the massive sense of achievement and boost of confidence that comes with it for many folks.
Zero f*cks given?
To all the ladies out there, hand on heart – would you go to a skatepark full of skaters busting out seemingly impossible tricks like it’s nobody’s business (and those pesky scooter kids!) on your own, especially as a complete newbie? Would you know where to even begin?
What’s the likelihood of you just not giving a shit and doing your thing regardless, as opposed to feeling intimidated by what’s going on around you, embarrassed by your self-defined lack of skills and worried about being judged and therefore most likely ending up quietly standing in the corner and thus involuntarily confirming a certain stereotype that I don’t think needs any further explanation as we’ve read about it to death already?
The same applies to longboarding (besides, we don’t discriminate – skating is skating no matter how long or short the wheelbase, how fast or slow you’re going or whatever – isn’t this variety the beauty of skating?) in terms of plucking up the courage to go to an event, especially if you’re new to it all.
One of my favourite memories to date certainly is several of our 2012 riders, the year of the first Women’s Longboard Camp (on the infamous Bear’s Guts / Vixen combo aka KnK nonetheless! Shoulda heard the screams in the rider shuttle the first time we went up!) signing up to both races and freerides the following year – radness right there!
The WLC spirit
So please let us make this clear – the Women’s Longboard Camp initiative is not about excluding guys, but about encouraging women to overcome their fears or inhibitions and equip them with the tools to gain the confidence to just do their thing and go for it – on and off the board.
Many girls who come to us find themselves at a turning point in life and are looking for a new impulse to give them the necessary boost to move into a new direction. And for some rad reason they choose skating as a catalyst and end up at WLC.
I think I can speak on behalf of all the crew when I say that the most rewarding aspect of this kind of event is to witness, time and time again, how people surpass their own expectations and achieve things they never thought they were capable of doing.
This confidence and sense of empowerment transpire into many other areas of their lives and the feedback we get time and time again is the biggest compliment and reward we can get.
To see how a group of women of all ages and from all walks of life, from allover the world, are being brought together by a mutual interest and create this awesome supportive community within the space of a few days – that’s just amazing.
Many new and lasting friendships are formed at each camp and the worldwide WLC family just keeps on growing. I quite like to think of us as the match that ignites that initial spark – there are now a number of awesome projects around the world, harnessing the power of skateboarding as a tool to bring people together without prejudice or agenda.
Our honorary crew member Sophie Friedel, who has done two voluntary stints at Skateistan Kabul, even wrote a book about it!
Behind the scenes
The repeatedly awesome vibe and lasting fond memories make all the hard work worthwhile and motivates us to keep us going and stay stoked despite the many hurdles we have to overcome each year in order to make this happen.
Trying to find the time aside from whatever it is you do to pay the bills. Countless email trails, Facebook chats and Skype calls – welcome to the 21st century and its many ways of remote communication.
Two of my personal highlights over the years definitely include our mobile office in a random betting shop somewhere near the Swiss border in 2013, and the 2015 WLC poolside HQ office in Flatspot Stuttgart’s backyard.
We have been very lucky in having such an awesome team throughout the years, as the saying goes only crew love is true love, add to that the fact that we love what we do, and therefore we do it together!
2016 schedule – what’s on?
It’s a very special year for us as 2016 marks our 5th anniversary. We’ve just wrapped up the first of three events to celebrate this special occasion. Keep your eyes peeled for the official video, brought to you by Root Skateboards!
Meanwhile, we are gearing up for the next camp, which will be another skateshop bonanza at Flatspot Stuttgart this June. Registration is now open, sign up here to come and join us for a long weekend of rad skating and general mayhem WLC style.
To complete the trifecta, we’re putting on a freeride camp in August in collaboration with the Woodwings crew. It’s gonna be amazing and we would love to have you there!