Concrete Party Waves in Ireland

Concrete Party Waves in Ireland

“I just find it fun, I don’t have a good answer to that.”

Au contraire, we think it the best answer of all. The short film below, presented by Nike SB, is an ode to the spirit of the party wave – a predominantly concrete party wave, in this case, rolling through the streets of Belfast and ridden with aplomb. It is an ode to doing things for no other reason than because they make us feel good, and also a lesson in the art of mutual hype.

Meet Katie, Jess, Grace and Claudia, four Irish shredders who have mastered that very underrated art. We caught up with them recently to get the lowdown on the women’s skate scene in Ireland, and to ask what motivates and inspires them to get out there and go skating.

Katie: @xkatieellis
Hometown: Belfast

When did you start skating? I started skating in summer of 2016 at 22 years old! I always wanted to skate but never had the confidence to do so. I felt like an idiot at the start with all these kids half my age being far better than me but I realised everyone is a beginner at some point and that encouraged me to keep going! I broke my ankle really badly in November 2019 and was out for 5 months as I had to have surgery etc. I’m still healing and can get sore some days if I skate too much but I’m just happy to be back doing the thing I love!

Favourite place to skate: I went to Leeds in the summer and it was so much fun, some great skateparks and street spots there!

Favourite trick to do: Fakie frontside shuvits are my go-to and the trick I find easiest but the most rewarding is fakie varial kickflips!

Most frustrating trick: I just learnt how to fakie treflip on the bank and it took some frustrating attempts to get there but worth it in the end, now the frustration will be to get it consistently!

The trick you wish you could do: Right now the trick I wish I could do is a varial heelflip but I’ve been making some attempts this week and it’s starting to make some sense haha now I just have to commit!

Favourite skater: My favourite skater is Alexis Sablone, she’s been killing it for YEARS and is a massive inspiration. Her style is everything!

Favourite shoe: I love the Nike SB Blazer mids! having had an ankle injury means you need that extra support so mid-top or high top shoes are a saviour!

Best advice for a young skater? My advice would be to have fun and find a group of people you enjoy skating with! It makes all the difference in having fun with your friends! I would also say that you have plenty of time to progress so don’t get down on yourself if you can’t land that trick yet!

One thing you wish you could change about skating? I guess I just wanna see some more kindness and encouragement within the skating community. It’s great having your mates to cheer you on but outside of that it really can be quite toxic. The comments you see on the berrics Instagram page when they post people who aren’t men can be really nasty and discouraging, some people feel like they can gatekeep skating but we’re all just a bunch of eejits who love rolling about on a plank of wood and it’s about having fun at the end of the day. 

Grace: @hihihihahhh
Hometown: Belfast, Ireland

When did you start skating: I started skating in 2018 for 2 months or so then just stopped. I wish I kept going then but I started properly skating in September 2019 when I moved to Spain for 3 months with my boyfriend. Learning how to skate in sunny Malaga was the funniest time I’ve ever had! 

Favourite place to skate: The monkeybird DIY park at the old driving range in Newforge Lane. That’s where I really got down most of my tricks during spring this year. 

Favourite trick: Front side rock and roll on a quarter for sure! It just feels so good and it’s one of my really consistent tricks. No comply shuvs are also a personal fav.

Most frustrating trick: No comply 360 off a manny pad. I’ve landed it a couple times but never consistently enough to get filmed:-( soon tho!

The trick you wish you could do:  I wish I could do disasters in the bowl so badly, they’re definitely my next trick I’m going to start working on when it’s not raining. 

Favourite skater: Maité Steenhoudt. Steeziest skater about! 

What’s the best thing about being a female skater in Ireland? And the worst? Feeling like you have to constantly prove you’re not a poser because that’s how some boys make you feel regardless if they’re trying to or not. Even for this opportunity, I’ve had to explain how I got it to some boys as it feels like they’re just annoyed at you because they haven’t got any opportunities when they feel like they’re the better skater. Skating is my main source of happiness and fun, that’s all it is to me and when I progress it’s just an added bonus 🙂

One thing you wish you could change about skating? We need more skateparks made that have been consulted with and designed by actual skaters! We only have one main outdoor skatepark in Belfast and it’s not even properly sheltered when it rains 2/3 of the year. Really frustrating when all you want to do is skate. 

Jess: @jess__byrne
Hometown: Coolock, Dublin

When did you start skating? I started skating in 2010 when I was 8 years old.

Favourite place to skate: My favourite place to skate is street skating in the city centre.

Favourite trick to do: My favourite trick to do is fakie bigflips.

Most frustrating trick: The most frustrating trick for me personally is Heelflips.

The trick you wish you could do: I wish I could Hardflips.

Favourite skater: I think my favourite skater is Leo Baker because he’s a good influence on LGBTQ+ skaters.

Favourite shoe: My favourite shoe right now is the Nike SB Nyjah Free 2.

Best advice for a young skater? My advice to young skaters is to be patient, progress happens at different speeds for each individual and it can be a little discouraging when your peers are progressing faster than you. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of young skaters give up skating because they were not learning as fast as they had hoped to.

What’s the best thing about being a female skater in Ireland? The best thing about being a female skater in Ireland is not the fact we are female but is the community we have around us and how other skaters can encourage us to get better and basically just have fun while also learning.

And the worst? Skateboarding is a male-dominated sport, so it can intimidating for girls to start skating, I also feel like that girls are not taken as seriously as male skaters because there’s a weird stigma around female skateboarding where people think that girls are just in it for the aesthetic side of skateboarding, I know some girls that are quite anxious to skate in the park when people are there and it’s upsetting to see so I try to reach out and help them any way I can to make them feel more comfortable.

One thing you wish you could change about skating? I’ve always seen skaters preach about how the skate community has no judgement towards what race, gender, sexual orientation, class etc you are but that’s not entirely true, sometimes the skate community can be really toxic and off-putting and I wish we could change that but no matter what, everyone has their own views and opinions,  I do wish skaters would stop preaching about how accepting the skate community is and start talking about the issues that are within it.

Claudia: @claudiaballard_
Hometown: Belfast 

When did you start skating? I started staking at 14, so over 4 years ago now.

Favourite place to skate: My local skatepark ‘Bridges’ 

Favourite trick to do: frontside 180s, there just so satisfying

Most frustrating trick: backside 180s… 

The trick you wish you could do: no complys, I just don’t understand them 

Favourite skater: Eunice Chang, her style is just so sick and honestly, I just want to be her friend

Best advice for a young skater? Just get out there and give it a shot, it’s not easy but it’s the best fun you’ll ever have, I promise

What’s the best thing about being a female skater in Ireland? I love seeing the girl skate scene progress, it’s so cool to be able to see girls get more confident in the park. 

And the worst? Sexism! Please don’t call me “darling”…

One thing you wish you could change about skating? I really wish there was less judgement in the skate community, I don’t want people to be scared of coming into the park in case they get stared out. 

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