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Women who skateboard are rolling into skateparks more than ever before

Women who love skateboarding share stories in 2024

Adult women who skateboard are embracing this sport for a number of reasons. Some skated as kids but had no female role models or girlfriends to skate with. Others decided to give skateboarding a whirl when their own children expressed interest and they found themselves at skateparks or in their streets or driveways. 

Two adult women skateboarders

Melanie Bartlett and Marla Cimini at the FDR Skatepark in Philadelphia. Photo by Gary Fulk.

Women who skateboard in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, Melanie Bartlett stepped on a board for the first time about three years ago, at age 40 after her then-five-year-old daughter began taking lessons at Skate the Foundry, an indoor skate park in the city. She had been wanting to try skateboarding for many years and never had the opportunity. Melanie explained, “Over the span of a few weeks, as I saw my daughter learning, I was inspired. I learned that skateboarding could be broken down into steps that made it more accessible and less intimidating. Then I bought myself a skateboard, safety gear — and the rest is history. I love it and I’m empowered by each little skate goal I conquer.”  

As Melanie progressed, she fostered friendships with skaters of all levels and ages, whom she refers to as her “crew.” She plays an integral role in organizing meet-ups in parks around Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Her time spent at the skateparks has certainly paid off…not only does she have many new friends, but she’s also featured in the upcoming film, “Skate Femme” by Ryan Doherty and Anna Danielle Moore, scheduled to be released in 2021.


Melanie loves to cheer on other new skateboarders and has been instrumental in encouraging Skate the Foundry, a private indoor Philly skatepark, to introduce adult lessons over two years ago – a first in the city. Skate the Foundry owners (and husband and wife team) Brett Williams and Yui Matsuzaki soon discovered that most of the adult students who signed up for classes were female. 



Melanie Bartlett skateboarding in Philadelphia photo by Maggie Loesch


Learning to skateboard as an adult

Williams said, “I expected about eight people to show up for the first class. However, we had over 25 and it was an overwhelmingly positive response. We’ve found the adult women to be enthusiastic and serious about learning and practicing.” And now, over two years later, Skate the Foundry now offers intro and advanced adult beginner lessons, added a variety of outdoor classes, and has a loyal adult following. (Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Skate the Foundry has implemented strict safety precautions and ensure all of the students are wearing masks, keeping a safe distance from each other and of course, wearing safety gear). 

He continued, “We’ve added a lot of features and benefits to the classes — such as stretching, homework assignments and open practice times. Several adults also told me that they substitute our skate classes for going to the gym. We are thrilled with the excitement we are seeing.”

Skate the Foundry in Philadelphia, PA

Women’s skateboarding inspiration

Jean Rusen, in her early 50s, lives in Tempe, AZ and started ripping up the skate park at age 25. At the time, she remarked that she was considered by many to be “too old” to learn. Over the years, she improved, landed tricks, won contests, and now judges a few events each year. She’s part of a female skate crew, “Las Chicaz,” that hosts adult clinics with big turnouts.  

Older skaters, Jean says, are go-getters (both inside and outside of the half-pipe). “What surprised me about skateboarding is how motivated and helpful many of those ‘older’ skaters are. I skate with friends who started in their 40s, or returned to skating after years away. Many of these people have started skate-related charities, hosted skate events and created skate companies – all while still holding down full time jobs.”

Women who skateboard – practice makes perfect

Skateboarders of all ages who wish to meet up with others worldwide, join these Facebook groups: 


Women skateboarders: Yumiko and Kay in Los Angeles, CA




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