Growing up as a girl child in rural India can be somewhat oppresive and suffocating. Many girls are taken out of school by the time they reach puberty in order to prepare for married life in the home. At one time the Kovalam Surf Club had a girls surfing alongside the boys. However once the girls matured then all wave-riding activities had to stop because it was unbecoming of a woman to be playing in the sea especially with local and tourist men alike watching.

The Kovalam Surf Club recently teamed up with HolyStoked Collective from Bangalore to build an upcycled mini skatepark on the top of the SISP community centre’s free second chance education school. HolyStoked is the pioneering team of Indian skateboarders who started a collective for skateboarders in 2011. The collective was formed to find solutions to common problems associated with any new sport. These included questions like; where to find quality skateboarding equipment, where to skateboard, where to learn skateboarding and how to make skateboarding more accessable to the general youth. To answer these questions the collective was born. The HolyStoked collective now conducts skateboarding workshops, skateboarding events, provides skateboarding equipment, skateboard coaching and also builds skate ramps and skateparks.

HolyStoked and India’s first female skater, Atita Verghese, along with two European professional female skaters, Louisa Menke and Lisa Jacob teamed up to facilitated a workshop for the girls at SISP. This was important because SISP is a safe space for the girls and here on the roof top skatepark without their boy peers around, the girls could play freely and try something completely foreign to them! The girls are small but they are mighty in their resiliency and determination. Now at SISP the girls will have practice once a week during the afternoon to keep the stoke alive!

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