Female Skateboarding – where are we at now

It’s been a while since our initial girls 5 year strategy, and a lot has changed, improved and is happening right now. Our role is to plan for the future, and what it looks like, to generate as much opportunity as possible to provide careers and pathways for skateboarders. Below is some valuable information on Female Skateboarding, part of our plan, and some past data to help people understand whats going on right now.

Grassroots and beginner development
This is not an area of concern, and is actually flourishing. Female participation at entry level is high, more female coaches are on the ground, and some female only programs are happening to bring in new numbers.

The Future Pathways
Our goal is to bring in a quality broadcast top level league across mens and womens in Australia. Building up to this will help grow the prize money, build the profile of our top females, and provide more jobs and opportunities. This will also inspire new girls coming in by creating idols.

Challenges
Broadcast creates a new set of challenges, as this level, and funding increase for competitors, is also dependent on ratings. The easiest way to have good ratings is to make sure the top skateboarders are at the highest level. Maintaining the grassroots and junior divisions therefore becomes vital to new talent coming through, and we want our competitions to push people to be the best they can be, while enjoying themselves.

New Junior divisions
There was so much input from female parents wanting separate divisions in juniors, that we are trialling this again for a second time for 2022 & 2023. I think clarity was also needed, there has also never been male divisions in juniors.
There has always been Mixed and previous data shows us the females who skateboarded in mixed divisions as a junior have developed further, but also have more resources and peers to skate with, assisting them ongoing from being connected to a larger community.

We have never been a fan of segregation, whether is be by sex, race, gender, but are welcome to trial having junior female divisions. This will continue and not change for the entire 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Other sports such as Rugby League, (which is a contact sport, has a growing womens nrl, and growing participation) has continued to keep juniors mixed and seen mass growth across the womens sector.

The minor changes that will have effects on all junior divisions will be:
1. Prizes for juniors are now halved what they were, as the amount of divisions has doubled.
2. Events will be longer, as each division needs practice and warmup, but it may not result in more time on the park.
3. Smaller pools in divisions will lead to more straight finals, and less competition time.

Vulnerabilities
Breaking down the divisions, like all things, creates pros and cons. Funding for most events, is based on a formula of how many competitors to cost invested. This creates a value on a competitor that fundinding and investment can measure, to work on how the continually support skateboarding.

eg, If a 15 and Under Mixed brings 20 people from a $600 budget, the cost to bring each competitor is $30.
Now in a split Scenario, across a 15 & under Male and female, it would be $300 per division. if 13 competitors are male, it costs $27 to bring each competitor. If the 15 & Under females was 7 skateboarders, it costs $42.75 to bring each competitor.
What this new scenario runs the risk of, is divisions with higher performance having more funding, and possibly not having low performance divisions not being funded.
When everything was mixed, it shared the performance across everyone, and made it much simpler.

Moving forward
Our goal, is to develop womens skateboarding, and this is not a quick bandaid approach, but an entire long term career approach. This includes:
a) Increased participation
b) developing the best talent
c) providing a high level opportunity for adult women to have careers.

For the next generation of leading women coming now, we have a 2 season period to work on strong development, and for parents with daughters, our recommendation would be:
1. Give them time to develop in the juniors, let them learn and develop at a steady pace, while also giving the elite girls and Adult women their own space,and a space for the junior girls to aim towards.
2. Participation is key, Strong numbers = continued growth, sustainable funding and a brighter future.

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