And We're Rolling

Semi-professional skateboarder Bridget Williams is smashing down barriers and looking to drive change in what has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. The 15-year-old is set to travel through Australia to film a documentary where he hopes she can share her skateboarding journey so far and inspire girls to pick up a skateboard and try something new along the way. Learn a bit more about Bridget below.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Bridget. I’m 15 and come from Melbourne, Australia. I learnt to skateboard on a penny board on an overseas trip when I was 4 years old. I was a child actress, so I travelled a lot for different roles around the world and often had to go on public transport. I preferred to roll everywhere rather than walk. On my 9th birthday, I spent my birthday money on a real skateboard and decided I wanted to be a professional skateboarder like Tony Hawke, and skateboard around the world.

Tell us about the trip you have planned

Later this year I’m travelling through the middle of Australia to film a doco about my skate journey and design my first skateboard series. I want my series to reflect my journey and be something really special and memorable, while I explore the Northern Territory. I’d love to meet other female skateboarders and maybe encourage some to pick up a board and have a go.

I want to go and explore my own back yard here in Australia and get other girls here skating. I’d love to see more funding put into girl’s skate lessons because I think it’s really important for girls to have a sport like skateboarding to show them how capable they are, and a strong female mentor that understands they have different needs to boys. Guy coaches are great but don’t always understand what girls need as a female mentor does.

Why are you filming a documentary on skateboarding?

I’m filming a doco to celebrate my own skate journey as a personal project for myself. If that inspires other girls to get out and try skateboarding too, that would be awesome. When I get back home, I’ll be getting some new skateboards designed – then I want to travel around Australia again, and give my boards away to girls that can’t afford them, like me when I started.

I combined my love of acting with skating and have been lucky enough to land some amazing skateboarding jobs, for bands like Spiderbait and some other cool roles. You never know where you might see my face pop up on a skateboard! I’m using what I’ve earnt to fund my own skateboard project so other girls can start skateboarding too and enjoy it like I do.

How important is diversity in skateboarding? 

There aren’t a lot of resources for female skaters in Australia. The sport is starting to take off but needs more noise and funding… and also the versatility to expand the network of who controls and governs decisions made around skateboarding here in Australia. Not everyone is getting a voice and being heard.

It’s a very narrow sport here still.

A lot of girls here are taking off oversees, mainly the U.S, to get sponsors and the right training and facilities. I’ve lost that buzz - I had a big accident in 2020 while self-training which put me on life support. I have a permanent brain injury now.

At the moment, there are a few girls paying crazy amounts of money to travel and be coached, all chasing the same dream. There has been a change in the culture of skateboarding since it became an Olympic sport. That is massively unachievable for the majority of kids here unless they have parents that are willing to fork out lots of money for it. It shouldn’t be like that - every girl should be able to try a sport if they like it and think they might be good at it.

I’d like skateboarding to be accessible for any girl that wants to learn, not just the kids who can afford it or know the right contacts to get sponsored. I’d like all girls to be able to access safe equipment, facilities and coaching so there are less accidents. I’d also like to see more female skateboarders promoting helmet safety.

When I was younger there was a lot of videos and images of well-known female skaters not wearing helmets, being pushed as glamorous role models. That influenced me heaps, and it’s dangerous. Wear a lid.

What would you tell a young girl who is hesitant/scared to try skateboarding for the first time?

I would tell any girl that is hesitant or wants to start skating to:

  • Get the right safety equipment and you can’t go too wrong.
  • Make small achievable goals to progress and don’t give up.
  • Get out there and don’t be afraid to use the park. Most skaters are pretty supportive and friendly.
  • Don’t get caught up in the competitive side - there is way more to skating than competitions!
  • If others are being territorial in the skate park, use your voice. If they don’t hear you, use your community to help you be louder.

Wednesday 31 August, 2022

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