Skateboarding is getting popular on P.E.I. — especially among women and girls.
The increase can be seen at the Charlottetown Skate Park.
In past years, up to 10 people would be out on a nice evening, but now there are typically 15-30 people at the park when the weather suits, says Jenna Greeley, co-owner of Town City, a skateboarding shop in the city.
"I think COVID helps," said Greeley. "A lot of team sports couldn't be played so people are trying to look for something to do by themselves, or at a distance from one another."
Skateboarding is also in the Olympics this year and that's likely added to increased popularity, she said.
"We saw a lot of people get their first board," she said. Many have been girls, one as young as 10.
Greeley is excited to see more women and girls getting into skateboarding.
"It's awesome," she said. "I know it is intimidating to a lot of women. So it's nice to have kind of a small community that can come together and do it together and support each other."
Town City is selling a lot of boards that are ready to go so beginners can get started right away.
"I think people are just coming in and wanting to learn more about skateboarding," Greeley said. "They want to get into it. They don't know where to start. So we're happy to kind of lead them in the right direction."
A skate club for girls has also formed in Charlottetown, Greeley said.
Eighteen-year-old Ella Boyes has only taken up skateboarding in a serious way for the last year, but just over a month ago she started Girls Skate Club.
She said it is "an all-inclusive group" for anyone who is a girl or identifies as a girl.
"I know one of the problems when I first started skating was I didn't quite feel comfortable with, like, a million other people at the skate park. It seems scary the first couple of times you go, but if you have a group, everything seems a little bit less scary."
Twenty girls came to the first meeting. It has dropped to about 10 in recent weeks. Boyes is hoping the club grows a bit more.
"I would like to see every girl on the Island come out and skate," she said.
"There is usually a lot of beginners that come in wanting to learn. That's maybe our first demographic. We usually just practise going down ramps and just getting comfortable on our boards."
Boyes said there has been a lot of local support for the group as well.
Town City has donated three complete boards to the group for people who might want to try skateboarding but don't have a board.
The group meets at the skate park in Charlottetown on Monday starting at 5 p.m.
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