COTM – Your Cool Aunt Skatie

Dear Aunt Skatie,

Thanks so much for the socks you sent us for our 18th birthday.  We can’t wait to wear them when we skate at your big party on August 20th from 6-10pm at USC’s surf house 1207 W 29th Street. We’ve skated a few miniramps in our day but never while listening to a Tony Hawk cover band.  

Everyone needs a cool auntie like you!

Love,

BIGGS

I had never seen so many women and queer skaters in one place! Soon I realized how much I wanted this environment in my daily life. The moment I went back to USC for my sophomore year, I created Aunt Skatie.

FOUNDER MAGGIE BOWEN

Crew name: Aunt Skatie

 

City or region? Los Angeles, CA (traveling to Spain in the fall.)

 

What do you do? Aunt Skatie is an inclusive skate club in the USC and greater Los Angeles area. We host monthly meetups, skate clinics for beginners, host parties, and highlight women and LGBTQ+ artists and musicians.

 

How did you start? 

Aunt Skatie had its first meetup in October of 2019. I started Aunt Skatie when I had just begun skating. When I first started, I skated with a guy friend in my dorm, but soon realized I was seen as little more than a filmer to him and didn’t find the instructional or friendly support I needed.

 

I moved to Chicago for the summer and felt even more isolated. At the time, I was teaching Girls Who Code’s summer program for high schoolers. The influence of this feminist-inspired classroom convinced me that female-led learning environments can influence male-dominated spaces to be more inclusive. This notion was cemented in me the moment I met Katie Korneta. I was skating alone at Chicago’s Grant Skate Park and latched onto her as soon as I saw her. She mirrored my enthusiasm and invited me to a skate competition for women and LGBTQ+ skaters she was running. At first I felt unsure about attending, but with urging from her and others, I decided to go. I’m not sure I would have continued to skateboard without this lifeline. 

 

At the event I was overwhelmed with how friendly and open everyone was, not to mention how strange it was being, for the first time, in the MAJORITY of skaters at the park. I had never seen so many women and queer skaters in one place! Soon I realized how much I wanted this environment in my daily life. The moment I went back to USC for my sophomore year, I created Aunt Skatie. 

 

I leaned on my Chicago network to help me start the group and set up our first meetup. I even took Katie’s name as inspiration for the name of my group: Aunt Skatie (although I also credit my super rad Aunt Katie for her influence on the name as well). It started really small, but has grown so much since then and it has allowed me to meet so many people within skateboarding which has led to friendships, mentorships, and even job opportunities. It has made me a long term skateboarder when I was on the verge of quitting. Now, I’m in the community for the long haul and hope to keep running meetups wherever I go next.

 

Where do you meet? We meet in LA at a variety of local parks from El Sereno to Monitor and even further out parks like Pedlow.

 

Can you share a story or favorite moment from a meetup?  

I remember one time when we were having a small meetup at South Pas and we spotted this little girl learning to skate. She kind of sheepishly approached us. She never actually said anything, but I could tell she wanted to hang with us. I told her that one of my friends was a beginner too so she wouldn’t feel out of place. Suddenly she warmed right up and couldn’t stop talking! I demonstrated dropping in on a bank and lined up her and my beginner friend to both try it. It was so gratifying to see them both get the drop in at the end of the day! 

I hope she felt less alone and intimidated by the end of our sesh. I even convinced her and some of my friends to conga-line around the park. We had a blast!   Another time, a little girl sheepishly watched us from outside the gate around Monitor. I waved to her and she kind of tried to hide, but eventually came inside the park. She just kind of stood there waiting for an invitation so I offered to let her try my spare board. She was ecstatic and her face lit up immediately. I taught her how to bend her knees correctly to go up and down banks and then held her hands and we went down one bank and up another. She was so stoked! To this day I can’t recall someone more stoked to try out skateboarding.  Even though our group serves adults, I’ll never say no to showing kids a trick here or there. It’s so awesome to see little girls inspired by our group and finding an alternative to the team sports they offer in school.

 

How can people get involved/support you?  

DM us on Instagram! I’m always looking for volunteers and partnerships. I’m about to host an event on August 20th and would love to have volunteerd. Volunteers get free admission!

 

What else do you want people to know? 

I’m in the process of moving to Spain. I’ll only be there for a year and want to host meet ups. I’ll most likely be living in Madrid and traveling a lot. DM @auntskatie if you want to meet up for a Spain sesh.

 

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/auntskatie/

This map was created to make it easier for non-trad skaters to find people to skate with and places to roll. every month Maya Haptas asks a few questions to one of the meet up crews featured. Let's skate together!