To Atita, skateboarding is a metaphor for life, where you have to get up every time you fall down.
To Atita, skateboarding is a metaphor for life, where you have to get up every time you fall down
After its debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, skateboarding is making its way to India
The iconic song by Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi - was the start of the whole decade's aesthetic. From the shoes to the baggy clothes, we all have a predisposed idea of skateboarding -
But there's more to it than just a song and fashion. Like any other sport, it's a medium of expression and a sport built and run by its community.
India has never been a big name in the skateboarding world - until - Atita Verghese decided otherwise. As the founder of Girl Skate India and the first Indian Female Pro-skateboarder, making waves is a part of her daily routine
Having borrowed a skateboard from her friend, Abhishek, for the first time - she went on to work with him at the company where he was a co-founder - HolyStoked Collective (https://www.holystoked.com/).
As a quick learner - Atita picked up on the basics really quick, however, because she didn’t own a skateboard of her own, she would have to wait for other skaters to finish up so she could borrow theirs - until in 2013, Abhishek gifted her a skateboard. From then on the real gears started spinning.
She always felt that there was something missing from her education - to her Skateboarding was quite literally a new beginning. Using the skatepark built by Holystoked Collective, she started teaching underprivileged children skateboarding along with English and Maths. To Atita, skateboarding is a metaphor for life, where you have to get up every time you fall down.
In 2014, while working on establishing a skate park in Kovalam, Kerala; she was joined by Louisa Menke and Lisa Jacob. Her idea was to create a skate park along with Sebastian Indian Social Projects (SISP) and use skateboarding to get underprivileged children back into classrooms.
And in 2015, Girl Skate India came into existence. With 12 women from 9 countries touring Kovalam, Bangalore, Goa and Hampi - they were bound to make some noise. These women went across 4 cities conducting skate workshops, and skate yoga lessons and also built ramps so people could continue to pursue the sport.
Atita does admit that there are selfish aspects to her actions. She was the only female skater at her childhood skatepark, and she wanted more women to join her, get a little girl-power onto the rink.
With skateboarding, the idea itself is so new to India, that there is no space for a bias to form against it if it is introduced properly. Atita’s effort to slowly bring skateboarding as a sport (and not as a time pass activity) plays a huge part in such an introduction.
Along with Atita, many other influences have sought to bring skateboarding to India. With the release of Skate girl, based on the life of Asha Gond and the Janwaar Castle Skatepark - skateboarding has come to the forefront of Indian street culture. It has a growing community around it. Although Skateboarding was introduced by foreigners, India is taking skateboarding and adding its own flavour to it.