The sun was powerful even through the layer of clouds above the El Sereno park in East LA where a few tennis courts with faded paint and wide cracks became a space designated for safe, judgement-free learning. Mixtures of bright blues, striped and crooked griptape, bleached pinks and deep dark reds… the palette of expression was proud freedom at this Briana King organized meetup.
At least fifty girls practice flat ground tricks, charge at kicker ramps, and offer steady hands to keep from slamming on first ollies. At first look every interaction seems familiar, yet many came to this meetup alone without knowing anyone. This is exactly why Briana King started Display Only — to offer a simple yet powerfully helpful experience for girls to drop self-consciousness and just enjoy skating together.
Briana explains that when she was a young girl she was sheltered socially and discouraged from having meaningful relationships. It wasn’t until she was living on her own in New York that true friends came into her life, all intertwined with skateboarding. Today initializing these meetups is a way to continue the support and encouragement she received from new friends.
Seeing Briana bouncing around from person to person, jumping on whoever’s board is nearest to give impromptu lessons to girls she’s never met, it’s clear that this is massively special to her. The electric energy traded back and forth is everything. A handful of Briana’s friends offer lessons and talk through tricks with anyone seeking help — soon this is merely everyone helping everyone.
With these meetups open to girls and queer skaters of all ages and skill levels, years from now an entire generation of skateboarders will have a completely new narrative than that of many male skaters — where hazing and cold shoulder cool guying are still way too acceptable. Seeing the confidence and excitement growing in everyone skating at this session, it’s clear to see there’s a more powerful way to be. Supportive organizations and groups like this are creating a whole new way for people to start skateboarding.