Article and Video by Andrew Metzger (@gnarhammered)
Additional filming by Dan Callahan (@filmerd) and Dave Mauvais (@floralshirtguy).
Photos by Los Estrada (@los4vws) and Zoli Bodi (@zolidelphia).
“I had been pushing this idea last Sober vs Wasted to get a lady’s division going. Ryps and I came to the conclusion that we should just do our own event. She came up with the name ‘Spring Fling’ as we knew it was going to be in the spring. Looking back I’m not sure that was the correct name to call the event, in my mind it evolved into ‘FDR Ladies First’, which ended up on the tees. To me, it represented the ladies’ first skateboard contest and another meaning of asking men to let the ‘ladies be first’ for the day.
I’m not sure that Ryps knew what she had signed up for, as me and Lauren had done an event two years before at the park that was geared for ladies but there wasn’t a contest. We had live music, art vendors, and I made a collaborative painting. We also had Nancy and Steph who were doing “Boarding School” there working with the ladies.
So it was on. I have been working on ShredHer and I wanted to have art involved. We had raised money from our last meet up for concrete through the artists vending. I thought it would be sick to have a lump of cash to award the winner just like Sober vs Wasted. Ryps had already started reaching out to sponsors, and so did I once we set a date. I also began reaching out to female skate artists, local companies, and punk rock artists within the community of FDR
Lauren lined up nine bands and handled the sound with the help of her crew (shout out to Ricky Jr). She had been helping with events and sound at the park for a while now. She has been raging at the park and playing in her band for years. We have always just barged the men’s events. She built the sickest bar called the ‘Gnar Bar’ on site and decorated it with her artwork. Alyssa created the flyer and with social media it wasn’t hard to spread the word about the event. Ladies from Washington, Wisconsin, California, South Carolina, Baltimore, and more came to the event.
It was an epic collaboration among us ladies to get this event going. We lined up the most amazing, strong women to be judges. The scene of ladies who skate in Philadelphia has grown so much over the past 15 years, it’s insane, especially in the last five years. So the community of ladies who were ready for the contest was already set. I am just super grateful that we have such an epic park and for all those that help out building the park. It was a really beautiful moment seeing women come together and have fucking fun skating and showcasing their art and musical talent as well. For me, there is so much more to skating than just skating. I envision more workshops going down to empower women in the future to be more embedded in the culture behind it all. Teaching each other not only how to skate, but to build and make rad shit a reality.”
– Gloria (@shredher.llc)
“I was super stoked to see so many weird and wild humans thriving and striving.”
– Lauren (@lalalandartwork)
“FDR baby! The perfect collaboration of freedom, chaos, and shredding. Shout out to all the lady rippers out there, keep laying down the tricks. FDR’s first ever chick contest goes down in my books as fun as all fuck!! Yew”
– Ryps (@nicoryper)
“All the years I’ve been going to FDR, there was no way I was gonna miss an art and skate contest here, especially not our first! So I planned a trip back home to NJ from Cali just to be there! My face hurt Saturday from smiling so much! It was amazing how many people came out! So much energy and excitement I could barely breathe sometimes! Thank you to everyone that was a part of creating this event and fuck yeah to all the ladies that showed up and shredded!! So stoked to watch it all go down and even got to share my art with everyone! I love our skate community at FDR! This was indeed another one for the books!
– Dana (@danamartino24)
Skating in the contest was an amazing and exhilarating experience. I felt like I belonged there. All the girls were so electrified as well as the crowd. I was the last woman to enter due to my apprehensiveness but I am so stoked I did. As soon as I started skating my worries and anxiety left my body and I was just having fun on my board. The level of power women held that day was extraordinary and I loved every second of it.
– Rach (@bachrarnfield)
“The first FDR women’s contest was a sick experience. That was the first time I’ve ever seen that many women ripping FDR at once. It was really inspiring. Watching everyone gave me a bunch of new ideas to apply to my own skating. I was stoked. Being a vendor was awesome too. It was the first time in over a year that I was able to share my artwork in a public space so I’m really grateful for the opportunity. Shout out to everyone who signed up, and shout out to Caroline for fuckin’ winning!!”
– Jackie (@oldmcjawnald)
“Some of the best times I’ve ever had were days spent at the park. It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of an event not only the first of its kind at FDR — but to see the ladies who always put on for the park bring it into fruition. Ladies that I looked up to when I first started skating a decade ago and all the hype, fresh blood getting out there and doing the damn thing currently. To say that I had a blast would be an understatement. I’m still flying high off the vibes and the times and I can’t wait to skate with everyone again!”
– April (@aprilnowacki)
“FDR’s gnarly reputation is very well known! The First Annual Women’s Contest rocked and the ladies did not disappoint! I’m looking forward to shredding with these girls at the next comp.”
– Ashley (@ashleyroseexoxo)
“I think I felt what it’s like to be a guy skater or something close to that. To not be reamed out of a session… Not that I always get reamed out but I’m usually skating with guys much better than me and naturally they have every right to take hold of the session. This time there wasn’t as much fighting for runs and more encouragement to get after it. I felt what it’s like to have my energy matched with a session girls took a hold of. And its fucking awesome. Hope to experience more of that.”
– Allie (@alfrunk)
“Most epic day at FDR. Gxrls, art, positive energy to the highest degree. So proud of all my chix that shredded the contest. So stoked to see so many people come out to support the lady shredders and the artistas. It’s so important for the park to have a day to support womxn skaters. We been out here always, and it was so great to have a day to celebrate how badass we are. I love my gxrls so goddamn much. They inspire me every second. Can’t wait for next year.”
– Bridge (@tniappaint)
Such a great event bringing non-men to the front! Mad props to everyone who skated, vended, and showed up!”
– Peyton (@notpeytonbeard)
“Thank u so much 2 everyone who helped out!! <3 im so stoked to have skated in the first ladies contest at FDR with such gnarly ppl ^.^ everyone tore it up! xoxo”
– Harmony (@harmony_hunnie)
“It’s sick that back in 2014 at Drunk vs Sober it was only me and April and now we have 35 women signing up. That’s pretty fucking rad. Everyone skated so well and handled that shit.”
– Andrea (@ang_steezy47)
“I am so stoked and grateful that I got to shred in the 1st women and queer sk8 contest at fdr! Everyone absolutely ripped and it felt so magical to stoke each other up! I’m still riding high from getting to be a part of this epic moment in diy sk8 herstory :)”
– Leon (@queering_thought)
“Looking around FDR and seeing nothing but queens — and I mean only Queens — fired up, ripping in every direction, nearly running into each other, stoking each other up, and just straight going for it, reassures the female presence at DIYs (especially FDR) is well worth paying attention to. The energy is there. It’s authentic. It’s intense. And it’s literally never been done at FDR until Saturday, May 1st. It was a special day for the books.”
– Caroline (@cduerr__)