India’s First Female Pro-Skateboarder Has Big Plans For the Future of Female Skaters
Atita Verghese went to the park with some friends from who happened to knew about the opening of the first public skate park in her city of Bangalore, India. That’s how the whole thing started.
“It was so much fun,” Verhese tells InStyle.com. “Kind of took off a lot of burdens I was carrying at the time and gave me this new amazing world. When you skate you don't really think of anything else. It was just bliss learning new things about yourself and the world outside of you. Skateboarding had no rules and regulations, no pressures to perform…It’s just you and your board and if you want to grow you have to put it in regardless of anyone else."
When she started skating, she was the only girl who consistently went to the park. But the fact that Atita was a girl, never really factored into her interest in the sport.
“I’ve never really felt like it meant anything different to me as a female,” she says. "But I think it’s a huge way forward just looking up one generation to how my mother was raised. She’s from a small town outside of Bangalore – the city I grew up in. She didn’t get treated the same as her brothers. She got savings as her gifts and the boys got bicycles and toys that really improve the quality of life. She was married off young and basically treated as a responsibility. It’s crazy to think all this was my mothers’ reality and mine, on the other hand, is not quite close. Just one generation away and a few more kilometers outside the city limits."
As her interest in the sport grew, so too did her interest in bringing it to other girls, leading her to launch Girl Skate India: "I just wanted more girls to skate. After a while of being in the scene I realized that there were new people starting to skate all the time but most of these people were dudes. I found it strange that there were girls starting but not sticking to it. And then there were my own feelings of wanting a crew to skate and hang out with. I wanted more girls to be a part of this amazing time: the beginning of a skateboard culture in India."
It’s no surprise that Vans instantly took notice of Verghese.
"I was the first person to be on the Vans India team and it shocked me more than anyone. I don’t think in the history of skateboarding any company has put a chick in as their first team rider. I take it as a sign of the change that is coming"
Today skate brand (and all around street style favorite) Vans kicks off the next chapter of their global campaign, This Is Off The Wall, with “Girls Skate India,” in a short film featuring Vans athletes Lizzie Armanto and Verges.
The Vans road doesn’t end with "Girls Skate India". The brand will continue to inspire girls globally by hosting a series of female skate clinics to help create awareness and participation in an otherwise male-dominated industry. Beginning March 8th, International Women’s Day, these clinics will be coming to cities across the globe, from Brooklyn to Bangalore and beyond.
Check out the video below and event list here.
VIDEO: Atita Verghese & Lizzie Armanto- Power Of Girls Skateboarding In India