Danni is probably one of the most passionate and energising people I’ve ever met. Period. I discovered her community Girl Skate UK a while ago and have followed her ever since. The amount of dope vibes she’s throwing all the time around the UK and beyond is absolutely astonishing. We just fell in love. And knowing that 100% of the money she gets goes right back into the community makes us tremendously proud to work with her. You rock. k.
Hey Danni, thanks for doing this. So you are currently in Barcelona right? For 2 weeks?
Hey! Yeah I’ve been here for a couple weeks now, heading home to England soon – back to grey skies no doubt! I flew out here with my friend Kirsty to get started on a little filming project we have just started working on for Girl Skate UK. We have met up pretty much every day with another 12 of our mates from England, and have been hanging with all the Spanish girl skaters too.
First time in Barcelona by the way? How do you like the city?
This is actually my 8th or 9th visit to Barcelona, I first came for the sun back in 2008, and have kept coming back for the people! I’ve made so so many friends for life here and I really look forward to coming to see them all each summer. Barcelona is a total skate holiday cliche but visit here and once and you see why.
Where are you from actually? And where do you live now?
I’m from Kent in the South East of England, (it’s the small green space underneath London) I moved to Sheffield (200 miles North) around 4 years ago, I love it there. It’s so nice to live in the city but have a huge National Park just a 10 minute drive. Not being from a city, I find myself spending a lot of my down time in the Peak District. It’s peaceful.
When did you start skateboarding? How? Tell us everything.
I met some guys when I was 14 or 15 years old who used to skateboard and somehow or another we all became the best of friends. I would have a go on their boards and practise ollies on grass and dropping off curbs etc. I remember one time I heard a lad shout at me that girls shouldn’t skateboard and for some reason I just stopped trying. I’m super mad at my teenage self for not starting up something I was interested in because of a stupid passing comment. Anyway, I was given a setup for my 20th birthday and haven’t stopped since.
How was it as a girl? Were you the only one?
I was pretty much the only girl that skated in my university city at the time but I don’t think I found it any different to anyone else starting out as I had a bunch of rad friends helping me out. I moved back to Rochester and got a job at my local skatepark where I met a few other girl skaters that made me realise there were more out there. Then I met some of the Rogue girls and started attending events where I met a lot of the girls I still skate with today.
Do you agree that our culture has been mostly dominated by men so far? Do you see this changing? And is it changing fast enough according to you?
Of course it has, since the late 80’s resurgence anyway. The girls are creeping back in though, skateboarding isn’t such a boys club anymore. It’s changing at a pretty rapid pace I would say. I’ve been managing skate events for 7 years and the numbers get higher each and every year. It’s pretty crazy how many girls there are now and it’s tough keeping up with everyone!
I guess we should all do our part. What can people (females or males) do to accelerate the trend?
It can literally be as simple as saying hello when a girl enters a park on her own. You would be surprised how much that can help to boost confidence!
Sadly, a lot of women involved in skateboarding tend to be too often sexualized. What do you think about that?
Unfortunately the sexualisation of women is a socially rooted problem and much deeper than skateboarding, however old skate culture has played up to those ideals (Hookups for example). I just think it’s a pretty lazy marketing technique that’s a bit outdated now.
How do you feel about Leticia Bufoni’s nude ESPN photo shoot?
For myself personally, I haven’t got an issue with it and hold no grudge for her choice in the shoot. I do think it could’ve been done better from the mags side, but whatever. From a ‘Body Positive’ angle or not, whether it was a positive move for female athletes is to be debated.
What’s the mission of Girl Skate UK? Or your main objective?
The main objective is really just to connect girls and women around the UK, and the rest of the world through skateboarding and to show other females that they can do it too.
Are you alone working on this? Full time?
I do 80% of the workload myself but I’m super thankful for the help and support I get from friends and strangers. It is a full time job, I find myself working on projects until 4am some nights but a lot of it is made pretty simple with apps! Haha. My northern mate Kirsty helps me loads with the instagram and event planning. Any profit made from the web shop goes back towards the scene, the money is used to host jams and girls nights, travel to document events and more recently a new camera as an upgrade for our poor quality iPhone edits! Haha.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Time and just fitting everything in to 24 hours every day!
And the thing you’re the most proud of so far?
I think it’s helping to create a community which has then led to the creation of regular skate group meetings (Nefarious Crew, Essex Skater Girls etc). Everyone has a place to chat and meet online to share tricks and photos. It’s nice to see we have inspired other communities such as Girl Skate India and Girl Skate Ireland, it’s really rad seeing loads of new faces all of the time and being able to watch everyone progress. We receive loads of emails from girls all over the world telling us how much they love our blog and insta feed and how it has inspired them to start skating or take it up again. It’s the best.
What are the next steps? Your craziest dreams?
That would be telling! But I definitely want to keep putting out content and keep pushing for progression, participation and inclusion for females and non-gender types within skateboarding.
You recently shared a good article about skateboarding in the Olympic Games. What do you think and do you agree with the author when he says ‘it’ll be good for women’s recognition in particular’?
My opinion is that skateboarding doesn’t need the Olympics. It’s just the total opposite of that in the way of culture and ideals. That being said I can see the arguments raised for it growing the ‘sport’ but I just think we have to be careful which companies we as skateboarders choose to represent us. In terms of female recognition, there is no doubt the Olympics would highlight awareness of female skaters and could in turn help equal prize money in competitions around the world.
What are the biggest challenges a girl faces when she wants to start skateboarding?
The same as any beginner skateboarder learning really, just with added social pressures I guess. If you catch them early there isn’t really any of that, but as soon as girls hit 13-14yrs, participation reduces by 50% across all sports so learning how we can tackle that is an important one.
What would be your advice to girls who read this right now?
Get in touch if you need help to find a crew to skate with in your area, of would like info on girls nights to gain a bit of confidence before hitting the park solo. It’s really not that scary when you’re with the right people.
What’s your current skate setup?
7.8″ National Skateboard co. Deck, Descent 52mm wheels, some Venture lows that are in a dire condition – luckily I got some new trucks in the last Krakbox so I can pop those on when I get home!
Last skate video you watched? Favorite part of all time? Favorite pro? Trick? Spot?
Last skate video I watched was Jenna Selby’s ‘Days Like These‘ film. It is the second all female skate video from the UK ladies and a sequel to her ‘As If, And What‘ film from 2009. It features loads of girls from around the country and one of my favourite sections is Josie Millard’s, she’s a proper ripper – only just turned 18 and already being hooked up by Nike, she’s really sweet too. Favourite Pro has to be Lacey Baker… Or Lucy Adams 😉 Trick – Frontside Rocks! Favourite Spot is the beer banks in Barcelona.
How did you come up with the idea of the skateboard heart pin we just included in the box?
It’s an old graphic that’s been reworked loads of times in the past but I thought I would bring it back, making it simpler and a bit more cutesy.
What’s next? What do you plan for this summer? And for the rest of the year? How can people help?
The night after I get back from Barcelona I’m off to a Stone Roses gig in Manchester then on June 25th is our third annual Push The Prom event in Brighton, England for Go Skateboarding Day! We gather up over a hundred skateboarders to push the 3 mile Brighton promenade finishing with skate jams and competitions at a park on the other side. It’s super fun and usually great weather! All the event info is on both the Girl Skate UK Facebook and the blog. After that it’s the Unicorn Jam on July 16th in London, we are curating a week long photography exhibition of female skateboarders from around Europe so that’s gonna be really interesting!
And thennnn after that, I’ll be away for three weeks working at Camp WeSC on the border Wales – it’s a 5 day residential camp for skateboarders, we stay in cabins in the Forest Of Dean with private use of an indoor concrete skatepark, outdoor pizza oven and hot tubs as well as beautiful scenery. We travel around all the best skateparks with a couple of buses of kids in tow. It’s proper rad, check out @CampWeSCUK on Instagram or visit the website for more info!
Ok let’s wrap things up – any shout outs or thank you’s?
Shout outs to all the UK ladies, and special thanks to everyone who helps out… Especially Lucy, Kirsty, Shelley, Zeta and the crew. And obviously Mark, Penny & Luca. X
Thanks a lot again Danni for your time and positive vibe.
A short version of this interview was originally featured in the printed KrakMag that shipped with the Euro Tour KrakBox last year. Want to get your hands on a copy of the next printed KrakMag? Want to receive epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!
Cover Image: Danni Gallacher, fakie 5-0. Photo: VA