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Squamish skaters find support with Sister Shredders

Skateboarding club has started up a junior division
Jules Marie
Kristal Robinson.

When Kristal Robinson was crowned the winner at the 2018 Queen of the Bowls skateboarding competition in Whistler, she said there wasn't a dry eye in the park.

 "I held the trophy," said Robinson. "I cried. Everyone cried. It was so magical."

Kristal Robinson
Kristal Robinson getting the trophy from Patti McGee. - Courtesy Kristal Robinson

 The Queen of the Bowls was a relatively new award to The Bowl Series, and before her win, Robinson had vowed to pour everything into that competition.

 "It was miraculous to me, because all it took was for someone to put it there," she said about the addition of a female trophy.

 "That became a goal for me," said Robinson. "At 37 years old, I decided to drop all fears and go start from the beginning and try all new things. One of the things I started trying to do was a handstand on my skateboard."

 That skill would later come in handy. The person who presented Robinson with her award in 2018 was none other than Patti McGee, the first professional female skateboarder. The handstand was one of her signature moves.

 Robinson would pay homage to McGee by displaying her own handstand.

 "When she handed me the trophy, we both stopped and held it, and she was welling up. Everyone in the park was welling up."

It's a feeling of empowerment that the Squamish resident hopes to be able to pass down to future generations of female skateboarders.

 Robinson is the mastermind behind Sister Shredders Girls' Skate Club, a collective of skateboarders dedicated to helping women succeed in skateboarding, which has traditionally been a male-dominated sport.

Kristal Robinson
The Sister Shredders last summer. - Courtesy Kristal Robinson

 Robinson started Sister Shredders due to her experiences getting started in the sport. She found it hard to find support from other women.

 "There was a time when I was striving to be accepted in the community," said Robinson.

"There were a few girls back then, but there was zero camaraderie. I think it was more territorial. We had to work so hard just to have our place that maybe we were threatened a bit. I don't know that for sure, but this is how it feels."

 Around the time Robinson won her award, skaters from Quest University approached her and they started to ride together.

 With mutual support, they started to progress quickly. Around January 2019, the group became Sister Shredders and started practising at Airhouse.

 Now, Robinson has started up Junior Sister Shredders to give younger athletes aged six to 13 a chance to get on a skateboard.

 "It's so powerful," she said. "I wanted to give that to girls that didn't belong somewhere and didn't want to dance ballet and just maybe needed a space where they belong. Skateboarding's kind of always been for misfits and there's a place for them. It became my community."

 Junior Sister Shredders meets Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. at Airhouse.

 The adult shredders, aged 15 and up, meet the same day from 7 to 9 p.m. at the same location. A nominal drop-in fee applies.