DALLAS — Even as skateboarding has gradually moved from the fringe to a more mainstream sport — it was finally included for the first time in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for both men and women — skateparks still tend to be dominated by men and boys these days.
But the Dallas-based Gutsy Girls Skateboard Club is looking to change all that.
Gutsy Girls' members, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a skull and ponytail logo, could be spotted everywhere at a recent event hosted at the 4DWN skate park near Downtown Dallas.
Not bad for an organization that only recently launched during the pandemic.
"The schools were closed," says Lacy Kwasnick-Lamb, one of the founding moms behind Gutsy Girls. "There was no volleyball, no cheerleading. One day [my daughter] Riley just pulled an old skateboard out of the garage and started skateboarding in front of the house -- she kind of had a knack for it."
But when Lacy looked into skateboarding offerings for girls and found "there wasn’t much out there."
Lacy, 40, had dabbled in the sport herself "a few years back," and when she put together her first Gutsy Girls clinic at Alliance Skate Park in Grand Prairie, eight girls showed up.
The next month, attendance doubled.
Now, four dozen girls regularly participate in Gutsy Girls events.
At these gatherings, new members skate together in what Lacy calls social skates, where they learn fundamentals before graduating into skating on their own in more-open settings.
Parents pitch in time, transportation and an occasional donation to keep the program going. The club has a social purpose as well: aspiring to foster relationships between skateboarders, police and neighborhoods.
The Gutsy Girls have made first aid kits. At 4DWN, they helping with gardening. (4DWN’s ancillary mission is helping erase food insecurity by growing produce at its adjoining urban farm and distributing food through a Sunday service program.)
Gutsy Girls' most recent project is a skateboard "library" at 4DWN, where skaters can borrow boards and pick up parts such as wheels and bearings.
Riley Lamb and fellow Gutsy Girl Jasmine Lucero say they've been getting a little more respect from their boy counterparts at skate parks now that their skating is starting to show improvement.
"When I first started, the boys, they just pushed me aside and got in front of me in line," Lamb says. "They're more patient now that I can do some stuff, like drop-ins."
In skateboarding, to "drop in" is to drop off the edge of a skateboard ramp and into a steep transition.
Dropping in, indeed, is what the Gutsy Girls are up to.