I’m not sure how or why I think these things up. Maybe it’s because I believe so hard in journalistic integrity and transparency… or maybe it’s just because I’m back at the magazine after a long hiatus, and I’m sort of curious about who our writers, photographers, and editors are these days. Either way, I thought a “Meet The Staff” column might be kinda fun. So without further ado, here’s the first of the series featuring our own leading lady, Candice Dungan: Hello, Candy! Nice to meet ya! Would you mind telling me a little about yourself…? It’s great to meet you! I’m a downhill skateboard racer, writer, and feminist. I’ve been longboarding for 4.5 years, and skateboarding for 3.5 years. I placed 2nd overall for Women’s category in the 2016 NorAm IDF Circuit – my rookie year racing IDF. I’m currently working 50-hour weeks to raise the funds to race the IDF World Circuit in 2017. I also have a background in snowboarding; as a teenager, I was a snowboard competitor at a national level. At the time, I preferred competing in slopestyle but actually placed my best in slalom and giant slalom (where I raced on a park board against girls racing alpine boards). I guess speed has always been my thing! I have a Public Relations degree from Kent State University, and I spent two years working PR for a ski/snowboard association before breaking off to work as a freelancer. Although I enjoy PR, writing is my real passion. Lastly, I’m a feminist. I hope that word doesn’t scare you; I am not a man-hater. I believe in equality for all genders, races, ages, economic statuses – everyone. I also have the upmost respect for men who support women in their search for equality. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to write for Concrete Wave and help produce more women-oriented content. I want women to feel welcome, accepted, and appreciated by the skate community. Here’s our gal…! No, I’m not scared of titles like “feminist”. Nor should you be scared of titles like “King Catcrap”, which I think is mine here at the magazine. This is a team effort. Welcome to the team. Candice, Mikey and I are burning with curiosity. Here’s the burning question of the moment: What in the f’n hell does this industry need to do, to get more girls involved with this gig…?! IASC really wants to know. But, don’t tell them. Tell Mikey and I. As for growing the women’s scene – there’s many different facets. I believe the most pressing are media, gear, and community. 1. Media: women are inherently discouraged from skateboarding at a very young age; this is western culture. However, we can counteract this. When women see other women skateboarding, they are encouraged to skateboard. We can encourage women to skateboard by sharing media of women’s skateboarding – and by not sharing media of women scantily clad on (or near) a skateboard. Showing images of half-naked women is detrimental to womens’ psyches because culture tells women from a very young age that how they look is most important. We want to tell them that how they look has nothing to do with it and that they are as capable as men to learn skills such as skateboarding. 2. Gear: Most longboarding gear on the market does not fit women. We have extremely small feet compared to men, and we need skateboards that fit our feet. For example, most decks on the market are 9.5-10″. My custom longboard deck is 8.5″. I had to custom make myself a deck because not one downhill deck on the market fits my women’s size 7 feet. Size 7 is the most common foot size for women. It’s equivalent to a kids’ (boys) size 5. For me to ride a normal longboard, is like my boyfriend trying to downhill skate a luge – it doesn’t work. We can’t get leverage. Most male skaters (aka the people who design majority of skateboard equipment) do not think about women’s feet. Shop employees don’t think about women’s feet. This means that majority of women are skating gear that doesn’t fit them. Think about how much harder it would be for a women to learn to snowboard on a men’s snowboard than on a women’s snowboard – there’s a reason there’s “men” and “women” snowboards. Unfortunately, no one in the longboard industry has figured this out, and it’s holding women back from progressing. 3. Community: Women relate to women. I usually skateboard with all guys, but when I do get to skateboard with women – I have way more fun! Even if we’re skating MUCH less challenging hills. This is because women have the same shared experiences and relate best to each other. I started the Rad Girls Krew in Colorado, and we’ve gone from 4 longboard girls to 20 in 6 months. Having other girls to skateboard with is a huge huge huge encouragement to women’s skateboarding. The places where girls skate crews exist (Colorado, Vancouver, Europe, etc), you will see the largest amount of women’s skateboarding. We vibe off each other, learn better from each other, and feel more comfortable with other women. Feet. Feet…! So elementary. Mike, have we ever heard “feet” discussed as a contributing factor…? I sure haven’t. Candice is right though: the snowboarders have this way more dialed in than we do. And their participation numbers are huge. At least, far superior to ours here in skate. Coincidence? I think not… Candice: which companies… skate companies… are the most responsive to women’s needs? If any…? Honestly, I can’t think of any companies that are responsive to women’s gear needs. Some companies have made okay decks for some women, but those choices are few and far between. When a woman goes to a skate shop, she’d be lucky if two decks in there fit her foot; options are extremely slim. I personally wouldn’t want to ride any deck on the market, and I’m curious how many women would agree. However, I know what it’s like to have a deck that fits me, when most women do not. I’ve had some brands personally support me and (by association) the women’s scene:
- Seismic funded an amazing “welcome to the team” skate video for me. That did wonders for the women’s skate community because it was such a high production female skate video.
- Hi5ber, my new board sponsor, is making me a pro model that resembles the deck I designed for myself (8.5″ wide, radial concave). This will be the first time an 8.5″ downhill longboard will be available on the market through an established brand.
Some women try to chop their deck (cut it to make it narrower), but then they lose the concave. It’s not a very inclusive market to women… or to groms. Kids also have small feet, and I know plenty who have tried to cut their decks narrower too. Here are two markets that need something the market isn’t providing – when are they going to catch on? How about actually making us a smaller helmet for females? There’s only two, suitable, full-face helmets that fit me on the market – one is not even certified for downhill skateboarding. And, again, what about the groms? Look at her go…! How important are aesthetics to all this? Graphics, art direction, etc? Specifically, what can the magazine do better, in terms of girls’ coverage? Hit me. I’m all big, floppy ears. As for gear aesthetics – lol. I haven’t even considered that. I’m happy with anything that fits and works well. With that said, I customize everything to my liking. My decks include galaxy duct tape, gold duct tape racing stripes, a power wedge, cardboard to add a W for my back foot, gold spray paint, stencils, and tons of stickers… I even customized my own grip tape by using a laser printer to engrave “SLAY” into the grip. The “A” is an anarchy/feminism sign. I customize everything to my liking; I’ve had to, and I’ve learned to like it – a lot. So for gear aesthetics, I’m probably not a good person to ask. For media aesthetics, and advertisements, I think women just want to see women skateboarding. It sounds so simple, and is expected for men’s media, but it’s actually few and far between. You give me a sick photo of a women skating, put a brand name on it, and I’m now interested in that brand. That’s all it takes because we are so lucky even to have that. For overall how to improve women’s coverage: more women’s skateboarding. Share stories of women who are kicking ass, share women’s crews who are kicking ass, share women’s specific events, share info about gear that fits women, etc. I would love to see the online site have a specific “women’s” section that only shared videos and articles that relate to women. That would make it so easy to “one-stop-shop” for women’s skate info, which is currently very hard to find. I have an important question here. How, where, and why did you get into skateboarding…? But, maybe more importantly: did you feel any sense that you weren’t welcome to participate from anybody…? Did you get any pushback from anybody for wanting to skate? Or, have you generally been welcomed into skateboarding with open arms…? A female friend who I snowboarded with first introduced me to longboarding. It was summer, and I was at her house complaining about how I missed snowboarding. She told me to “stop bitching,” handed me her longboard, and told me to skate around the block. That’s exactly what I did, and I fell in love. I bought my first longboard that day. At first, I was welcomed with open arms; I even had my own girls skate crew that I learned with. But, as time progressed, drama and egos got involved with both the guys and girls! Then I moved to Colorado, where there was even more drama/egos, and way less women skating. Thankfully, I had a mini support system of a few men who saw my determination and wanted to see a chick shred. They taught me everything I know, and my skating soon spoke for itself. Some of the adversity is normal for all skaters, but some things I experienced were specifically because I am a woman. For example, not many of the guys wanted to skate with me/teach me because they couldn’t see me as a “homie.” Some guys just can’t see girls as friends, and that’s something I still deal with to this day. There are some guys that will skate in the crew with me, but outside of skating they have no interest in getting to know me and they don’t feel comfortable having a real conversation with me. There’s been a few times that I’ve shown up to skate events and the guys all introduce themselves to the other guys, while no one says hello to me or asks me my name – I’m completely ignored. I don’t know if this is because they assume I’m just someone’s girlfriend, or are intimidated by me, or just don’t know how to act around a female. Whatever it is, I’ve begun calling them out on it when it happens – I can’t even begin to explain how satisfying it is to watch them stumble over their words and try to find an excuse that doesn’t exist. My guy friends have also partaked in the fun, occassionally, which makes it even better. As much ignorance that still exists, there are a lot of men who want to see women succeed. Those are the men that I surround myself with. Do you enjoy other types of skateboarding, outside of downhill? Do you skate street, parks, bowls, slalom, etc…? I skate bowls! I started skating bowls when I moved to Colorado. I enjoy the chillness of it – you’re just hanging with your homies, drinking PBR, and taking turns getting slammed. It’s my favorite thing to do on a weekend afternoon. How old are you, Candice? And where do you hail from? I know they’re totally stock questions, but I forgot to ask them anyway… I’m 26, born in Seattle, raised in Ohio, and living in Colorado. Who has inspired you the most? Are there an ladies (or guys, for that matter) that you’ve looked up to throughout your skating career? I looked up to Emily Pross and Rachel Bagels the most when I first started getting into DH. Emily because she was racing the guys, and Bagels because she improved so quickly. I remember watching a video about Bagels’ year improvement and thinking, “I want to progress that fast!” Looking back on it, they both were monumental to where I am today. Emily showed me I could race the boys, and Bagels showed me I could progress quickly – both things I’ve accomplished and will always continue striving for. At that point in my skate career, I needed to see women to inspire me. I knew guys were talented, but I needed to see some women throw down, so I could feel like I could do it too. Now, Dre Nubine and Aaron Hampshire inspire me the most. The truth is, most men can’t inspire me because I’m not a man. They may be great skaters, but that doesn’t mean they support women, and I can’t be inspired by anyone who doesn’t support women. Dre and Aaron inspire me for many reasons. They have unique style, great form, and are fast as all hell. But, they also support me, help me progress, get stoked when I improve, lift me up when I’m feeling down, stand up for me whenever necessary, and don’t give a F if anyone disagrees with them for it. Josh Wright, Devon Reece, and Raul Sanchez also fall into this group; they may not be IDF racers, but they inspire me daily with their attitudes and insights. I have so much respect for all four of these men, and I can only hope that every woman has a similar support system available to them. How did you come to be involved with the magazine, Candice? Dan Gesmer from Seismic Skate put me in touch with Michael when Michael said he wanted a team of women to cover women issues in the magazine! Any final words…? The floor is yours, ma’am…! Thanks! -Candy