If you think the Pink Helmet Posse sounds like the name of an all-girl band like The Runaways or The Spice Girls, you wouldn't be too far off. Both groups share an all-female perspective and a good deal of grit, but rather than being musicians, the Pink Helmet Posse is a group of skateboarders. The trio of girls from Encinitas, California started hitting the skate park in hopes of one day becoming professionals in a male-dominated field. The best part of this story? The members of Pink Helmet Posse are six years old.
Filmmakers Kristelle Laroche and Benjamin Mullinkosson were intrigued by Bella, Relz, and Sierra. Not only could they see that these girls had lots of talent for their young age, they saw that the girls also refused to back down in the face of a challenge — especially a male-issued one. Pink Helmet Posse couldn't have cared less that they were far from the norm in the macho world of Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen. In the eight-minute film "Gnarly in Pink," the filmmakers provide an intimate look at these girls' skate park-centric lives.
"I want there to be the same amount of girls to be skaters as the same amount of boys," Sierra declares in the documentary. "I want to be a professional skater." However, the film's subtitles say that in the 2013 X Games, only 33 of the 192 competitors in skateboarding were female. That's not an auspicious number.
Since I'm not too familiar with the world of skateboarding (what can I say? I'm a yoga enthusiast, not a boarder), I decided to do a little Googling. The results were discouraging. Wikipedia's list of pro skaters doesn't include a single woman. Only one, Elissa Steamer, was featured on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games. There are some female skateboarders, like Leticia Bufoni, who made waves at last year's X Games. However, the attention they receive is minimal compared to that devoted to their male counterparts, and it often focuses on sexuality or appearance.
What Pink Helmet Posse is doing, then, is increasing visibility for girls who want to get involved in sports they might be dissuaded from enjoying. Relz, Bella, and Sierra aren't afraid to paint their nails a glittery pink while they're killing it (most of the time) and wiping out (occasionally) at the skate park. They represent balance, drive, and happiness. In short, they're pretty much my new heroes.
They now have an Instagram so you can check out their latest stunts, and they also have a website with merchandise and a blog. In addition, the film has shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival.
Image: Pink Helmet Posse / Facebook