We are still in awe over the amazing 2nd edition of the Girls Rule Project in Munich, which took place from the 22nd to the 28th of June. Girls Rule! Is a very special “Skateboarding and Arts” project for girls and young women initiated by Further, a Munich action sports agency. The turnout was amazing, not to mention the turn up! Our signature yells were definitely noticeable not to mention our theme song during the week “I follow river.
The project took off on the 22nd of June, where we went all in with an amazing art workshop and a visit to Museum Villa Stuck. Starting off with a tour through the exhibition of the Austrian artist and graphic designer Koloman Moser, an early representative of Art Nouveau. The 20 participants were led through the exhibition by Doris Niemann (Villa Stuck) an Carolina Velez, a Colombian artist and skateboarder who made her way to Munich to show and point out the relation between Moser’s art and today’s design within the skateboarding scene. Following the tour, highly motivated and concentrated, everyone started out to turn blanko decks into pieces of art. Carolina Velez and Doris Niemann worked with the participants on each one’s very own skateboard design, together with their arts colleagues Daniela Gonzalez (COL) and Dina Ziad (NL). Everyone was working on their own interpretation of skatedeck designs and created amazing artworks which were to be exhibited and auctioned off for a good cause, the charity Boarding for Breast Cancer, one week later at Munich MASH at the Olympic Park.
For many of the participants it was the first time at the museum and they were delighted about the exhibition and astonished about the influence of modern art within the skateboarding culture.
On the following day the local participants and international guests from South America, all over Europe as well as the US were given a slightly different Munich sightseeing tour, visiting not only the touristic hotspots but also skate spots within the city, attempted some river surfing in the Eisbach. They also went on endless bike rides exploring the city, making memories and new friends, cheering each other on all the time and hyping each other up to land a trick. They overcame fears with the support of an amazing group of girls who bonded greatly during the week. It was amazing to see the group grow together in such a short time.
The aim of the project was to raise interest for this amazing sport and the special lifestyle related to it where art, photography and film also play a big role. It was all about creating networks between the participants from different social and cultural backgrounds and to impart skills which are not only useful on a board but also in daily life.
Further had already organized a Girls Only Session on the track the previous year with an added highlight in 2019 as 3 of the participants of the Girls Rule Project, Catherine Marquis from Stuttgart (GER), Alisa Fessl (AUT) and Alana Smith (USA) were given the opportunity to also take part in the PRO contest where Alana secured the win, loudly cheered on by the entire Girls Rule group. Sunday then saw the Girls Only Session and despite the heat wave the girls enjoyed their own time on the Roller Coaster, followed by a brunch and a dip in the lake.
All female visitors of the MASH Fest were also given the opportunity to take part in GirlsWhoRide skateboard workshops led by Alisa Fessl.
Even though the project had only been planned to take part over the two weekends, it developed such own dynamics that the girls ended up meeting up every single day during the week to go skateboarding, surfing etc and a full program over 10 days was created and friendships formed that will last far beyond the project.
It was great to see the personal changes in some of the participants, for example the shy local girl, who had never even thought about trying to skate before. Over the course of the project she changed into a self confident young woman with a skateboard under her feet, cheered on by her new group of friends and encouraged by her success moments on her board.
It was amazing to see the individual encouragement, the positive influence of the group as a whole on each participant as well as the mutual support between the girls for each other not only in skateboarding but in all areas of life.
The program continued throughout the week with a mix of sightseeing and leisure activities and visits to a variety of local skateparks with sometimes up to 40 women from Munich as well as from Irland, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Estonia, Colombia and the US. Not only spending time together but especially creating common experiences and memories brought the participants closer to each other and the group bonded very quickly despite the different cultures, backgrounds and ages. The project offered the participants a space where the girls could freely express themselves and form new friendships in an entirely female environment - even including the film/ foto crew, and more and more participants joined over the week.