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August 19, 2014 at 6:34 PM

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Northwest Wanderings: Skate Like a Girl


Sima Safavi-Bayat, teaching a skateboard class, gives a helping hand to beginner Gideon Reynolds, breaking his fall. The free class is run by the Skate Like A Girl organization.

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You have to earn your Shoe Goo, that substance used to mend skateboarders' sneakers worn by pavement and persistence.

The sport, started as a dry-land replacement to surfing in empty swimming pools and on sidewalks in Southern California, now has well-crafted, publicly built parks.

Skate Like A Girl runs classes and camps. Sima Safavi-Bayat, 18, teaching a coed class for 4-to-12-year-olds at Seattle Center, says there are life lessons in skateboarding. "You fall and get up again and fall again until a move is mastered. That builds confidence, self-esteem, and you can apply that to the rest of a life."

While Gina Lee leads another class for beginners, Aly Richards, 25, is at the park to attack a "tre flip" more than a dozen times until she nails it.

It's one of the hardest moves -- building speed, jumping, flipping the board 360 degrees and landing on it smoothly, continuing on.

She high-fives Jenn Keim, 14, who just started this summer and is working on her balance.

Skilled skater Brian VanWagenen, 17, watching a class, provides running commentary and encouragement. "We crash and we gnar it out. We're not sitting there like a potato on a couch. We're going for it. It's better than video games."


Gina Lee, right, with Skate Like A Girl, leads a beginning class at Seattle Center. Her students are Olivia Pergament, left, and Jenn Keim.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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