Asiplanchaba: At the Forefront of Barcelona’s Female Skate Scene
It’s common knowledge for skaters that Barcelona is quite rightly considered the skateboarding capital of the world, the city has endless spots and skateparks to skate, making it a paradise for skaters alike. If you don’t want to take our word for it, check out La Skateosphere, a site which takes the liberty of listing every single one of these on an interactive map, there’s quite literally thousands. Thus, it’s clear that skaters from around the world will inevitably relocate here to progress their skating, or simply be part of one of the largest skate scenes in the world. This means that throughout the years, Barcelona has seen an influx of skaters and creatives who all live, work and socialize within incredibly close quarters. When this happens, new people are acquainted, people talk, and great things happen; asiplanchaba is undeniably one of those great things.
Born in 2009, asiplanchaba is a community that brings together and unites women through a collective shared passion of skateboarding and creative expression. What started as a humble website which gave female skaters the publicity they deserve, has transformed into a thriving community at the forefront of the Barcelona skate scene, undertaking numerous different creative projects which enriches the experiences of its members and friends. The name asiplanchaba may seem confusing to us non-native Spanish speakers, but it roughly translates to “I used to Iron” and stems from an old and sexist Spanish song which spoke about girls playing girls games, naming the empowering community after this is a sarcastic response and a brilliant middle finger to that sexist ideology.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Verónica Trillo, the founder, to discuss their origins, the importance of communities like this and how they empower, connect and grow the female skate community in Barcelona.
Let’s talk about the origins of asiplanchaba, when was it created, and what motivated the idea?
Back in the 90’s, there were hardly any girls on the Spanish skateboarding scene, and not much was known about them, they were not given much coverage either nationally or internationally, therefore very few of us knew about the existence of other female skaters. I knew of people such as Begoña Cortés and Vanessa Toledano in Madrid, and of course Ianire Elorriaga based in the Basque County who was 7 times European Street champion. But, you have to remember this is before Instagram existed, so if magazines didn’t want to feature female skaters, it was super difficult to sense what the female skate scene was currently like in Spain.
In 2009, I started to collect information, share it and create content to give light and make visible the small female skate scene at the time, so, asiplanchaba was born and with this, came the first female skate tours and events which ultimately energized and kickstarted the female scene in Spain. The project began as a website, a home where we could showcase our own content that would inspire other girls and encourage them to start skating. But nowadays it’s more of a community, alive with many faces and voices.
It’s crazy to think that a world without Instagram ever existed, I can imagine how fundamental the website was in its early years to give female skaters a platform. How would you say asiplanchaba has grown and changed since then?
It’s been more than 11 years and then in 2019 we really began to realize that we had a lot of good visual content. It was almost like art, so we decided to create a magazine, titled ‘Dolores’ – print isn’t dead! Raisa is the incredibly talented photographer, designer, and art soul of Dolores and we go out together to plan as many missions as we can with the girls to film and gather content. We have a great team of girls who help with content and write text, and really use their talents in a wide range of way to bring the magazine to life, however, the core team for the magazine comes down to myself and Raisa. Creating a magazine is difficult to say the least, it’s hard to find support and it’s a challenge trying to figure out how to make each issue possible, but, we manage two to three issues per year, and we have just released our sixth, so we’re happy!
It’s great to see people put their talents together to produce something so meaningful. How did you build such a close-knit community?
Barcelona is the dream land of skateboarding, but It’s not always easy and not always welcoming. It’s even harder for girls to get a space to belong. A lot of girls write us when they first arrive in BCN and we try to guide them to meet other girls or join our missions if we plan any. There are many girls skating in the city and you can see different crews of girls, but as skateboarding is all creative and changing all the time, so do the crews and the people who are active. Many people often only come to live here for a short period of time, so it’s a constant cycle of incoming and outgoing skaters. Therefore, we create plans and projects that allow people to gather and ultimately create natural and organic relationships, we don’t want the girls to constantly depend on us. This means that the girls can come to our planned activities, meet new people and then build their own friendships and networks and ultimately grow their confidence and enjoy their time in Barcelona.
What are some of the projects you plan, besides Dolores, which get girl skaters in Barcelona acquainted?
We do DIY building together with the local skaters at any of the beautiful independent DIY projects around Barcelona such as Bobila, Picnic or Spotter. The experience of building is normally not familiar for girls, but they really enjoy it when they get to feel the concrete and be part of a team that is creating something which people will enjoy for a long time. We’re creating experiences. We also launched a fanzine lab last month to create a familiar fanzine with a bunch of the girls and inspire their artistic talents and work together and a common project. Other experiences to gather girls include things like the girls go skateboarding day, where girls have a safe space to skate with other girls, with no other pressures or anxieties that may occur when normally skating.
Why are communities like this so important?
We believe this kind of communities are important because girls are starting to have room in the skate scene. The number of girls increase every year and the level of female skateboarders is growing and growing year after year. However, even as we advance as a society, there is still many stereotypes girls are put through - from a very young age we are given gender roles and told what activities are considered correct for girls. Activities, whether it be leisure, or household chores, should never be conditioned about gender. Unfortunately, there’s still this old fashion mindset in society that skateboarding is a male activity. We believe all people should do as they feel, regardless of gender and there are still many boundaries in skateboarding for women. Skateboarding is all about expressing yourself and your creativity, so any person should feel free, happy, and self-realized when skating.
“We dream that one day, hopefully not that far in the future, that Asiplanchaba and Dolores are not going to be necessary. As much as we are proud of what we have created, we want to live in a world in which gender is not important in skating – so the need for a female only publication doesn’t exist”
Before we did this interview, it got brought to our attention that in a lot of sports, you often see a lot of girl shame in which girls can be less supportive, and maybe even mean to other girls. Why do you think that this isn’t seen in skating as much?
We perceive girls skateboarding groups as more inclusive and emotionally supportive, so normally no matter the level, language, culture, color, age, or any other condition, our groups tend to build a safe, welcoming, and inclusive dynamic. Girls are probably more supportive than other “sports” because skateboarding is so much more than a sport – it’s having fun with your friends, or alone, expressing yourself, feeling free and admiring other people’s true genuine self’s. When skating, people tend to drop their walls and you really realize how people truly are, it’s beautiful. So, it’s a lifestyle, much more than a sport and that´s why skateboarding is more bonding, tolerant and inclusive that other sports relationships.
Be sure to check out the Instagram's of both Asiplanchaba and Dolores Magazine, as well as the accounts of the incredibly talented Raisa Bal and Dani Milan, who are responsible for all the amazing photos featured within this article.