Wozer = Shit Skaters
Big love to our friends at Wozer.
These incredible humans always know how to bring the right attitude to any situation, whether it’s hosting an inclusive skate jam, or responding to bathroom tags. They dropped an article about their time at Twisted earlier this year in their May magazine. Have a read here or on our website. While you’re at it, check out their Instagram for more amazing things Wozer is bringing to Aotearoa’s skate community.
Wozer = Shit Skaters.
On the plywood wall of a toilet made from buckets, wood, and (mostly) inspirational words written in permanent marker, one of us wrote “Wozer”, excited to share our community with the next toilet goers who chose to read our message. We had come to Twisted Frequency, a festival nestled in the heart of Cobb Valley in Tākaka, to dance, party, and run an all-inclusive skate jam teaching beginners how to skate in a non-judgemental environment. Despite nursing hangovers and jelly legs from a full night of dancing, the jam was wholesome and inspiring. Even those who had never stepped on a skateboard gave it a shot, falling and getting back up again to cheers from onlookers and a hand up from the Wozer crew who were teaching. The environment we created was a safe and supportive one and everyone was welcome.
Apparently, not everyone got the memo. That night “Wozer” was crossed out in the twisted toilets and replaced by the words: “Shit Skaters”.
It’s as if they missed the point of the mag entirely.
Wozer isn’t about showcasing the world’s greatest skaters — there are already countless publications for that — we aren’t here to perpetuate the mentality that you have to be the best to be accepted into the community. Wozer is about celebrating the diverse and creative community that has gravitated toward skating. Skating doesn’t have to be this serious sport. You can do it to have fun, to take your mind off things, to get silly! Use it as an opportunity to connect with others and push yourself, rather than to belittle and compete.
Sure, some of us are “shit skaters”, that’s the point. Instead of being intimidated by an often unsupporting and misogynistic sport, Wozer has created a safe place for people to skate and get better at it, with friends that are supportive and uplifting.
The tag in the twisted bathrooms has opened up a discussion about the realities of getting into the skate scene, particularly if you’re not a man. It also isn’t our first experience with this kind of prejudice. When a stranger in a cafe in Newtown was asked to describe women skaters in one word, he said “No offence, but.. Posers”. This conversation birthed the name Wozer. A magazine of “women posers”. It has since become a publication that celebrates all skaters, regardless of their gender identity.
This situation could’ve been easy to stay silent about, as we so often do. We have built a supportive community where comments like this don’t phase us anymore. However, we must still hold accountable those who create a hostile environment within the skate scene. When I think of people skating alone in their garage because they are too intimidated to skate at the park (as was the reality for a lot of us in the beginning), it becomes clear that this unwelcoming attitude needs to change so that we can work towards creating a more inclusive community.
P.S a lil footnote from Twisted: This is a great example of a resilient community at work and we love to see it! If you're reading this and you crossed out Wozer on our toilet walls: Fuck you bud ^_^ Wozer crew rules and are far more welcome on our ramp than that sort of carryon.