The posse. All photos: Hannah Bailey.
The Skate Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, was a perspective-shifting moment for women’s skateboarding worldwide. Over the course of five days, skaters from across the globe congregated in the city to take part in the event. The experience organized by the Women’s Skateboarding Alliance in partnership with B-Global Agency and powered by JTB set out to unite skaters across the globe for a cultural exchange but also to show the world the true essence of skateboarding. Skaters came from all over; Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, the U.S and Japan, to together experience the city and this unique event—from exploring the streets of Harajuku and Tsukiji Fish Market to skating the Komazawa skatepark and Shibuya crossing.
During the main public event, at Murasaki skatepark on Saturday (December 1), over 1000 skaters and spectators were in attendance, including Olympic ice skaters, Maia and Alex Shibutani, and five of the biggest Japanese TV stations. It was said to be the biggest skate event of the year at the park. The atmosphere was buzzing, with skaters as young as two rolling along to be inspired and get involved.
Before the best trick contest kicked off, 33 children and youth from local schools and charities took part in a clinic supported by Levi’s, with pros such as Jenn Soto, Mariah Duran, and Lacey Baker, getting hands on to help. Spectators enjoyed the laid-back contest which included local up and coming skaters throwing down tricks alongside seasoned pros. Japanese skater Nanaka Fujisawa took the top spot but all the skaters wowed the audience and enjoyed a relaxed, fun competition, with Alexis Sablone putting down the final crowd-pleasing trick with a kickflip down the gap.
Even though this was the first event of its kind, many local skaters said it was the best week of their life and something which could change the outlook for women’s skateboarding in Japan—and the world—forever. To learn more about The Skate Exchange, please visit their site: TheSkateExchange.com
Putting on a clinic. Check out that baby in the front row—already raging!