Remember the name Sky Brown because we have absolutely no doubt she is going to take the world by storm. This badass 8 year-old hails from Miyazaki, Japan but has a plan for world domination which includes skating but also inspiring other young girls and boys.
Her appearance at the recent Vans US Open Pro Series officially made her the youngest female skater to compete in the internationally renowned event for skaters. It’s no surprise that this young girl is competing at this level already, especially when you consider she began her career at age 3. No big deal. I’m pretty sure we all began our careers at that age, right? (HEAVY sarcasm there!)
While we are most likely going to see much more of Sky at the Vans tour over the coming years as well as many other extreme sporting competitions, the other aspect of Sky’s mission is what we are really in awe of. Along with her brother Ocean (we need to give their parents a slow clap and a standing ovation for these rad names!) Sky has been promoting their skating tricks and skills on social media, amassing quite the following.
Their Instagram account @awsmkids has over 61,000 followers, and their Youtube videos regularly get views in the thousands, except for Sky’s Vans US Open Pro Series video which has racked up nearly half a million views. The Youtube channel shows how talented these youngsters are, not just at skating but also surfing. Among the many videos of Sky and Ocean, there are a couple of female empowerment messages coming from Sky, where she encourages other girls to get out there and skate.
She is currently raising money via Fundrazr to help her travel around the world to bring her message to even more girls, especially in countries where the idea of a young girl skating in public would be such a taboo.
“My goal is to inspire and empower children that are in vulnerable & dangerous situations, I wanna make a positive impact on their lives using my skateboard. Starting with the roughest areas of LA,” she writes in the description of her campaign.
“My Skateboarding has given me a unique opportunity to travel and inspire other girls. I feel this is something that I was born to do, and I want to use my skateboarding for something special, but I need some help in accomplishing my goal,” she explains.
She plans to connect with low-income kids to inspire them not to give up on their dreams, but also help them to foster friendships with other kids in their own communities.
“The goal is to inspire and empower children that are in especially low income Areas, around the world. I hope to go with my family to as far as Australia, Africa, Afghanistan and Palestine. I know I can make a positive impact on the children’s lives by using my skateboard,” she said.
“I believe that being 8 years old makes it way easier for other kids to relate to me. I also hope to encourage kids to stay in school. and most of all realize that they are special and can do anything that they Dream,” she added.
Along with her planned world tour/domination, Sky hopes to raise enough money to attend Exposure 2016 happening on November 5 in Encinitas, California. Exposure Skate is a women’s empowerment movement created to open up opportunities for female skaters while also raising money for survivors of domestic violence.
And if you’re looking at images of Sky thinking, “she looks familiar”, if you’re a loyal reader of GTHQ you will have recognized her face as part of photographer Christin Rose’s ‘She Plays, We Win’ photo series showcasing numerous girls in a range of different sports. Christin created this series to also encourage other girls to play sports and to ensure there are more visual representations of female athletes in the world and in the media.
Sky’s presence on the skate scene is part of a growing movement of young girls who are filling the gender gap that has been prominent in the sport for a long time. This study shows up to 77% percent of all skaters in the US are male, and that number goes up to 84% when focusing on core skaters. On the flip side, only 23% of all skaters are women, and that number goes down to 19% for core skaters. There is also the issue of the pay gap, where, in some cases, men earn $200k and women $30k in the same competition.
This has to change, and it starts with more and more girls entering the sport and demanding equality. With groups like the Pink Helmet Posse, and individual skaters like Atita Verghese from India, this is not just a Western movement, it is happening among women of color around the globe. We also love that skating has become a symbol of freedom, rebellion, and breaking barriers for girls in society.
We can’t wait to see more of Sky (and Ocean) in the coming years, as well as the amount of girls and boys who will be inspired in their wake.