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“Girls can do it too”: Nicole Noller shreds gender norms in skateboarding

//Nicole Noller at the Denver Skate Park on Sept. 22. Photos by Esteban Fernandez | efernandez@msmayhem.com

Nicole Noller recalled hanging out with her 11-year-old nephew several years ago. She stepped on a skateboard to try it out and was immediately propelled to the ground. Her nephew erupted into laughter, only inspiring Noller to push harder and hone her skill.

“He laughed at me, so I got up and said, ‘You watch. I’m getting better than you one day,’ she said. “So, really I just learned how to skateboard to get back at my nephew,”

Born-and-raised Coloradan Noller is a 38-year-old skateboarder shredding gender and age norms one drop-in at a time. While many athletes begin practicing in their childhood, Noller didn’t get into the sport until later in life, proving that one can pick up a new skill at any age.

Noller still resides in Colorado today, and while she was always interested in playing sports as a child, her parents couldn’t afford for her to join the teams.

Naturally, she found ways to supplement that adrenaline itch by playing a lot of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater—a popular skateboarding video game from the ‘90s and 2000s—however, Noller didn’t pick up a board until she was 25.

Now that she’s been skating for 13 years, she looks to share her knowledge with others who want to reach their full potential. She invites anyone interested to message her on Instagram to sign up for skateboarding lessons. While she’s currently focused on coaching a group of kids, she also offers a class for adults.

“I love being able to teach them and give back to the community, just being able to see my students’ progression and how excited they get when they finally can see those results they worked so hard for,” Noller said.

Noller believes in building a safe skate community that is inclusive of all types of people. In the past, she’s teamed up with brands like ETHK Skateboards and also promotes the Queer Denver Skating group, both of which focus on inclusivity. All parties she’s involved with have similar, aligning values, standing for the belief that anyone with wheels under their feet belongs in the park.

//Competitive skateboarder Nicole Noller skates the bowls at the Denver Skate Park on Sept. 22. Noller offers skating lessons to children and adults.

“I like to promote groups that are typically women-owned or nontraditional types of people that are more specific to inclusivity,” Noller said. “I go to and support a lot of different skate meetups.”

Noller recently skated in a competition up in Breckenridge. Although the competition was just for fun, it acted as a charitable fundraiser and silent auction, honoring a skateboarder who broke his back the previous year. 

Although this event had less at stake, it doesn’t stop the competitors from giving their all. Noller emphasized that women can hold their own and even dominate the competition. 

“My favorite thing about skateboarding competitions is showing up, and they just think that, you know, just because you’re a girl, you’re going to be garbage,” Noller said. ”And then I go and skate, and then they’re like, ‘WOAH!’ That’s my favorite part of crushing those gender norms—proving that girls can do this too.” 

Noller’s hard work has paid off in big ways. For example, while competing at an event four years ago she met her sponsor from Colorado Skateboards, with who she has been ever since. 

“I saw him out at a contest and said, ‘Hey, I want a sponsor,’ and he’s like, ‘OK,’” Noller said. “Now I get free skateboard decks. I think he’s a great guy, and he does a lot for the community.”.

Soon Noller will be competing in the contest for Exposure Skate’s 10th Anniversary, created exclusively for women. It’s a huge international event, where every year women travel from all over the world to compete. 

“I’ve been competing in it every year since they started, but this year, it’s different. It’s a video contest, because [of] COVID. It’s kind of a cooler format because you can just submit your best tricks, instead of being nervous about landing a whole entire line,” Noller said.

Skateboarding has completely taken over Noller’s life. Even on her off days, she craves that plunge into the bowl. Looking forward, she has no plans on stopping and hopes to continue hitting new personal benchmarks in her athletic career.

“The ultimate goal would be to start my own company for teaching lessons full time,” Noller said, “and maybe even make my own skateboards.”

 

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3 Comments

  1. D Masters

    What an incredible role model. Nicole’s efforts to make Colorado’s skate parks more inclusive are equal parts badass and benevolent. Keep it up, girl!

    Reply
  2. Luke turf

    Such an inspiring, wonderful, talented soul. We love you Ms. Nicole!

    Reply
  3. Quianna

    Ms. Nicole is not only a completely talented skated-boarder but she is also a completely generous and impressive human being. She teaches my daughter and I and she is a role model for us both!

    Reply

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