Today I want to introduce you to Linda Ritterhoff and an awesome Video project she started in summer. Most people probably haven ́t heard about Linda yet, but the ones who do, know about her big influence in the girl skateboarding scene in Berlin. Linda has lived in Berlin for the last 10 years and skates longer than half of her life. She had an amazing idea at the beginning of the year: a feminine Skateboard video, which includes every active Skategirl in Berlin. Because of that release, I met her a few days ago and asked her a few questions.
Article by Lea Isabell Uhle.
Hey Linda, maybe you want to tell us something about yourself before we start talking about your project?
Hey Lea, for sure I will. So, my name is Linda and I am 36 years old. I am a social worker in the field of integration and family assistance and also the co-founder of the Drop In e.V. here in Berlin. I am also doing a project with skateboarding for people in a wheelchair (WCMX). I ́ve been living in Berlin for the last 10 years and started skating 20 years ago.
20 years is a long time! How did you started skateboarding?
I grew up in a small city with around 250 people in total. Because of that I always hung around in Twistringen (The nearest city) where I started skateboarding. The meeting point was always at a schoolyard, where the boys tried to ollie bicycle stands and stuff and the girls spend their time mostly sitting around and watching the boys. After one summer of watching, I got bored. So, after a party one of the boys forgot his board and I just took it to skate secretly. In 2004 I moved to Bremen and had my first Girl crew. Since 2015 I get support from Ten Skateboards.
So you already skated with a lot of girls in your past. What was the inspiration for a girls-only project?
I am not quite sure what exactly inspired me. I just got the idea at the beginning of the year. After a short phase of overthinking, I got afraid, that I would not find enough time for my own skating. But because of a few other, way smaller projects with GROLL-Girlscrew here in Berlin, I got confident that I would be able to finish a bigger project as well.
And that’s what you did! How long did you work on the video?
I finished it quite fast. We filmed between July and October 2019 and by the end of November we finished the editing (I got some technical help from my boyfriend). It is 20 minutes long and includes 48 active skater girls from Berlin. Basically we only skated in Berlin.
What kind of problems did you run into while filming?
In the beginning, I only wanted to use street-footy. But when we first started filming I realized, that if I would only film in the streets, we would only include half of the people because, for some Girls, it is still a big thing going in the streets and being creative with the skateboard. But I am super happy to present so many good skaters, even when they are skating in a skatepark. The idea to make an all-girl video worked out pretty well. I also decided to use music, in which women have a lead position. All in all, I am really satisfied with the result.
So do you think such videos are important for the girl skateboarding scene or girls in general?
I truly have to say, I am not the biggest fan of “Girls only’’ or “special Girl Sessions’’. I mean it’s an important part to win new girls for the sport, but it shouldn’t be like a closed area. One of the most important things in skateboarding is being in interaction with other skaters – male and female. Also, we are in a world where there are mostly male-dominated Skatevideos. That is what I see as a legitimization to do an all-female skate video, we should not forget that things are not that separated in real life and that it also shouldn’t be. An example, my male friends are super excited about the video because it’s something new! Apart from this, I think videos like these are important because the female Skatescene is growing really fast. I thought I already knew every active Skater girl here in Berlin, but I soon realized it was a lot of work to find them all. I met a few new faces throughout this process.
Do you know any reason for that?
I am not sure if there is one single reason why but I recognized there is something that is changing, especially this last year. So many new faces in the Skateparks! Maybe it’s because of a few international female video parts or because of a few female skaters turned Pro, but really I am not sure. I also see Berlin as a reason because a lot of people are moving here to continue skating. Berlin has become a melting pot for male and more recently female skaters.
Back to your project. The last question, I also saw that you filmed girls who are in wheelchairs. Can you say something about that?
Of course I can. As I said, I am doing some work at the Drop In e.V. doing the wheelchair project. For me it’s also a kind of skateboarding and it should be shown in videos. We need to integrate people with disabilities into videos, so we can also integrate them in the skateparks.
Thanks for your time Linda!