Meet the Skater Girl: Abigail Sawyers

“Skateboarding helps a ton with balance, precision, with air awareness . . . it gets your senses to be spot-on and it’s a great way to take my mind off things.” ~Shaun White

According to statistics there are over three million skateboarders in the United States.  Of that total, nearly half are classified as core skaters, i.e., they ride their skateboards at least once a week; others are considered casual skaters.  Abigail Sawyers is a core skater.  She first stepped onto a skateboard a year ago, on April 5, 2017.  Skateboarding is important to her, and she’s become a champion of the sport she enjoys, and the King Skatepark in particular.

The King Skatepark re-opened in mid-January after a vandalizing incident.  Abigail, her mom, Bobbie, and the other kids who regularly skate at the park are grateful that it’s open again.  Although enhancements such as lights for evening skateboarding, a bench or two for spectators, restrooms, and food/drink vendor access would be welcome additions, the regulars are happy to have the park available at all.  The petition campaign that Abigail and her mom initiated resulted in 1,800 signatures to support the value of the skatepark and get it re-opened.

“I’ve been interested in skateboarding for a while,” Abigail stated.  “It’s good exercise, it’s outdoors, it’s fun to learn new tricks.  The kids at the skatepark help each other out and share techniques on how to do new tricks.  We look out for each other.”  “Skateboarding has been a great coping skill for her,” Bobbie shared.  “Abigail has autism and depression but she doesn’t let those keep her from skateboarding.  Skateboarding is her outlet and a source of therapy.  She wears a helmet always and shows determination and dedication until she succeeds in learning a new trick.”  Bobbie has become the unofficial mom at the skate park. She stays to watch Abigail practice and occasionally brings pizza for the group or water when the weather is hot.

Abigail shared that some of her favorite tricks include dropping in (tilting the board and then flattening out to take off), fakie backside pivot, and running the ramps.  There are four basic stances – fakie, nollie, regular, or switch.  An ollie is when a skater pops their board up in the air.  Skateboarding, like many other sports, has its own language to describe the skills or tricks that make up the sport.  In 2020, commentators will be using those terms, and no doubt explaining them as well, as part of the Olympics.  Skateboarding was recently unanimously voted in as an Olympic sport.

Abigail has other interests as well.  She enjoys drawing, painting, and BMX.  But, her primary outlet is skateboarding.  It’s helped her gain confidence.  It’s helped her find her voice as an advocate for the sport she enjoys.  In her words, “Nobody ever changed the world by being like everyone else.”  There’s a great deal of value in that statement.

Visit the King Skatepark or a skatepark close to your home.  You might be tempted to stand on a board (i.e., deck) yourself… you just never know.

“Skateboarding is training, but I don’t think of it as training.  It’s fun.” ~Shaun White

Photographs courtesy of Amanda Dodson, The Stokes News. 


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