Jenna Selby has been documenting the UK girls skate scene for a number of years now; starting Rogue Skateboards, putting together the brilliant As If, And What? way back in 2009, and now coming through with new video Days Like These featuring a mixture of UK scene veterans and newer faces.
With the video premiere going down a storm at House of Vans and now available on DVD here, we caught up with her to discuss filming this time around, how it compared to previous projects, the burgeoning number of female skaters, getting camera gear robbed in Ecuador and much more. Get to know what went into the upcoming video and check out some photos from a number of the filming missions Jenna has been on, before memorizing the relevant premiere details from the flyer below!
So this is your second video release after 'As If, And What'. How has the making of this one differed from the first?
I guess I had more of an idea this time around of what would be involved. I was a bit more organised in downloading and cataloguing the clips straight away instead of leaving it to do all in one go like last time (most boring 3 months of my life!!). Otherwise it’s been pretty similar to the last one; just a few more broken people this time.
From the viewpoint of both a filmer and a skateboarder, how has the UK women’s scene changed in the intervening time?
It’s become much more prominent I think mainly due to social media – it offered a platform for us to do our own thing and not have to rely on others for exposure. Before you’d see snippets of footage here and there but now you can see clips daily of different riders. There are websites like Girl Skate UK that have grown in stature over the last few years, bringing together the community of UK female skateboarding as a whole.
There are also many more female only skate nights and comps being organised up and down the country.
Do you see female skateboarding as always existing outside of 'skateboarding' as a whole, as in with separate events and female-specific videos such as yours?
No, not at all. There are companies like Lovenskate, Animal and Nike who have all put out videos with parts of the men and women on their teams.
The reason I started the Girl Skate Jam was from personal experience of being thrown into comps like the Urban Games and Queen of Street and being scared shitless – most of us [the Gallaz Team] were entered into these huge events never having experienced even a small scale comp before. I wanted to create an event that offered a less pressured atmosphere. As it came about at a time before social media was even around, it was also a place where women could come and meet up and get to know other female riders (for the first 3 years of skating I only ever met one other girl.) Plenty of riders I know these days enter mixed comps as well – it’s just there to offer an alternative.
You don’t ‘need’ a gender specific video but it does tend to get more hype for the female riders overall and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I think the question that’s been creeping into my head recently is do you need full-length skate films anymore now that so many clips are put out online. Some of the younger riders I’ve worked with couldn’t understand why I asked them not to Instagram their clips and wait until the film was out – ha, it’s a fast changing world!
What are your thoughts on the Women’s Street League division this year? And in fact on Street League as a whole, as someone who has been around to see these kind of events grow to the size they are in such a short space of time?
Street League for me isn’t what I think of as skating so I’ve never tended to watch it. I did however catch the inaugural female event, and although the skating was good, it felt a bit sterile on the whole and some of the riders who usually perform well at other big events like the X-Games, you could see this was just a different kettle of fish altogether so they didn’t land their tricks. I also wasn’t completely convinced by the judging either. My idea of a comp is a rider going for their tricks, trying again and again until they get it whilst everyone watching is shouting and banging their boards for encouragement and going crazy when they land it; with this event, I didn’t feel had that type of atmosphere.
On the other hand for the riders who do get a chance to compete and make a living from what they love doing then of course it’s a good thing for them and it can only raise the profile of female skaters still further.
How did the inception of Rogue Skateboards come about?
In the early 2000 I was riding for Gallaz (women’s division of Globe) along with Lucy Adams and Laura Goh, I’d also just started up the Girl Skate Jam with Ro Brannon. At the time there was little exposure given to women, the coverage we did receive tended to be from health and fitness or lifestyle publications. They weren’t interested as you can imagine in covering what we were doing as skaters but more focused on how many calories you could burn. We also noticed that a lot of younger female riders dropped out when they hit their teens because of this lack of coverage/role models and general teenage pressures.
It got frustrating to see all of these good riders out there who weren’t receiving decent coverage in the way that the guys were (apart from Lucy who was kind of holding the torch for all female riders in the mags!). So my thought was to put a team together, start organising meets up around the country every month, go on tours, be present as a group at the Girl Skate Jam and the coverage came from that. Hopefully the riders would also become the role models to keep the younger generation involved.
Who can we expect to see with full sections in the video and how has the line-up changed since the last release? Who are the UK heads involved in this one?
The likes of Lucy Adams, Helena Long and Georgie Winter are returning from As If, And What? Some of the other riders like Rebecca Davies, Emma Richardson and Emily Russell from the last film will appear in the friends sections.
Camilla Mullins is one of the new faces on the video but she unfortunately broke her hip on a warm up boardslide whilst we were out filming - the board stuck on a non waxed rail whilst she carried on going at some speed, foot planted and her body twisted awkwardly. We’ve managed to track down footage shot by other filmers though as she definitely deserves a full part.
Rogue team rider Dora Horvath has a section. She was living in Edinburgh when we started out but has since moved back to her native Hungary. The other main rider is Julia Brueckler from Austria – I’ll just say her section is tech and insane and leave it there…
Apart from Camilla Mullins' hip break was the filming process fairly hitch-free for this one?
We broke one other rider – Sabine Haller from Ireland, which was a real shame as she’s an incredibly good talent. Aside from Josie Millard she’s one of the best up and coming skaters I’ve seen (I think it maybe helps she used to be an International gymnast, and is still only 16!).
It was another accident on a rail - she ended up breaking her coccyx, which meant she couldn’t get a full part in. Maybe we’ll release an updated version of the film next year.
Did many group trips happen while filming for this one, or do you prefer to shoot skaters in their local area?
We’ve had a fair few London meet ups with different groups but generally I wanted to shoot the riders in their own environment. Georgie has been on most of the trips acting as the Shia Lebeouf, ‘JUST DO IT’ type of encouragement for the ladies. Julia likes a good punch if she’s wussing out of a trick; I’m apparently too feeble, so Georgie was pretty useful there too.
It’s been interesting to see the different terrains people skate, what we’d consider a pretty rubbish floor, Sabine who lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere thinks the ridged cheese grater concrete is a pretty normal surface to skate – and she does it well. This is really what I wanted to capture.
Was it tough finding time to skate yourself, around filming/editing duties?
I haven’t really skated for the last year. I’m running a photography business at the same time as doing this and got married in September so it’s been pretty full on. I’m looking forward to getting back on my board next year, even if it just involves a 3 foot mini!
Once the dust has settled from this project, will you be returning to 'Scratch the Surface'? If so, can you tell us a little bit about that and its back story please?
About 4 years ago I started working on this new project, it was to film a handful of the top female skaters around the world. As well as being your standard skate film, I wanted to look further into the environments they skated and their backgrounds. There were riders from America who by most people’s standards have gold plated obstacles (much better pavements) to skate and weather to boot, in comparison to a woman I photographed in China who was riding on a 3rd generation board and had left home and supported herself from the age of 14 just so that she could skate.
I got invited out to Ecuador with the Poseiden Foundation to travel around with Eliana Sosco and Jen O’Brien, it was to be the starting point of the film. I spent a month over there, also capturing some of the local female riders. On the last night I packed up all of my stuff early for a flight home the next day. When I woke and went downstairs (I was staying in a private house) all my stuff had gone. It turned out someone knew when I was leaving and had broken into the house and taken my cameras, laptop, hardrives and passport. It was a nightmare trying to get back home; it even involved having to walk through a morgue to find the right department in the police station!! Unfortunately at the time none of the equipment was insured either.
I would like to think there is a possibility to make this film but I would definitely need to get backing for it.