Girls I've got news yuh: Skateboarding is no longer "boys only" territory. Just ask any of the kick-butt lady pro instructors at this year's All-Girl Skate Jam Skate Camp. I was there to check it out firsthand with my buds from Teen. (As interns, we open your reader mail, fetch the editors' mochachinos and sometimes even get to write stories like this one!) I met girl skaters from all over the world who had come to rule the course, dominate the ramps and pass on their amazing skating skills to us newbies. Because I'd never set foot on a skateboard, pro-instructor den O'Brien had her work cut out for her. No worries, she said she could teach me to skate in three easy steps.

* How to fall. I was thinking the whole idea was not to fall, but you actually need to learn how to take a fall the right way to keep yourself from getting majorly hurt. den set me up with a helmet, knee and elbow pads and showed me how to hit the pavement on my knees--it's better than falling on your arms, or your head for that matter--ouch.

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* Get on board. I planted my feet on the board over the bolts (where the wheels attach), and pushed off with my left foot. Jen kept telling us to feel the board as an extension of our feet. "Bend your knees and move with it; you control the board."

* Carve away: "Carving" is basically steering the board. It involves the subtle tilt of your weight to your toes or heels to turn the nose of the skateboard left or right. It's much harder than it sounds. Lucky for me, I had already mastered the technique of failing.


* Extra credit: The halfpipe: Lessons complete, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. "Great," Jen said. "Now it's time for the halfpipe." Huh? I followed her gaze to see a girl gracefully skating up and down the U-shaped walls around us at an amazing speed. Yeah, right. I was superintimidated by the 10-foot walls that loomed on either side of me, but Jen said all I had to do was stay on the board and keep it pointed straight. She took my hands and ran with me on the "fakies" or transitions, up one wail and back down. After a couple runs, I got the hang of the "pumping" needed to gain the momentum to do (well, attempt) all those crazy-cool tricks you see on TV. On the way up the wail, you straighten your legs and lift up for an almost weightless feeling at the peak, and then push your body down and into the board in the opposite direction to gain the speed to sail up the other wall. Now I was ready to try the halfpipe on my own. A little help on the departure and I was flying, racing up one wail and down the oth er. It was incredible!

As I headed cut the door with my new skater-girl friends, some nice guy who worked there gave me his old skateboard! He said I could keep it as long as I promised to use it. My fellow Teen interns said he had a crush on me, but I think he just saw me out there and knew I could use the practice. Later, skaters!


Shredding: Skating awesome. "The girl was shredding!"

Stuck it (or planted it): "I stuck it," means you made it.

ollie: Tail tap that lifts the entire skateboard off the ground.

fakie: Skating backward. "I did the trick, but I did it fakie."

mctwist: An aerial with a back flip.

grinding: Grind along the curb, not on your wheels but on your trucks.

face plant: Putting your face into the pavement (i.e., wiping out). Ouch!

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