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  • Writer's pictureSDG

Skateboarding was for the boys. This shredding 12-year-old is changing that.

It’s a male dominated sport, but that didn’t stop Zoe Herishen from getting girls her age to skateboard four years ago.

The pre-teen from Woodridge, who is now 12-years-old, was just 8 when she came up with the idea to create a space for girls to learn.

“When I went to the skate park, I was the only girl there, so I felt a little left out," Zoe said.

Not anymore, not since she rolled out “Chica de Mayo," a skate event where girls of all ages and ability can come do their thing.

She’s had three events so far, and the next one is from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Ocean City Skate Park, 550 Asbury Avenue.

“I wanted to make this event where I could make all girls not feel alone, make them feel like...there is a place to skateboard," Zoe said.

It’s working. Each year, 25 to 30 girls have come out, and that number spiked to 40 last year. On Sunday, Zoe is looking for 50.

She’s building up a following and rekindling a desire in her peers who felt isolated.

“Some of them wanted to quit skateboarding because they didn’t feel welcome," Zoe said. “I was happy that they were getting back into it."

You go, Zoe.

Zoe’s family helped out with the first one in Brooklyn, New York. But now, she does most of the work and organizing. Her mother, Tracey Herishen, takes care of the sponsors, while Zoe brings in the skaters and makes them feel comfortable.

When Zoe began to skate four years ago, there weren’t many skating events for girls at the skate park.

“Any skating event she went to, it was focused on the boys," her mother said. “It was very intimating for girls when they’re learning in a skate park with boys who are really good."

Zoe, however, wasn’t nervous. She’s used to boys. Zoe has two older brothers -- ages 14 and 22 -- who skate and surf. She does, too.

“She always wanted to do what the boys do," her mother said.

But this Sunday is for the girls. The day caters mostly to girls who are starting out. One section of the skate park will be for them, while another area is for girls who are more skilled.

There will be healthy snacks, a glitter tattoo station, a craft table for painting skateboards, and food.

And, the annual event has a cool name. Zoe likes the Cinco de Mayo holiday, and colors in the mask associated with the Mexican culture. She dropped Cinco for Chica, which means young girl, so her event would have different flair.

Now, she’ hoping the forecast does not get in the way.

If so, the rain date is May 11. Same time, same place. For more information, follow her Instagram @zoeherishen.


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