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Meet Jay Cardoza and Sarah Rewell of GrlSwirl San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay Cardoza and Sarah Rewell.

Jay and Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
GrlSwirl was founded in LA by eight women who met as strangers. They formed a community within Venice and quickly found the necessity of expanding when numerous people throughout the country & the world were so inspired by their actions and wanted to build a GrlSwirl community in their own cities. The energy of the meetups is contagious. In February of 2020, we held our first group skate as the leaders of Grlswirl San Diego, and we were amazed to see 60 attendees: womxn + queer, who showed up to skate with us. We took over the streets of Ocean Beach, taking up space and turning heads. Within a few hours, it already felt like we were forming a family. It’s amazing to see people coming to our meetups who have never once stepped on a board, and they leave proud of themselves and empowered.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest struggle so far has definitely been the Pandemic. We have been trying to nurture a community without being able to actually skate together. Fortunately, social media has really helped us to fill that gap. At the beginning of the Pandemic, all of the GrlSwirl leaders from around the country came together and created social media content to stay in touch and to help support our community during hard times. We all had to go from being able to skate with our friends to skating alone. For beginners, that can be hard to do when you don’t have any guidance or friends to help you. We created skateboarding tutorial videos to provide that guidance for people who were discovering their passion for skateboarding and practicing their skills at home during quarantine. The leaders in LA put together a fundraiser to raise money for those in need in their community. Although we were not able to meet up physically for over six months, we were able to continue to grow, teach and connect with our San Diego community.

Please tell us about GrlSwirl San Diego.
GrlSwirl is a collective of individuals who want to connect over their passion of skateboarding. We strive to provide a space for women, non-binary and trans folks to feel safe. The skateboarding industry is heavily dominated by males, so we don’t necessarily always feel comfortable. We both started skating a couple of years back, and we were grateful to have a small group of friends to help us feel empowered at the skate park because it can definitely be scary to go alone. We are building this community so that women and queer folks don’t need to learn to skate on their own anymore, they have us and they have an entire community to support them and help them. It’s an empowering revolution and we want to make space for the people who need it. Skate parks can be busy and intimidating so we usually find a quiet neighborhood or street to meet up at instead to ensure everyone feels comfortable. We are so proud of our community so far and it is only the beginning. Each meet up is filled with good energy, laughs and smiles. People come by themselves and leave knowing they now have a community of new friends.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The founders of GrlSwirl LA and the leaders of GrlSwirl New York are definitely our biggest mentors. We’re talking hours of calls discussing ideas, sharing our different stories and advice about each community. We look up to all 10 of them, it’s like a family. The girls from LA come down to our group skates to back us up and offer insight and support, we are so lucky to have them. The girls from New York are insanely creative and smart; They always inspire the way we approach our skates. Our community also deserves credit because without them, there would be no meetups. Everyone is so genuine and are there for the sole purpose of skating and connecting with others. You look around at our skates and see people teaching each other, filming each other, and cheering each other on. We have never seen anything like it and are so grateful that we have the opportunity to experience it.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @grlswirlsandiego

Image Credit:

@keroulz, @eddygrom, @subpervibes, @_kmac_and_cheese_

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