Professional skateboarding isn’t just for boys and these female skateboarders are here to prove it. Meet Skater Uktis, an all-female, Muslim skate crew that is breaking down stereotypes one flip at a time. It was first banded as a response to the lack of Muslim girls showing interest in skateboarding, with the aim to connect with like-minded skaters all around the world, and empower the next generation of ethical leaders.
The skating crew was established in January 2020, in London, and had since grown to include 23 members. The crew would usually host meetups, especially before the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, it runs in England, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Australia, USA, Nigeria, Tanzania, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Tunisia, Iraq, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The name “Uktis” is based on the Arabic word "Ukhti," which translates as “my sister,” reflecting the social bonds shared by crew members. When they aren't skateboarding, the sisterhood hosts virtual meetups to discuss spiritual and personal development known as halaqah. These are titled “Spiritual Seshes” with discussions including leadership, mindfulness, and race, among others. The crew hopes to nurture positive social change in society by encouraging its members to partake in community projects.
“The two main goals are to develop spiritually together and develop as skaters. One thing in Islam we know is we’re all born to be a leader. Whether you’re influencing a younger sibling, a friend, or a community of people, that automatically puts you in a leadership position and we wanted to become better ethical leaders together,” the founder said in a quote by gal-dem.
Indeed, spirituality and skateboarding are two things that appeal to members like Zara Rawat, a London-based student and one of the early crew members. As she told gal-dem, she appreciates being in an all-female space where fellow members could ask questions, and share female perspectives on Islam and social issues. “With Skater Uktis, it’s easier for me to ask questions, communicate, and to go through different routes and paths,” she said.