When Atita Verghese was 19, she fell in love with skateboarding, when she realized that brick and mortar, monotonous education was not fulfilling her inner humanoid. She wanted to learn something new before getting back to her studies, so she took a year off school. As an intrepid adventurer, she got fascinated by skating and got into the male-dominated sport, and would travel every day to her local skatepark to go skateboard with the guys in the park.
Eventually, Atita Verghese became India’s first professional female skateboarder and began to dedicate herself to getting more girls to skate. In 2012, the Bengaluru girl began teaching skateboarding to underprivileged children and has helped build 10 skate parks in India with the assistance of HolyStoked, a skateboarding collective. She’s also founded Girl Skate India, an online community that encourages girls and women to take up skateboarding. “I’m hoping to reach out to girls and get them excited to skate, to get out of their comfort zones, and to see if their passion lies in this realm.”
Skateboarding, she says, not only gets girls into athletics but also teaches perseverance, teamwork, confidence, balance, coordination, and endurance, “things that can help women grow stronger mentally and physically”. Atita Verghese wants to help create a place where girls and women can feel validated and grow in a positive environment that they helped create. In 2016, Atita hosted the first ever all-female skate tour in India, where female skateboarders embark on a skateboarding journey through India.
Watch Atita Verghese speaking at TEDxPESITBSC