When Maria Arndt first took interest in longboarding, she started off where many modern skaters go to immerse themselves in the culture - the internet. There, she would go on to discover that amidst the the male-oriented footage that monopolizes the internet, the majority of female-oriented coverage she saw was characterized by bikini-clad models posing with boards instead of riding them. In person, however, Arndt saw female skaters shredding contests in Berlin and began questioning why she was unable to find representation of that kind of female skateboarding online. On a later trip to Culver City with the Loaded Boards crew, Arndt began chatting and shooting photos with Ambassadors Amanda Caloia and Micaela Wilson she began to realize that the ripping photos she was taking were exactly the kind of representation she had been searching for.
Back home in Germany, Arndt wished for the photos she had shot to gain greater exposure and started thinking of ways to better encourage the passion that these female skaters had to be seen. Before long, the graphic design student began to fuse her passion for longboarding with her studies by creating and compiling the Steptionary, a series of animated trick tips that break down the complex movements of Cross Steps, Peter Pans and Walk The Planks.
Eventually, Arndt would take things a step further and use the opportunity to create a magazine for her final project as a way to further encourage her goals for proper representation of women in skateboarding. With that, S’Pin Skate, as it came to be known, was born.
Taking the form of a printed publication defined by a cool-colored aesthetic, the inaugural issue of the magazine contained interviews from top female riders including Kate Voynova, essays on the psychological aspects of skateboarding, breakdowns of gear and of course, a handful of trick tips. Supplemented by Arndt’s talents in the art department, the magazine comes across as a playful yet informative account of a dedicated female skateboarder’s take on the culture aimed at those looking for a relatable sense of input on the topic.
Though this pursuit began in the physical form, the challenge of managing a work/life balance while pursuing S*pin on the side led Arndt to focus her efforts on the digital end of the operation and using S*pin as more of a platform for women to both learn from and interact with. As she continued to immerse herself more in the culture, the content that S*pin went on to release reflected a more expansive effort in helping newcomers and females further their longboarding abilities. Trick tips for downhill and freeride manuvers began to pop up while the number of stories and personal accounts multiplied. At the same time, new content started to drop in ways that never would have been possible through the medium of print. For example, S*pin’s series of Spotify playlists provide an immersive experience into the minds of some of the most talented female skaters out there by showing others what sort of music helps them get into their zone when they go out shredding.
Another important concept that this collaboration ensures is that female longboarders are able to learn from other females. By turning the tables, putting women in the role of the instructor and adding some slow motion footage, Arndt has acknowledged these trick tips as some of the most important pieces of female-centric content that S*pin has published. Speaking on this, she emphasized the significance of, “[getting] women in the position of showing off their skills. Most of the trick tips are by men so this was very important for me to show women. This sounds very easy but I experience it as a difference and there are so many women who experience the same.”
Not only women have been inspired by Arndt’s work and the S*pin platform, however. Through compliments from male skaters and skaters from areas with inactive local scenes, she has seen the message spread across the globe and has received engagement on a global level. These engagements have been an important part of keeping the platform alive and up to speed with the demanding cycle of an ever-changing Instagram algorithm.
Regardless, no technical restraint has kept the quality of S*pin’s content from remaining as striking as when it was first introduced in print. Now, with a continued presence on the web and social media, Arndt remains open minded for the future of possible content and partnership. Speaking on the sense of collaboration that S*pin hopes to encourage, Arndt concluded by advising, “If you want to spread the word with a network, you can. If people want to use it, I’m very open to sharing it. This is why I built it."