By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
Humanity is currently living through one of the most important events in this XXI century's history, the first pandemic registered that made the whole world stop for a while, many people around the world have had to suffer to the loss of a person dear to them as well as their own freedom of movement and work.
The pandemic started at the end of the last year but it was in 2020 that all the countries were alert to the spreading infection and the virus began to be noticed around the world.
A lot of people have had to stay in their homes and with time passing by the pandemic has started to be normalized in some ways. We have been asked to wear masks and follow biosecurity protocols, even though a lot of people haven't taken it seriously.
However, there have been a lot of different opinions about it all because staying at home affects the mental health of people, especially for those who don't feel comfortable staying indoors at home or away from work, so one topic for discussion has been sports and activites.
The first effort was the viability to do sport outside. Many couldn't just work at home, take for example those who are active athletes, for this group strict confinement at home isn't a solution, which pushes the governments to open for possibilities to go out during the pandemic.
Places like the United States or Europe are going by a normal process, people move around without any restrictions, and if we look at skateboarding, people have enjoyed the cities and skateparks as they probably never did before. This is also evident by an explosion in sales of skateboards all over the world
But in the case of Egypt the situation is not just about Covid-19, maybe because of the culture and limited places suitable to skate, something that Egyptian Streets have talked about in their interviews.
Egyptian Streets made a report about how Egyptians are doing their favorites sports like skateboarding during this quarantine, so we met Amenah Abouward and Mostafa Karama who showed to the audience what they have lived this year.
Amenah is a skater girl who started to skate in 2019, “I’ve just always wanted to try it so one day last year I just went online and ordered a skateboard locally and started teaching myself to skate!” Amenah Abouward told to Egyptian Streets.
She has now been skateboarding for her first year, an important time to learn basics concepts like controlling the board, however, the Covid-19 made her stop for a while but as soon as she had the chance to go out, she just rolled around the city on her skateboard.
“It’s a nice way to go out and get a breath of fresh air without worrying about social distancing", She says. She hasn't gone out to a public skatepark, but is definitely enjoying her board and passing time with herself outside.
It's really nice to see how people get into skateboarding because skateboarding gives you freedom, self-confidence and challenges you every day with any new trick, no matter if it is "easy" or "hard".
Shahd El Ashmawy
El Ashmawy is a new skateboarder who started during this pandemic and thanks to the popular social media TikTok, she learned that what really inspires her to do skateboarding was to see videos on the platform.
“I try to skate as much as I can but Egypt isn’t really the safest of places to learn so progress has been a bit slow", she told Egyptian Streets. For her, it has been nice to say yes to a new challenge like skateboarding.
For sure, if you want to start in this world you will have to accept the falls, pains, regrets, injuries, dirty clothes, broken shoes, but these come coupled a lot of fun. The competition is with yourself and if you really want to see results you just need a good attitude and enough passion to get better and succeed.
For a girl in Egypt it probably might be more difficult to practice skateboarding without being observed by the society, El Ashmawy said that "streets aren’t really safe, especially for girls because it ends up with catcalls amongst other things".
She exclaims that there isn't much of a skateboarding community and so there are not many places to skate, she explained that spots, street and even in clubs the ground "isn’t smooth and has a lot of breakages and pebbles and irregularities, all of which could toss you off your board very easily."
Despite these negative features about skating in Egypt, she also feels that skateboarding is always challenging her to become better, also she knows that this is a sport that requires patience, so she is taking her time but is making sure she continues on doing it.
Even with the difficulties of skate in this country, Mostafa Karama has been skateboarding for almost 9 years, enjoying the Egyptian landscapes and infrastructure to skate the streets.
Karama founded the community Egypt Skateboarding Hub together with other skaters, a project that helps them to be more united. On their Instagram profile you will find posts of the best riders of the place and also how the community is developing.
He said that skateboarding continues to be difficult to practice during this time, however, this hasn't stopped them in rolling around and enjoying it.
"Unlike the gym or university, it was a privilege for me during quarantine that I could still skate, and it definitely helped me", he said to Egyptian Streets media, he added that he takes his precautions and doing it outside in empty spaces.
This year has been full of unplanned changes, but of course, if you really love to do physical activities, your life will be richer and less boring. All the world has had to adapt and now, let's keep the perspective to think that we have another chance to make it right and take our skateboard with us to enjoy our cities just like we have always done.
Read also: Skaterhood: Skateboarding Without Borders