Extreme Estrogen

Gnarly girls grind: Lake-loving ladies learn to wakeboard at Op Girls Learn to Ride.
Steven Hahn

It is common knowledge that girls rule and boys drool. Also, while boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to Mars to get more candy bars. These are immutable laws of the universe. Or, at least, as far as we remember from our jump rope days. Ah, that innocent period of "recess"--seeing who could claim the swings first, picking up quarters under the monkey bars and, of course, sharpening our double Dutch skills. We never wondered how stupid Cinderella would have to be to mistake a snake for her fella, or exactly how Miss Susie ended up in heaven while the steamboat landed in...hello operator. Safe in our rhythmic rhyming world, we'd never heard of skateboarding, wakeboarding or BMX bikes. Tumbling was our extreme sport.

We knew that girls ruled the playground, but we didn't know they could rule skate parks and local lakes, too. Op Girls Learn to Ride--a series of girls-only action sports clinics that hits Dallas this weekend--is here to school us 'bout that. Founder Mark Sperling was inspired to create the program when he and his girlfriend became frustrated in his attempts to teach her surfing and snowboarding. Thinking she--and other women--would benefit from professional sports instruction, he organized the first Girls Learn to Ride events in 1999. Now, at the five-year mark, having gained sponsorship from Ocean Pacific Apparel (Op) and others, GLTR is riding high. Across North America, they've taught females from ages 4 to 60-plus skills in skateboarding, wakeboarding, snowboarding, motocross, surfing, BMX and mountain biking. Plus, they welcome all proficiency levels, from first-time riders to girls who want help nailing gnarly tricks.

Since Dallas offers little snow or surf, GLTR offers adventuresome ladies instruction in skateboarding and BMX at the ESPN X Games Skatepark, 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, and a wakeboarding clinic at Sneaky Pete's, Two Eagle Point Road, on Lake Lewisville. The skateboarding and BMX clinics are open to females age 6 and older, and a $40 fee includes three hours of instruction, helmet and pad rentals, a goody bag and a donation to Boarding for Breast Cancer, an education and awareness foundation that believes active lifestyles and early detection are the best tools to fight breast cancer. You must provide your own board or bike. The four-hour wakeboarding clinic costs $62, is open to females age 9 and older and includes the use of equipment, a goody bag, a subscription to Wakeboarding magazine and a donation to Boarding for Breast Cancer. Participants should bring a bathing suit, wetsuit (optional), towel, sunscreen and warm clothing. Whether you're 7 or 77, the GLTR clinics can offer new skills, sports safety info and greater confidence to just get out there and grind it.


Op Girls Learn to Ride wakeboarding clinic will be held May 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Skateboarding and BMX clinics will be held May 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. Advance registration is strongly recommended as space is limited. Notarized waivers or parental attendance is required for participants under 18. Visit www.opgirlslearntoride.com.

Thanks to Op Girls Learn to Ride events, today's girls don't have to rely on foursquare or hopscotch--or, for that matter, Jazzercise and Cardio Salsa--to fill their summer days, not when they can be out there thrashing and ripping and gleaming the cube...whatever that means.

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