11-year-old skateboarder aims to inspire girls and grow the sport in Delaware County

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Thursday, December 29, 2022
11-year-old skateboarder aims to inspire girls and grow the sport
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Francesca Shuda and her father are determined to ramp up the accessibility of skateboarding in Delaware County.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- She started off as a dancer, but 11-year-old Francesca Shuda discovered she'd rather show her moves at the skatepark than on stage.

Her trajectory changed when her father, Jim Shuda, once a professional rollerblader, built a half pipe in their backyard for him and his friends. But it sparked the curiosity of both of his children.

"I started pumping back and forth and watching videos and seeing all these people doing these tricks," said Francesca, who was especially inspired by 14-year-old professional skateboarder Sky Brown. "So, I started trying my best to learn that."

Francesca and her dad pushed forward into the world of skateboarding, but often had to travel far to find a proper park. Today, Action News met the family at Paine's Park next to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"My dad would, like, drive everywhere to all these skateparks and help me find tricks to do," said Francesca. "He's basically introduced me into this whole community."

With that community's support, the Shuda family is ramping up their efforts to make skateboarding more accessible.

"I'm on the board of what's called the Delco Skatepark Coalition, and we're looking to get more ADA-compliant skateparks built in our area," said Jim, "Welcoming all wheels to just help continue to build the community."

It's Francesca's wish that she particularly inspires more females to pick up a board.

"If I can show that you don't let skateboarding change your style, you make your own style, is what I really hope to inspire girls," she said.

Francesca Shuda is now sponsored by Meow Skateboards and hopes to travel the country and share her skills on a larger platform in the future. To keep up with her career, follow her on Instagram.

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