If you know GEO well, you would know we are all about community builders and Crystal Raines is certainly one of them. Along with her friends Bri and Ashley, she started Board 2 Tears, a skate meetup and safe space for women, nonbinary, and LGBTQIA2s+ identities who find parks intimidating. Although in its early days, their amazing and inclusive community is growing quickly. They also have a very special Halloween themed meetup coming up soon and that's why this week You Gotta Know: Crystal Raines & Board 2 Tears!
GEO: Yo Crys!! How’s it going? How has 2021 been treating ya so far?
Crys: 2021 has been a special year. Board 2 Tears has been blessed with mentorship from Skate Like a Girl and their support has changed everything. After being on hiatus through most of 2020 it feels so good to be back!
GEO: What was the last text message you sent?
Crys: The last text message I sent was boring: “Now we can just get the lil shit we need without a fuss. Good start to the day. Hope you have a positive Friday”.
GEO: We recently met at GEO’s fREE THE STrEETS event at LA Skate Club! Did you catch the vibes?
Crys: I heard about the event through Skate Like a Girl. Happy I went, vibes at the GEO sesh were incredible and by that I mean there was pizza. Pizza is the window to the soul. It was dope to see so many girls shredding. I liked the mix of allies and was pleasantly surprised by how nice everyone was. Especially GEO's FAMbassadors Haley and Lindsey! Shout out to you ladies!
GEO: You also have a rad skate meetup that’s growing fast called Board 2 Tears! Tell us more about it. How did it all come together?
Crys: Board 2 Tears is a skate collective run by 3 women of color. Myself, Bri Castaneda, and Ashley Ajayi. We host meetups throughout Los Angeles, encouraging safe spaces for women, nonbinary, and LGBTQIA2s+ identities who find parks intimidating. All levels are welcome. I love it; Everyone is your biggest cheerleader. The goal is progression, community building, and empowerment. No cliques or hater bullshit, just love.
GEO: You have a sweet Halloween event coming up. What can people expect?
Crys: B2T's Trucks or Treat is a Halloween costume sesh for all levels on Oct 30th. Free goodie bags, food, games, and prizes!
GEO: Do mermaids have live babies or lay eggs?
Crys: Now I'm not sure where the hell you expect a whole ass baby to come out of a mermaid but that is a funny question. We on some seahorse energy and say screw the patriarchy, make the men do it!
GEO: You grew up in LA. How have you seen the skate scene here evolve over the last few years?
Crys: The skate scene in LA has always been underrated and looked down on. Media trash branded skating and portrayed it as something for burnout "losers". That really undercuts how hard skating is and all the discipline it takes to get good. Skating is meditation, strength, exercise, patience, I could go on. The no-fucks era is back and the streets are now covered in skaters. Quarantine forced everyone to open their mind to trying new things. Since then, the biggest change in the LA skate scene is definitely the rise of the female skater, that fat skater, the "old" skater. It's sick to see couples cruising with their kids down the street. I wish I saw that when I was growing up. These are exciting times.
GEO: As someone that shares a similar mission to GEO, what are the things that you think could improve in skateboarding to make it feel more inclusive and welcoming to all?
Crys: I think there is room for inclusivity everywhere. From cis-dudes introducing themselves at the parks and having patience with beginners sharing the parks to companies and indoor parks offering their support to marginalized groups looking to skate in a safe space.
GEO: If you had to spread a rumor about yourself, what would it be?
Crys: The only rumor I wanna hear is going to a Board 2 Tears sesh leaves you feeling empowered and you made friends.
GEO: In a perfect world, what would 2022 look like for you?
Crys: 2022 should be an interesting year. I hope to be a well-oiled machine by then. LA is blasted with artists of every medium, I want to fuse skating with art and have an art walk sesh. I have so many ideas. Board 2 Tears is still in its infancy and I look forward to seeing where it goes as well as collaborating with other initiatives.