It’s a group for all those who, because of their gender identity, are structurally marginalised in patriarchy
It’s no secret that snowboarding is a male-dominated sport, but over the years, we’ve seen a significant change here, and the community is moving to become more diverse. However, change doesn’t happen overnight, and we’ve got organisations like Super Friendly Society to thank for their hard work helping to result in change.
Super Friendly Society is a FLINTA (female, lesbian, inter, non-binary, trans, and agender people who are not cisgender-male) identifying group from Switzerland. In other words, “it’s a group for all those who, because of their gender identity, are structurally marginalised in patriarchy”.
By hosting open events and increasing FLINTA representation in magazines, Super Friendly Society aims to create an easily approachable, safe space for people who feel passionate about snowboarding, skiing, skating, and surfing but haven’t yet received the chance to see themselves represented in these cultures/communities.
Founded by a group of seven like-minded people , Zoë (she/her), Laila (she/-), Smilla (they/none), Lynn (she/her), Dana (she/her), Larina (she/her) and Loan (none/they), each FLINTA-identifying with a passion for boardsports. .
We want to make people more aware of other people’s boundaries, surroundings, emotions, and challenges, and to create a community where topics like inequality and mental health can be openly discussed, and what we as individuals can do to help
The founders connected through an online group chat, and after meeting up a few times in real life, it became clear to them that they should combine their skills to do something to support FLINTA riders.
“The snowboard, ski, skate & surf industry as of today is still a very binarily gendered world, and since our lived reality does not fit into just those two gender categories, it is important to us to reflect this in our language,” Lynn explains.
“Snowboarding and skateboarding, especially street, is about roughness, struggle, risk, excess, rage, partying, and success - it's the culture. And I do have the biggest respect for people who are out there doing the most rad shit. Still, this culture started and developed in a patriarchal society, so maybe it's time to ask ourselves why this is the culture,” Laila tells us.
Fighting to change this, the Super Friendly Society organises events driven by inclusivity. In 2023, the crew had their first shot at being part of organising an event at the Closing Cup in Laax. After its huge success, the crew realised they should create more spaces like this and introduced the Super Friendly Playground – a creative and inclusive park. “Right now, we’re already planning two playgrounds for season 23/24.”, Lynn tells us.
By hosting inclusive events, Super Friendly Society seeks to amplify images and visions of people showing up in spaces where they didn’t before, but also to change these spaces, communities, and environments. “Events, jams, competitions, gatherings, dinners, whatever, look different when conceptualised and implemented by FLINTA people. And I believe that if you see a person in snowboarding you can identify with, that influences your snowboarding. By actively making a conscious choice to invite the same amount of FLINTA riders to events as men, pushing video edits including FLINTA riders, writing articles, doing interviews, and hiring FLINTA photographers and filmers, society can push for a change that can result in a more diverse community.” Smilla explains.
The connections we can make with talking about our passions are so great and motivating, and the feedback we get is empowering and shows us that we are on the right track with building up this community
Organising open, inclusive events isn’t the only thing the group does to promote change, and last year, they released their first magazine – with the second one dropping in December 2023. Motivated by their love for print, but the lack of FLINTA representation, the magazine is put together by a joint effort by FLINTA people world – and industry – wide.
“We wanted to have a real representation of the FLINTA people out there, so we did an Open Call to collect input, and people could send in texts, drawings and illustrations. In July, we also held an SFS skate sesh in Bern, and everybody was invited to do some collage work with the photos that were going to be in the magazine.” Lynn explains.
She continues, “We are very grateful that Burton and some other sponsors (JUPA Bern, El Tony, Doodah) supported us in bringing the second issue to print and bringing that object back to the community where it hopefully inspires many.”
Zoë, too, shares her thoughts on putting together the magazine, “The connections we can make with talking about our passions are so great and motivating, and the feedback we get is empowering and shows us that we are on the right track with building up this community.” “There are so many cool, badass, skilled, stylish, intelligent, creative, caring, dedicated, bold FLINTA riders out there!” Lynn adds.
By dropping the magazine, the SFS crew seeks to motivate more FLINTA-identifying people to feel comfortable doing what they want and to let them know they are seen. The magazine is a way of giving FLINTA riders the representation they deserve whilst also being a communal creative process.
Meet The Super Friendly Society
It is about making connections, discussing your feelings openly and actively doing something to receive more space,
Zoë is currently studying to become a social worker. She started on skis, but inspired by watching people riding the park, she switched to snowboarding at 12. She’s also a keen skater and has found that both skating and snowboarding have helped her cope with stress, build her confidence, and overcome fear.
Laila is doing her bachelor's in fine arts and switched from skiing to snowboarding when she was 11. Growing up, she remembers feeling intimidated at the snow and skate parks, but through the years, she’s gained confidence and found a way to turn off that mindset and go for it.
Smilla remembers first feeling hesitant to reach out to the Super Friendly Society due to their shyness but is glad they did in the end. They also started on skis and switched to snowboarding when they were 12, looking for a more playful way to ride the mountain.
Lynn is a graphic designer who’s currently also studying to become a type designer. She’s been skiing since she was five but only recently got into riding park, thanks to the SFS group giving her the confidence she needed to get there. Motivated by the disappointment in the lack of representation of FLINTA people in the ski/surf/skate industry, Lynn was looking for like-minded FLINTA people who shared her motivation to try and change that, and that’s how Super Friendly Society came about.
Dana is a trained mediamatician who works independently on graphics, photography, and videography projects. She switched from skiing to snowboarding at seven but was always missing the like-minded people to share the passion of snowboarding with. After becoming part of the SFS, she has reached a new level of comfort with her riding.
Larina is graduating as an interior architect next spring. Around the age of 10, inspired by magazines and videos, she took the initiative to learn to snowboard. However, up until becoming part of the SFS crew, she never felt truly secure in her environment, and she hopes that their collective will help inspire more FLINTA people to make videos and be part of magazines.
Loan is a photographer living in Bern. Their journey into skiing started at the very young age of two, as their parents were both ski instructors. As a trans nonbinary person, Loan sees the importance of more representation of FLINTA people everywhere - as well as within snowboarding – and hopes for “a better, more diverse and inclusive future, accepting everyone for who they are.”
Through Super Friendly Society, Zoë and the others have found a safe space in snowboarding, which has helped them to talk and deal with their insecurities, thus allowing them to feel more comfortable and open with who they are. “It is about making connections, discussing your feelings openly and actively doing something to receive more space,” Zoë explains. She continues, “We want to make people more aware of other people’s boundaries, surroundings, emotions, and challenges, and to create a community where topics like inequality and mental health can be openly discussed, and what we as individuals can do to help.”
'Narrate' an exhibition by SFS @ Riders Hotel, Laax, 15.02.24–16.03.24
Super Friendly Playground @ GMP Adelboden-Lenk, 23.03.24.
Vernissage @ Riders Hotel, Laax, 15.2.24
Super Friendly Playground @ Laax Closing Cup: 11.04.24-14.03.24