The first time Poppy Starr Olsen picked up a skateboard she was eight and as many years later she has become the best female in the world at what she loves.

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Poppy Starr: Bondi's 16 year-old leading lady of skating


The 16 year old from New South Wales is so relaxed and down to earth it's hard to believe there is a daredevil just bursting to come out.

She has competed against men and gained admiration from some of the best in the game for her attitude and talent.

"I put her into ballet, she had tennis lessons, to do all these lovely, safe things which would have been wonderful… but no," Mum Thomas laughs.

"You've just got to go with it. You've got to do what they love and it makes them a good, happy kid."

Skateboarding took Poppy Starr from Bondi Beach's famed Bowlarama, with the support of the world’s greatest ever skateboarder Tony Hawke, to Santa Monica, California to compete against the best in the world.

At just 15 she took out the 'El Gato' competition in California, both in her age group and overall.

She traveled to the event with Sunday Night, hoping to claim a spot in the finals.

"These are the best female bowl skaters in the world, so I just wanted to get top 10 I thought that would be amazing"

After being named in the top three she faced off her opponents in the best of three runs, the first of which she nailed followed by two falls.

"I swear I didn't have a grey hair before she started skating!" Thomas said.

It was a nail-biting wait for the results, but Poppy blew the judges away.

"I kept on saying, they've forgotten me, it's ok guys they've forgotten me," Poppy said.

"And then they read out her name she was in shock. Absolute shock," mum Thomas said.

Poppy was named the best female in the world and has continued on a whirlwind tour of the globe to continue competing.

The family shared with Sunday Night home movies of Poppy learning to skate with her dad in Bondi, a nervous pre-teen discovering her passion.

"I remember at Bondi Skate Park I learnt how to 'Drop In' and my dad was holding my hands," Poppy said.

"I remember there was a bunch of teenage guys there cheering me on."

"At the time that girls just didn't really do it, I guess I don't know if I thought that they were brave enough or just had no interest."

But she is generating a lot of interest with a huge social media following and celebrity fans helping her 'lead the charge' for girls in the sport.

Poppy has also recently claimed first prize in the pro division of the California Vans Girls Combi Pool Classic, the second youngest competitor to take out the event.

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