WORDS Rachel “Bagels” Bruskoff ILLUSTRATION Kris Haro
It is absolutely incredible to witness the growth of women in skateboarding as more and more girls find love on four wheels. There are many females out in the spotlight, tearing it up in videos, appearing in magazines, getting epic photos, and conquering competitions. There are even more ladies shredding behind the scenes that you may not know of yet, and I’m looking to introduce you to them.
In this second installment of That’s What She Said I’d like to introduce you to a few of the most badass female rippers I know from across the globe.
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Grace Wong Wellington, New Zealand
Grace is one of the most motivated skaters I’ve met. Being one of the very few ladies skating in her home town of Wellington, New Zealand, she stays strong and pushes the boundaries. She is a leading force; helping her local skate scene, organizing sessions, arranging road trips, learning new things, and keeping up with the boys. We met during the Mt. Ruapehu race in New Zealand and even within the rain, hail, fog, and freezing temperatures she was mobbing down the race course with a smile on her face. Nothing will hold this girl back. Her determination and passion for skating keeps a smile glued to her face. Big plans are in her future as she seeks new opportunities and hopes to travel the world via her skateboard. She thrives off adventure wherever she can find it and loves every minute on her board. She will be popping up all over the place in the coming year, so make sure to keep up!
Fun Facts: She’s recently married, is attempting to raise an army of sea monkeys, and puns are her favorite.
Yvonne Byers California, USA
If you don’t know this lady by now, pay attention. She is a NorCal shredder who can do pretty much anything on a board. Her energy and positive vibes make everything she does seem effortless, and her bag of tricks is endless. I experienced the pleasure of watching her skate multiple times, and am always blown away. Her ease with slides is incredible and her ability to try any new trick on any terrain is inspiring. Watching her skate has made me want to make myself more well-rounded on a board and even hit more parks. She is the definition of skate-everything, shredding anything she possibly can. Her home town is San Francisco and she absolutely slays the insanely crazy, famous hills out there. She is also an incredibly talented artist, making appearances on skateboards, clothing, magazines, and in local art shows. Her attitude radiates stoke and love and she always has a smile on her face.
Fun Facts: She loves Hawaii, loves to dissect and discover things about bugs and nature; and she makes clothing, wallets, and a bunch of other awesome handmade goodies!
Lyde Begue Lyon, France
Lyde and I met while racing Kozakov in the Czech Republic during the 2015 Eurotour. We took one run down the road together and instantly sensed magic. Never before had I felt so comfortable skating near a new friend than with Lyde. Her ease on her board and her ability to keep close, but be safe and push it just as hard as I, was remarkable. From then on out, we shared so many close runs; holding hands, bump-drafting, and pushing each other to take the best lines and go faster. We traveled around the Alps, to Verdicchio: a IDF race in Italy, and around France skating all that we could, mimicking each other’s styles and feeling cozy next to each other on our boards. She demonstrates her ease at racing amongst any and all competition. She secured the title of French champion, has won many races, podiumed at even more events, and is a strong contender against the boys. When she isn’t racing, she enjoys raging down the Alps in France, and working on her freeride game; having the most dialed squat-slides I have ever seen. Her domination of the competition last year was only the beginning. I’m sure 2016 will be seeing more of this lady, so be on the lookout!
Fun Facts: She has been featured skating in commercials for European companies (I really don’t know what the product they were selling was. . .), has a new found love for breakfast sandwiches, and loves the color yellow.
Amanda ‘Panda’ Caloia California, USA
This lady is one of the gnarliest rippers I know and is such a free spirit with an infectious smile and vibe. She and I share a love for the hills of Malibu and I have shredded some of my most memorable runs together. Amanda’s natural athletic ability on a skateboard is inspiring and her skillful yet comfortable riding pushes me to strive to be a better downhill skater. She’s been healing up from a gnarly injury, but the girl is one of Malibu’s top shredders and can slay any pavement. Originally hailing From New York, but now living in Los Angeles, Miss Panda has quickly become comfortable hauling ass down the local asphalt slopes, ripping the skate parks, and shredding ramps whenever she has the opportunity. She is one of the gnarliest downhill rippers I know, so keep your eyes peeled and expect to see more of this badass lady in 2016.
Fun Facts: Amanda enjoys curry, a lot!, she has an energetic pit bull named Boulder; and she loves to surf, skate, and snowboard all in one day.
Sylvia Mena San Jose, Costa Rica
I met Sylvia while racing in Colombia and had the best time sharing our passion of raging down hills. She has a love affair with her skateboard that no one can break and she plans on shredding as much as she can. Even when life gets hard, she comes back to her board stronger than before. Her love for skating runs deep in her bones; almost literally. She is truly the summation of the word perseverance. From broken to rotting bones, pins to keep her together, car accidents, to occasional road rash and bruises, she has beaten through adversity most people cannot even imagine and always stays strong. She truly is a fighter and loves any chance she can to battle on her skateboard. In the last year she got a taste for racing and fell in love with the competitive side of it, making her want more. She is crazy-fast and determined to take down any competition and will be on the hunt in 2016! She plans on extending her reach out of Costa Rica to compete around the world. She is crazy-fast and determined to take down any competition and will be on the hunt in 2016! Keep an eye out for this one!
Fun Facts: Her favorite color is green. She almost lost her leg in 2015.
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These 5 ladies above are some wonderful examples of girls who are constantly killing it in their own personal way on a skateboard. They are incredible shredders within their countries and amazing influences for any girl learning how to ride. But this is only the tip of the iceberg! Throughout the world, there are numerous girls who ride and are worthy of celebration, and through my That’s What She Said column here at Wheelbase I will do my best to highlight them and via their skating. If you know anyone who you think should be featured here, leave a comment below so we can check them out. This is only the beginning as many more ladies will be celebrated in the coming months!