There are more girls skateboarding today than ever before. Us ladies are tearing up sidewalks, skateparks, mountain roads, and downhill races in every corner of the world. Sure, we might not all be throwing one-hundred foot slides, or kickflipping down 20-stairs, but we’re all having fun on our skateboards. How rad is that? We bring a different feminine vibe and style to the skateboard world, as well as a diversity that can balance and benefit the community. I swear that every time I cruise down the Venice Boardwalk I spark about a hundred smiles from bystanders, and just because I’m clearly having a good time on my board. They ask me a million questions and I give them all the answers they need to get rolling. I think that with the popularity of longboards and the more comfortable ride that they offer, skateboarding has become more appealing and accessible to all types of people. I’m personally stoked about it.
Not many girls will just jump into a sport that no other girls are doing. The girls that are not deterred by being the lone wolves use their determination and courage to excel against the odds. The fact of the matter is that gals have been shredding since the dawn of skateboarding and there are definitely some Founding Mothers that should be credited for paving the way.
Patty McGee was the first female professional skateboarder and a national champion. She was on the cover of Life Magazine in 1965 with an elegant handstand on her skateboard—showcasing to the world that women can in fact shred. Patty was also the first woman inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame on December 4th, 2010.
Elissa Steamer was the first female to, quite frankly, skate like a guy. She pushed her skills to the same level as the professional male skaters of the late 90’s, became a pro-skateboarder in 1998, and never looked back. She is still in the game today, skating for Zero, Nike SB, and Thunder. She has opened the eyes of everyone that some girls downright shred, and opened doors for the girls that want to.
Hoopla Skateboards is an all-female skateboard company founded by pro-skaters Mimi Knoop and Cara-Beth Burnside. It was “created with the intent to encourage both girls’ participation and progression in skateboarding” according to their website—where you can also find plenty of media of their all-star team of ladies. My favorite vert skater and fellow east coast native, Nora Vasconcellos, happens to be on the Hoopla team. This chick can flow through any transition with so much ease and so much style.
Longboard Girls Crew is an affiliation based out of Madrid, Spain that is dedicated to the growth of women’s skateboarding by providing outlets to help connect girls who skate. Since they started this powerful project in 2010, their Facebook page skyrocketed to 132,000 likes and their videos by Juan Rayos have gone viral with millions of views. The consensus is undeniable—the internet loves to see girls getting down on their skateboards.
Brianne Davies and Katie Neilson have broken records for women in downhill skateboarding for some years now. These gals have no problem racing against the guys, and winning. Brianne was seemingly unstoppable for a few years at the women’s races until Katie “Skatie” Neilson began consistently dominating and Brianne retired from racing. While Katie took last year off to heal a knee injury, the women’s race division progressed considerably. The IGSA World Championship in Calgary this year was the first race she competed in after returning from her injury. She reflected on her experience with these words,
“See, I had this plan. I can’t quite push the way I could anymore, so i lurked, waiting for these girls to screw up. When they didn’t, plan B popped in my head and I started thinkin “its all good, there’s no way they are gonna tuck all the way to the speed bump”. Wrong. Eliminated. Stoked on the balls all these girls grew this season while still remaining absolutely beautiful!!! One of my favorite heats in Women’s history.”
Rebekka Gemperle won that race and became the 2012 Women’s World Champion. I raced against her at the Maryhill Festival of Speed this year and hardly saw the green-eyed sweetheart. She was just too fast.
Here are the facts: there are heaps of girls getting rad on skateboards, we’ve been growing exponentially for a half a century, and we’re certainly not slowing down. In my humble opinion, more girls on skateboards is great for everyone. If you can’t get down with that, you can envy the attention we get, call it a Girl’s Club, tell us we’re sexist, command that we get back into the kitchen, but we’ll just keep pushing. We’re damn proud of how far women’s skateboarding has come and with the evolution of skateboarding as a whole. Stay rollin’ and stay feminine, my homegirls—it’s badass to skate like a girl.
Need more lady stoke? Here are a couple vids. Sit back and enjoy:
Elissa Steamer, crushing the street:
Alicia Fillback, Carmen Shafer, and Cindy Zhou, always raising the gnar bar on softwheels:
Nora Vasconcellos, flowing transition:
Katie Neilson smokes Jimmy in an impromptu race:
Longboard Girls Crew’s most popular video, inspiring all the ladies: