Decades of Ladies

 
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Photos: Jenna Selby and Zach Moldof

Portraits: Garrett Moore

Words: Zach Moldof


Skateboarding has changed dramatically in the last 60 years. Whether you want to consider skateboarding an art, a sport, a culture, or something else, the only thing that hasn’t changed is a board and four wheels. Today’s skateboard culture is global. But 20 years ago it was different. 20 years ago skateboard culture was primarily based in Los Angeles and Orange County, with San Francisco playing a dominant second, while Philly and New York were newly minted as sources of skateboard essence. There was plenty of skating coming out of Philly and New York in the prior years, but this was the first time that consistent coverage was cementing these cities as centers of skateboard culture. In the 20 years prior to that you would have seen very little coverage of skaters outside California. The values, and norms of early skate culture as presented by the skate industry are actually a very narrow sample of society because there were so few companies and outlets. That’s not to say that skateboard media was regressive by any means, rather, representation in that time was different.

Whether you were part of the center of the skateboard industry, or outlier skateboard culture all you knew was what you saw. Being a skateboarder didn’t mean that you necessarily had access to videos and magazines, and whatever you did have access to was all that you knew. The longer you skated, and the more you paid attention the more your little index of skateboarding would grow and expand. But, if you were a woman or a girl in those times then no matter how far you looked there wasn’t much to find. Whether this was by design, or the result of ignorance is neither here nor there. The reality is that there have always been women and girls innovating on skateboards, but their place at the forefront of the skateboard industry is new. Today young women and even younger girls are being welcomed into a skateboard culture where they are celebrated, and surrounded by other girls and women, as well as boys and men. But, today’s incredibly inclusive scenario wouldn’t have been possible without several decades of women and girls who were isolated in their experiences, and found themselves without female peers.

There’s nothing for me to say here other than I am aware, and I can empathize. My own experiences of being shunned by other skaters, or made to feel unwelcome are my own though. And it would be foolish for me to use that as the basis to attempt some substantive article to accompany the words of the women who lived through the meaningful experiences that we can all learn from. My only intention with this feature was to get all these women together in one place, and let them speak for themselves. What follows is the insight of women who were sponsored in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 00s, along with the perspectives of a group of young women who are all finding their own way in life on skateboards today.

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Cindy Whitehead

Do you remember when you discovered skating? 

Yes!  I was about 7 or 8 years old and we had a long sloping driveway here in Hermosa Beach, and there is a pic of me riding a Black Knight skateboard with clay wheels down it. I loved it – I was a beach kid so my friends and I swam in the ocean often, used surf mats to ride waves–later moving up to surfboards. I rode mini- bikes with my friends, climbed trees and stayed outdoors day and night as often as possible–because outdoors there were no “adult” rules. Kids made the rules and that was freedom. My skateboard was another way to have a sense of freedom and creativity that was all my own.


When you decided that you wanted to skate did you have friends to skate with, or were you alone?  

I got back into skateboarding at about 14 years old when I got a Bahne Skateboard with Cadillac Wheels. I skated with my brother and his friends around the neighborhood, but quickly found some like-minded guys, and a girl named Michelle Kolar down at Hermosa Pier. The pier is where we hung out skating all day honing our freestyle tricks, and creating makeshift ramps from plywood we stole from construction sites. When a skatepark finally opened in Torrance, CA I spent less time at the beach as I wanted the rush of riding that half-pipe daily!

Back in the day I mainly skated with guys at my local skatepark. When I went to comps that was when I’d meet/see/skate against & with other girls. In between contests we had no idea what the other girls were up to trick wise – we’d hear rumors but we didn’t have social media, and magazines rarely showed the girls in photos or interviews, plus they came out 3 months after the fact!


How about now, do you skate with girls, guys, or both?

It’s funny, now I skate with a lot of girls and women, more than I do guys. For me to have that choice, it means that skateboarding is changing.


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means?  

What drew me to skateboarding was the freedom it gave me as a 14-year-old kid at the beach. I could go anywhere I wanted, and I wasn’t stuck lugging a bike around/locking it up etc. I could also express myself through skateboarding–everyone has their own style and way they do tricks. There was no “right or wrong” back then as everyone was figuring new things/tricks out. It was seen as a bit rebellious, and I guess that has always been me…


Now that you’ve been skating for a while, has skating exposed you to needs and desires that can’t be fulfilled by skating?

I think skating is part of me, and always will be–but it is not “all” of me. I like to be creative, so I crafted a career as a fashion stylist (Sports Stylist®) working with pro & Olympic athletes for shoots with companies like Gatorade, Nike, Adidas, etc. I also love to write, so I write about skateboarding often for various magazines, and my Girl is NOT a 4 Letter Word website. I like to be challenged in anything I do, and skateboarding is definitely that, but so are the other career paths I have chosen. 


We are all constantly bombarded with so many images and narratives of what skateboarding is, or what skateboarding should be, or how a real skateboarder behaves. How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?

I have always thought I should just be ME. This whole thing about skaters looking, acting, being one-dimensional is bullshit to me. We are all people, we have skateboarding in common and yes, that does make you a bit different than perhaps people who gravitate towards things like team sports. But we as skaters are not all exactly the same. People who really skate, are already “different” than most of society just by being skateboarders, so why not be “different” within skate as well?  So yes, challenging the existing “norms” is important. 

But on the flipside, I do see a lot of what I call “instagram skateboarding” where girls sorta skate around in what is considered feminine fashion and then gain an immense following because I guess the general public likes that as opposed to seeing the girls who really kick ass at it? I don’t know–I’m all for people being individuals, but when it comes to gaining popularity off of skateboarding, when you really aren’t that interested in learning to SKATE, and instead use it as a social media ploy to get “likes” that bums me out. It takes me back 40 years to when freestyle was acceptable for girls because it was “pretty”, but skating vert really wasn’t accepted because it was thought of as more aggressive. Girls & women in skate have had to push hard breaking down stereotypes to get where they are now, I just hate seeing stuff on instagram that pushes us backwards toward the place of: we must be looking  “pretty” gliding by on a skateboard in order to be accepted.


Do you feel like your identity as a skateboarder goes along with the image of skateboarding that is being sold to the public? Why, or why not?

At times yes. For some reason people can pick me out of a room full of non-skaters as being a skateboarder. I can be wearing edgy fashion (not skate type clothes) and it still happens. So there must be something about us that gives us away? Maybe it’s the way we carry ourselves, or attitude or? But if you think a skateboarder is a Caucasian male in his teens to late twenties, then NO.


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

For vert - Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew, Tony Alva, Jay Adams. Brad Bowman, Kevin “The Worm” Anderson, Mike Smith, and Gregg Weaver. 


What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things? 

For me, skateboarding is still about freedom and creativity and expression. It’s also FAMILY. People I grew up skating with and those I skate with now are family for sure. Every time I jump on my board I still love it as much as I did the first time. How lucky am I at my age to still be healthy and able to skate whenever I want? It’s also about making sure the next generation of girls gets to get out and skate, so working on that makes me very happy–giving visibility, encouragement, and shining a light on women’s skateboarding makes me stoked. 


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

That we have been right here skating and holding our own with the guys from DAY ONE. And that I’d like for someone to ask me one day if I know Lizzie, Jordyn or Brighton instead of asking me if I know Alva, Hawk or Adams (love those guys but let’s make the women household names too!)  ☺

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Saecha Clarke


Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I think my first memory of a skateboard was when I was real young. My dad had an old fiberglass skateboard from the 70's, it was really thin and dark navy with a gold lightning bolt on it. My dad and my brother and I were in the garage one day and my dad was showing us he could still do 360's.  My brother and I would take turns trying to do 360's on it. I didn't actually start skating till the late 80's. I lived on a street where there was a dirt bank, it was really hard compacted dirt and people would skate the bank in front of our house all the time. I would sit at the window in our living room and just watch people skating. When they would leave I would grab my brother's board and go outside and try to learn what I saw them doing. Once I started learning how to skate and decided it was something I was really into my parents got me my own board for Christmas. I would go out everyday after school and skate this little dirt bank until I eventually started learning tricks and how to ollie.


When you decided that you wanted to skate did you have friends to skate with, or were you alone? Were your friends girls, guys, or both? How bout now, do you skate with girls, guys, or both?

Initially, I started skating just messing around on my brother's board by myself when no one else was around. I was a bit shy to skate with the guys at first. Eventually, I would just skate with whoever was skating the dirt bank on my street. As I got more into skating I started making friends with skater's from my school and we would meet up after school to skate Huntington High. For the most part I skated with guys, at that time there was not any girls I knew of that skated. I don't remember what year it was, but I remember Powell Peralta released a video that featured a small part with Anita Tessensohn and that was the first time I saw a girl that could skate street and was doing a bunch of tricks like the guys. I can't be certain but I think she was the first girl street skater, I was really inspired by her. Once I started going to CASL contests and got sponsored by World Industries I met Anita and we became friends and started skating from time to time. I had one other friend, Christy Jordahl that I used to skate with, but at that time there were just not a lot of girls involved with skating so I mostly skated with guys. Nowadays I don't skate too often, I mostly skate with my boyfriend Shiloh Greathouse. It's funny, cuz he was my teammate back in the day when I rode for World and we are still skating together to this day!


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means?  

I am not too sure, initially I think I just saw other kids in my neighborhood doing it and thought it was cool and looked like fun. I think I have always been athletic by nature and just never found any other activities I was interested in doing more than skateboarding. I remember when I first picked up skateboarding I was in junior high on a pop warner cheerleading team. As I got more into skating I quickly lost interest in cheerleading and quit after one season. I didn't enjoy doing it much, going to practice, the same routines, and performing cheers in front of crowds. I think because of my athletic nature cheerleading was not progressive or challenging enough for me and did not give me any sense of gratification or accomplishment. Whereas skateboarding was something I could do on my own and challenged me to grow, learn new tricks, and progress at my own rate.


Now that skating has been part of your life for a while, has skating exposed you to needs and desires that can’t be fulfilled by skating?

Definitely, I don't think I realized–or even fully understood at the time–all that skateboarding was exposing me to. Looking back, I now see skateboarding as an art form just as much as a sport. To me skateboarding is not only fun to do, it's a creative outlet and means of expression.  Every skater has their own unique style in the way that they skate or approach things. Some guys skate fast and thrashing, some clean and techy, some flowing and free. Someone can do a trick and it can almost look like an entirely different trick just because of how they did it and their own personal style even though it's the same exact trick. There is so much creativity in skateboarding. I think skateboarding and art have always been closely tied together from skating itself, to deck graphics, product, ads, and the lifestyle that surrounds it. For me growing up skateboarding in the 90's was such an explosive and creative time. Skateboarding was really growing and progressing, and there was a lot of money coming into skateboarding at that time. Skate companies really started to explode and cater to skateboarders making a lot of product and gear that really reflected the unique and creative side or aspects of skateboarding. There were so many cool companies and products coming out in the 90's. In general, I think skateboarding attracts creative types of people and artists. Skateboarding really influenced me and exposed me to a lot of creative types of people in my formative years growing up. I think the individual style and creative expression that skateboarding embodies led me to seek out other creative forms in my life. I became very interested in the apparel and product side of skateboarding and that led me to designing skate clothing at Emerica and Altamont. Working in the skateboard industry has allowed me to continue to experience the creativity of skating and express the passions that skateboarding has exposed me to. 


We are all constantly bombarded with so many images and narratives of what skateboarding is, or what skateboarding should be, or how a real skateboarder behaves. How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?


For me I don't think I ever really paid too much attention to the imagery and narratives of what skateboarding is or should be. When I first started skateboarding in the late 80's I don't think it was normal for women to skate, obviously there were women involved in the sport but there were very few and I think in general it was more or less something that guys did. Had I been influenced by these norms, I might not have started skateboarding.  I feel like skateboarding is such an individualistic thing. I am not sure really how to explain it, but I believe skateboarding is about freedom of expression. There is a certain level of acceptance among skateboarders and within the skateboard culture. Skateboarding is for anyone who wants to do it and takes all the freaks and geeks, and is accepting of people's differences. I think it is those individualistic differences that are celebrated within skating, and that’s what makes skateboarding such a unique and creative outlet. As far as creating your own identity as a skateboarder, I think just be yourself, skate, explore your abilities and passions, and embrace who you are. 


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

Mark Gonzales–the Gonz was always my favorite skater. My bedroom walls were covered with torn out magazine ads like a giant collage of my favorite skaters: Natas Kaupas, Tommy Guerrero, Matt Hensley, Jason Lee, Ron Chatman, Rudy Johnson, and Guy Mariano.


What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things?

For me the most important aspect of skating is fun, it's more about the fun than anything. I still get out on my board and cruise around town. I don't do many tricks nowadays, but for me it's just getting on my board and having fun.


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

I'm not too sure I could tell you. Honestly, I always felt a little bit uncomfortable or weird when people made a big deal that I was a girl and could skate. It kinda bummed me out because I wanted to be a good skater, not just good for a girl. I always knew it was a little bit weird that I was a girl and skating but I just did it because I was having fun doing it and I more so identified myself as being a "skater" rather than a "female skater". Now as I have matured and look back, I realize I was doing it at a time when there were very few women involved in skateboarding. I know things have changed quite a bit today from when I skated. For instance, when I skated there were nowhere near as many girls, and skateboarding was male-dominated back then. Today, it is still male-dominated, but I think it is much more acceptable for women to skate and it is not an oddity. On instagram I follow @girlsshred and I am just amazed and so psyched to see all the girls who are involved today, and see how women have progressed in skateboarding. It is really neat to see from my perspective. One thing I think everyone should know about skateboarding is about fun. Just be yourself, skate, and have fun.

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Lisa Whitaker


Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I remember going to the swap meet to get Ninja shoes and coming back with a skateboard that barely rolled when I was pretty young. It was just used to roll around our driveway on my butt or knees. A year or two after that, in the mid 80's, I got an Action Sports Kamikaze from a big box store. That one rolled a lot better and I learned to push standing up, but I don't feel like I "discovered” skateboarding until I saw one of the older kids on our street go off a launch ramp around 1987. As soon as I saw that and figured out you could learn tricks I knew that is what I wanted to do. I discovered a real skate shop and talked my dad into getting me a hot pink Powell-Peralta Future Primitive board. I was also introduced to skate videos and magazines around that time, I was hooked.


When you decided that you wanted to skate did you have friends to skate with, or were you alone?

Several of the kids on my street got skateboards around the same time and I always had someone to skate with, but I was the only girl. In high school I pressured one of my good friends to skate with me all the time and we met another girl whose boyfriend skated, so she would always hang out and roll around sometimes. Then in my senior year we started exploring the surrounding cities and I was introduced to Van Nguyen from mutual friends. She was the first girl that I met who was just as obsessed with skating as I was, and we pushed each other to learn tricks. A lot of the guys I skated with in my late teens and early twenties still skate, but everyone has pretty busy schedules now, and we don’t get a chance to skate together very often. These days I end up skating with mostly other girls because I’m usually filming for Girls Skate Network, or with the Meow Skateboards team.


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means?  

I was initially attracted to the challenge of learning new tricks, but the adventure of exploring for spots and the friendships I made ended up becoming more important. Hard to say if I would have found those things elsewhere, I’m sure people find them in other sports or activities …but I didn’t until skateboarding.


Do you feel like your identity as a skateboarder goes along with the image of skateboarding that is being sold to the public? Why, or why not?

No, because I’m not a teenage boy hucking myself down stairs. Ha!


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

Matt Hensley in the H-Street days was always my favorite. I also looked up to Lance Mountain, Ed Templeton, Ray Barbee, Cara-Beth Burnside, Lori Rigsbee, Anita Tennensohn and so many more.


What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things? 


I’m not pushing myself like I use to, just having fun with friends is the most important thing for me. I have a great group of friends that makes that pretty easy, the hardest part now is finding the time.

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Vanessa Torres


Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I remember running around with my childhood friends (all dudes) and a couple of them had already taken up skating. I was around 12 years old at the time, living at my grandmas in Buena Park. Asking for a complete for Christmas seemed like the most logical thing to ask for because it was all the rage within my group of friends. Little did I know, I would discover how much of an outlet it was–and continues to be–for me, and I could do it anytime and anywhere I wanted to. Solo or with friends. 


How bout now, do you skate with girls, guys, or both?

I’d have to say, the majority of the people that I skate with are women. But it’s not out of the ordinary to show up to the park and run into some cool dudes and all skate together. 


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means?  

I think at the time I didn’t question anything I just genuinely loved the feeling of grabbing my board and going skating whenever I could. I wasn’t aware of the confidence it was instilling in me, I just knew it felt right and I wanted to do it all the time. Skating has given me so much and I don’t think I could have found that kind of structure at that age with anything else. 


Now that you’ve been skating for a while, has skating changed how you see yourself?

Skateboarding has played one of the most substantial roles in my life. It has given me long time friends, the privilege of traveling the world and immense opportunity for self-growth. 

We are all constantly bombarded with so many images and narratives of what skateboarding is, or what skateboarding should be, or how a real skateboarder behaves. How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?

We are in a world where everything is constantly evolving. I recognize that I am in a place of privilege with the ability to make an impact of positive change within my community. I represent myself as authentically as I possibly can. In my eyes, what else is there if not to challenge the norms and stay true to who you are and encourage those around you that they are perfect however they identify.

Do you feel like your identity as a skateboarder goes along with the image of skateboarding that is being sold to the public? Why, or why not?

In all honesty, no. But there is incredible movement because myself and others have been joining forces for years on changing that narrative. And I am more than hopeful. Doors are opening and we are the first ones there to blow it wide open! Many are afraid of change or even taking a chance and I feel it’s important for me to use my platform as a means to giving a voice to my community.

When you first started skating did you feel like you could dentify with the image of skating that was being sold by skate companies?

At the time, I didn’t have that much access to what was going on in the skate world. I just skated because that’s what felt good. Over time, I began to discover what the industry was about and didn’t relate to it all. There was no content that led me to think that women even skated, but I don’t think that ever deterred me from skating. If anything, it encouraged me to listen to myself and keep doing what felt right to me.

When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

After a couple years of skating I somehow ended up registering for a contest out in San Diego where I would meet Elissa Steamer, Cara-Beth Burnside, Jen O’Brien and Alex White. Some of the first women I had ever seen skating with my own eyes. That day was the day I discovered a part of my identity, and many women who I still look up to today.

What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things?

I always make it a point to have a good time before I go out and skate. I never associate bad energy with skating because it has always been my happy place. Also, to engage with my community whenever I can!


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

That our love for what we do and our mission to embrace all is unparalleled.

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Ashley Martinez

Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I've lived in Southern California my whole life so I have always seen people skateboarding.  But representation and influence goes a long way and I was seven years old when I saw my older brothers and cousin skating on the side of our house. I was instantly mesmerized and intrigued by my family members being capable of such activity. I sat outside and watched them every time I had a chance. I probably sat out there for two months until I finally dared to learn how to push. It was appealing to me because I loved the dedication of finding a sense of freedom and balance both mentally and physically.

When you decided that you wanted to skate did you have friends to skate with, or were you alone?

When I was younger, I skated with brothers and a couple of kids from my middle school. I was always on and off because I was intimidated by all guys around me, and because my mom told me skateboarding wasn’t for girls. She mentioned that a girl shouldn't have scarred knees, so I listened and because I didn’t see any other girls skating I quit, and I joined Cheerleading.  It wasn’t until recently that I was able to meet some of the best female skaters in the world, and since then they have inspired me to give it another try.


We are all constantly bombarded with so many images and narratives of what skateboarding is, or what skateboarding should be, or how a real skateboarder behaves. How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?

Skateboarding is subjective; it's essential to know and understand that no matter if you’re just picking up a board or you’ve been riding forever. It means and will mean something different to every one of us. It’s a universal language that brings people together through all walks of life. All across the world you see individuals redefining physics, individuals creatively expressing themselves, and people who are making things that seem impossible, possible.

It’s also important to know that you always have to challenge what doesn’t reflect who you are (overall life note). I found my voice and expertise because of skateboarding. I can’t do tricks or have the guts to go off a couple of stairs or a ledge but the passion for the push is there, and it's no more or no less than those who go out and do those things.

Throughout my career, I have met and have had the honor of working with  individuals behind the scenes who make skaters’ dreams come true, and make skateboarding possible. Those people work endless hours and have the dedication, and ambition to challenge what society has thought of where skateboarding can be. They're the ones pitching the ideas to investors, writing business plans, working with the cities to have events in their location- the list is endless.  I have worked and executed over one hundred different shows with the best male and female skateboarders in the world. I made it my mission to try and inspire and motivate people through my work. If I can't physically be the reason to inspire through my skating abilities, then I am putting the same efforts into planning, executing, and budgeting for events and content for the world to see.

Ultimately we are all connected, and we are a collective of individuals who are striving for the love of a piece of wood with wheels. The board doesn’t ever judge us–people do, and it's up to you to do your thing and not let them dim your passion.

Now more than ever you see individuals launching badass inclusive companies that promote and encourage skaters to be themselves and challenge the stereotype. I'm a huge fan of Skateism, Unity Skateboarding, MS.RPSNTD, and CSEF. It’s beautiful and very inspiring to meet people who are advocating for equality, and ultimately providing a space for everyone. Representation is important, and it goes a long way in inspiring people to embrace who they are, and know that they are capable of being whatever they set their minds to. 

Do you feel like your identity as a skateboarder goes along with the image of skateboarding that is being sold to the public?

Not really, I say this because I'm also a businesswoman and I don’t see that many women who are highlighted or mentioned for contributing to more than what they do on a board. I would love to see more representation of business women within skateboarding. That would inspire more women and people around the world to to invest in a professional career and still shred just as much.

When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

The skaters that I looked up to were my cousin Maynor, and Paul Rodriguez. Being a Valley native Paul really represented success, and is one of the few people from the Valley who gave me hope to do and be more.

What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

Women’s skateboarding has grown tremendously over the last two years, and it's only going to get bigger! With the Olympics around the corner, and Street League Skateboarding having women's competitions at every stop in 2019 and beyond. We’re in a cool time where we have access to communicating with, and getting to know, so many skaters from all around the world. We are all connected in some way or form, and we are all very encouraging and supportive of one another. One thing that everyone should know about the women in skateboarding is that the pioneers who have paved the way for countless women can all be in the same room with the top women who are in the limelight today. Though it's growing tremendously, we are still actively working towards equality, progression, and proper representation. Thank you to all those women who have challenged the norm and fought for us through thick and thin. We would not be here without all of your efforts and determination.

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Shari White


Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I'd had a skateboard as a kid, my sister and I both got them for Christmas when we were super young. I played around on it but didn't think anything more of it than riding a bike. When I was 13 my neighbor came knocking at my door with a new skateboard she had bought and so I got mine out of the garage. The bearings barely rolled and the deck had no concave. But this was the start for me, it just felt different. We wanted to learn tricks together. This was 2004. I'd just started high school. 


How bout now, do you skate with girls, guys, or both?

Mostly girls when skating street, going on trips and filming etc. At the skate park I like to skate with the boys too. 


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means? 

Finding something new that was challenging made me start and stick to skating, and yes I'm sure I would have found something else if skateboarding didn't find me, but hard to say what it could have been.

Now that you’ve been skating for a while, has skating exposed you to needs and desires that can’t be fulfilled by skating? 

Filming and video editing.  It also lead to me screen printing which is my day job. I started this because of our zine and making clothes for it.


How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?  

I appreciate certain content, and ignore the rest. I try to keep my head in a dream world of what I want skating to be for me, and with ''the skate witches'' we try to do that also. Stick to our guns and be ourselves.  It's unrealistic to expect all skateboarders to think or act the same but we can exist amongst each other.


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

To be honest I've never had a good answer for this question. I don't think I looked up to anyone specific until the last 5 or so years.

 

What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things?

Street skating and working on a project with friends. So I keep doing this.


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?  

We are just like you.

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Adrianne Sloboh

Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I remember sometime around the fourth grade my dad and I were watching the xgames and tony hawk was skating vert, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It was in 2005 that my parents bought my sister and I boards I think they were from target, they were super cheap. My sister gave up pretty quick but I was obsessed with trying to learn a kickflip. I landed my first one on her board when I broke mine. 

When you decided that you wanted to skate did you have friends to skate with, or were you alone? Were your friends girls, guys, or both? How bout now, do you skate with girls, guys, or both?

When I moved to Simi Valley in the 6th grade I didnʼt have anyone to skate with at first. The cool thing about that town is that everyone seemed to skate at some point so it wasnʼt that hard to find some skate friends. Growing up I skated with only guys, there were no others female skaters around. Nowadays I have a nice spectrum of people to skate with both male and female itʼs refreshing. 


What drew you to skating initially, and do you think you could have fulfilled those needs and desires by any other means? 

I think what drew me to skating was that there is no limit to what you can do. You can never master skating, only push yourself within your own abilities. Youʼre your own coach, you set the practice time– itʼs all on you and I love that. Iʼm always trying to push myself to progress everyday. 


How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?

Personally I try not to change what Iʼm doing unless I truly want to. I donʼt pay much attention to the different narratives in skating. I just skate everyday I can because itʼs fun. I think when you start to debate the question of “what a skateboarder is” is when it becomes stressful. 


Do you feel like your identity as a skateboarder goes along with the image of skateboarding that is being sold to the public?

I think the public perception of skateboarding changes so much. Now I feel like itʼs cool, and community based, and Iʼm on board with that. I think that itʼs only going to progress female skating even further. 


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

I looked up to Lacey Baker, Vanessa Torres, Deawon Song, and Stevie Williams.


What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things?

The aspects that are important to me are always improving your skills. Learning new tricks, and being consistent with the ones you have is important to me. 


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

Everyone needs to know womenʼs skate has been around and will be around for the long haul, so get ready to see more of it. 

Victoria.jpg


Victoria Ruesga

Do you remember when you discovered skating?

I always had an understanding of what skateboarding was–as far as knowing it was an extremely extreme thing. I didn’t think of it as a sport, I thought of it as a thing. I must have seen the X games before because everytime I’d see a chemtrail in the sky, I was certain it was Bucky Lasek airing out of a mega ramp and I’d yell to my mom about it. One day my mom had took me to this Vans event in Oceanside on the beach, and they were setting up some obstacles. Once I saw the stuff in real life I was intrigued. I begged my mom to let me go in there but it wasn’t finished being set up, so we had to come back the next day. She had got my sister and I some tiny tiny mini blank boards at some pop up tent. I ran in the park and I’ll never forget this young black kid was telling all the other kids, “Watch the fuck out guys there’s a little girl in here let her go, let her go!” And he cleared the slope out for me and I rolled in first try. 

This was all when I was about 5 or 6. After that I would ride around on my little cheapy board, but I was also really into drumming at the time, and was getting taught by this really cool music teacher at my school, Mr. Decker. I would sit in from recess and lunch and just always be in the music room drumming. It was getting close to my 8th birthday and my mom had asked me, what do you wanna do? Do you want a drum set for your birthday, or a skateboard? I was excited because it was the two things I was really into at the time and I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to do. That’s a big deal at 8 years old. Obviously, I chose the skateboard and on my birthday she got me my first “real” skateboard, a mini still, but it was a Val Surf complete.

Their clothes were so cool they wore all black, and skinny jeans with fat Fallen shoes. They cussed, and the skater girl would always be making out with her skater boyfriend. They just looked like the most badass group of kids ever. My sister was older and I guess one day she made friends with the skater girls because she was across the street with them randomly one day. I took my chance. I grabbed my board and I ran out there and just skated with them. I feel like I could have done that at any moment in time and they would have gladly accepted me. We eventually moved down the street back to an old place we stayed at, and I told my friends about the cool stuff goin on up the street with the older kids. We had always seen, them but this time I was up close and personal. We had a taste of what real skateboarding was like: skating off curbs, sliding on anything in sight, using dumped furniture to make ramps, what clothes to wear, what brands to like. It was on. 


What drew you to skating initially?

I think I was drawn to skating because it seemed fun. Every time I saw skateboarding happening or heard of someone talking about anything related to skateboarding, they just seemed like they were having a wonderful time.They were really chill people and I just wanted to be around chill people all the time. I got even more drawn to it when I discovered that I was “good” at it. I realized I can ride around and push straight and kick turn no problem, and I somehow knew that it wasn’t an easy thing to do, so I think that was kind of inspiration for me; an “ok you got this now run with it” kind of mindset.  


Now that you’ve been skating for a while, has skating exposed you to things that could replace skating?

There is absolutely nothing in this entire world that can fulfill me the way skateboarding does. If I didn’t have skateboarding I’d just be a pile of mush. I wouldn’t even be able to function.


How do you create your own identity as a skateboarder, and do you think it’s valuable to challenge the existing norms in skating?

I feel like when I started skated, people thought skateboarder, they thought of a broke going-nowhere grimy kid. These days, people think skateboarder, they think some trendy pretty kid with 50k instagram followers and a stupid outfit. Skateboarding is about expressing yourself. Do whatever you want to do the way you do it. I’m not gonna watch some kid skate flatground to some Playboi Carti song, but for some reason 50k will, so run with it kid!! The real ones know what’s up, and the at the end of the day we’re all having fun. There’s gonna be things in skateboarding that you don’t like, get over it. Don’t complain because no one’s listening, shut up go skate, be kind. It’s not that difficult. 


When you started skating who were the skaters that you looked up to?

Obviously I looked up to Bucky Lasek as a kid. I never even got into transition skating, I just thought he was the skateboard god flying across the sky. When I started skating I was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Playstation. I looked up to Elissa because her character on the game looked like me. I liked Chris Cole and Reynolds because they were really tall, and I just thought they look like giant robots or something when they skated. I just seen Chris Cole last week, and he still looks like a 10 foot tall robot. He’s gnarly.


What are the important aspects of skating for you, and how do you stay in touch with those things?

Skateboarding today is going so sideways with all the new technology, and new skating, and tricks, and social media. It’s hard to stay in touch with it all. Video parts dropping everyday on the internet and getting overlooked. I’d say staying true to you and what you like is important or else you’ll get lost in the sauce. Don’t forget why you started. You may not like what the latest trend is right now but that’s just it, it’s a trend and it’ll die out, but in the long run this skate shit is forever. The real will stay relevant and alive. 


What is one thing that everyone should know about women in skateboarding?

Be more like Elissa. 




 
Zach MoldofComment