WOMXN IN SKATEBOARDING
THIS PAGE IS DEDICATED TO THE RAD NON-TRADITIONAL SKATERS OF THE PAST + PRESENT + FUTURE
The MNSTR Skate Initiative believes that everyone is born free and equal. I will take action against gender bias, discrimination, and violence to ensure equality for all of us womxn. As a female skater within the skateboarding community, I will take a proactive role in supporting other womxn both online and in person. Diversity brings strength and contributes positively to our skate community. Before we get into the history of womxn in skating, I want to highlight why I've used the word womxn. According to dictionary.com, womxn means a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the spelling sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans women and nonbinary people). 'Womxn is one of a few lexical and social phenomena, including the adoption of ‘x’ in naming gender non-conforming individuals, genderqueer folxs, two-spirit people, femmes, transgender folxs, and non-binary people. Womxn acknowledge that gender identity exists in a sphere and one word has room for multiple gender expressions without weighing one more important than another. In addition, it highlights that more than one gender expression can be impacted by patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism. This term recognizes that in the past, the history of feminism has included racism, transphobia, and harmful gender binary views.' (Womxn's Center for Success). My intention in using the word is all for inclusivity within and outside of the skate community. I understand that not all may like the word womxn and I just wanted to explain my reasons for using it on this page. See this great infographic by the Womxn's Center for Success. If you have any thoughts or see something that is not written or represented properly, kindly message me with your revision suggestions and/or thoughts.
Historically, skateboarding has been a male-dominated sport, but activism and entrepreneurship have been essential components of addressing gender inequality everywhere from the skatepark to skate competitions like the X Games, particularly among young girls and women. Women skateboarders have been integral to the development of skateboarding as a sport since its inception in the 1940s but didn't start competing until nearly 20 years later. Here is a brief history of us in skateboarding:
1964—Patti McGee Becomes Sets a World Skateboarding Record
Patti McGee, the first female professional skateboarder, set the world record for the fastest girl on a skateboard—47 miles per hour—at Dick Clark’s World Teen Fair. She went on to win the first female national skateboard championship, and she appeared on the cover of Life magazine doing a handstand on her skateboard.
1975—Peggy Oki Joins the Z-Boys
From 1970 to 2000, women’s visibility in skateboarding saw many small victories. In 1975, Peggy Oki joined up with several other skateboarders to form the Zephyr Skateboarding Team (Z-Boys) as the only female member.
1988—Cara-Beth Burnside Becomes First Female Skater to Grace the Cover of Thrasher
Thrasher, a skateboarding magazine, featured the first woman skateboarder on the front cover: Cara-Beth Burnside.
1994—Cara-Beth Burnside Debuts Her Signature Skate Shoe
In 1994, Burnside collaborated with Vans to become the first woman to have a signature skate shoe. That same year, Thrasher featured the second woman skateboarder on its front cover: Jaime Reyes.
1996—Elissa Steamer Appears in Welcome to Hell
In 1996, Elissa Steamer was featured in Welcome to Hell skate video by Toy Machine... making her the first female skater to have a street part in a major skate video.
1999—Women’s Competitions Added to Slam City Jam
In 1999, Slam City Jam, the North American skateboard championships, added women’s competitions. That same year, Elissa Steamer appeared as a featured skater in Tony Hawk Pro Skater—the only playable female pro at the time.
2000—SKATE LIKE A GIRL
Skate like a girl is a non-profit founded by Fleur Larsen and Holly Sheehan. The original intention was to build community and create space for non-male skaters. What started as a few meetup events in Seattle has grown into one of the strongest skate non-profits pushing for inclusion in Washington, Oregon, and the Bay area. They organize camps for youths and adults, regular meetups, and the annual WOF (Wheels of Fortune) events. They've inspired a wave of meetup groups all over the globe with similar goals of inclusivity.
2003—Jen O’Brien and Cara-Beth Burnside Push ESPN for Change
The early 2000s saw major strides for female skateboarders. After being shut out of the first seven editions of the X Games, skaters Jen O’Brien and Cara-Beth Burnside pushed ESPN for inclusion, securing a women’s demo in 2002 and full-on women’s events in 2003. Vanessa Torres won the first women’s park gold medal here.
2003—Lisa Whitaker founded Girls Skate Network
A website dedicated to supporting the success of women skaters around the world. She launched Meow Skateboards in 2012, a brand “focused on having fun and creating high-quality products that will help support an all-female team.”
2005—Women Skateboarders Stage X Games Boycott
When O’Brien and Burnside found out that male X Games winners made 25 times more than their female counterparts, they organized a women’s boycott of the 2005 X Games and won equal pay in 2008.
2008—Burnside and Knoop Take Action for Representation
Burnside and Mimi Knoop continued to push for female representation in skateboarding. In 2008, the duo created the female-focused skate company Hoopla because other skate brands weren’t sponsoring women skaters. Their mission—to encourage girls to skate and provide a support system for female pros—led to sponsorships for women skaters from skate brands like Welcome, Plan B, and Enjoi and sneaker giants like Nike and Adidas.
2015—Leticia Bufoni Signed to Nike SB
In 2015, Brazilian skateboarder Leticia Bufoni became the first female skater signed to Nike SB, and was the first female skateboarder to appear in ESPN The Magazine’s annual Body issue.
2016—A Big Win at the Summer Olympics
In 2016, women’s skateboarding (and skateboarding in general) saw one of the biggest wins in the sport: the International Olympic Committee approved skateboarding for the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020, including women’s street and park skating competitions. During this same year, Lizzie Armanto became the first woman featured on the cover of TransWorld Skateboarding magazine. Nora Vasconcellos became the first woman to join the Adidas skateboarding team.
2017—Leo Baker Makes History With Nike
Leo Baker became Nike SB’s first openly trans nonbinary skater and designed the first-ever Nike skate shoe for women.
See this article on Nike's website: The Future is in the Air: Leo Baker. Always Against the Grain
2018—African-American Skater Samarria Brevard Makes History
Samarria Brevard became the first professional African-American woman skateboarder to sign with a major skate brand (Enjoi). During the same year, Lizzie Armanto became the first female skater to complete The Loop, Tony’s 360-degree ramp.
2019—Nike Releases First All-Female Skate Video
Nike SB releases Gizmo, its first all-female skate video and a tribute to team member and women’s skate pioneer Elissa Steamer.
Now, children of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, gender identities, and orientations are watching, and the more they see themselves reflected and accepted in skating, the more they will embrace skating and push it to new and exciting places.
NOTE: The excerpt above is taken from an article on the masterclass.com website, Girl Skaters Rise: A brief history of women's skateboarding with some add-ons.
If there is anything that I should add to this list or revise anything on the page, please let me know via the CONTACT page. Thank you!
HOW WE CAN SUPPORT...
Acknowledge and support other skaters when you see them out skating at a park or out on the street
Support skaters on social media by following or liking their posts/reels, commenting, or connecting with them via DM if you'd like.
Support womxn run organizations/communities/magazines online and IRL.
Attend meetups/events/camps/workshops organized by organizations such as Skate Like a Girl
Get familiar with the ams/pros in the skating scene through social media and broadcasted skateboarding events
Understand the history of womxn in skateboarding, provided above :) or through your own research.
WOMXN+ SKATEBOARDING LINKS
SKATE VIDEOS + FILMS
STAY ON BOARD: THE LEO BAKER STORY
If you have any questions, comments or anything to add to this page, please contact me with the subject line: Womxn in Skateboarding. Thanks!