14 Skater Girls You Should Know
From Avril Lavigne's timeless "Sk8r Boi" to Tony Hawk being everyone's immediate go-to image of a professional skateboarder, it can feel like ladies get left out of the game entirely...until now! (And I'll be real with you--it was pretty difficult to write this entire blog article without completely overusing exclamation marks.)
Here are 14 skater girls you should know--some that paved the way, and some that keep on paving.
1. Patti McGee
Any list of killer female skateboarders starts with (or should start with) Patti McGee. Hailed as the first female professional skateboarder, she first started skateboarding on a board her brother built in wood shop. Then, in 1964, she set the world record for the fastest girl on a skateboard during Dick Clark's World Teen Fair. In 1965, she was the first female national skateboard champion, and was featured (doing a handstand!) on Life Magazine.
And if that weren't enough, she was also the first female to ever be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. But, you know--all in a day's work.
2. Cara Beth Burnside
Cara Beth Burnside is one of the classics, and she's got plenty of firsts under her name, too--first woman to have a signature skate shoe, and first president of the Action Sports Alliance. In 2004, World Cup Skating named her Female Vert Skater of the Year, and she has won more than 16 titles to date.
Also, fun fact--nobody seems to know if her name is Cara Beth, Carabeth, or Cara-Beth, and yet she's on so many lists when people talk about their childhood inspirations.
3. Jen O’Brien
Self-described as a teen into skateboarding and punk music, O'Brien moved to Daytona immediately after high school and got her first job at the local skatepark there...and then moved on to California with fellow female skater Jodi McDonald.
What'd she do once she got there? Oh, you know, not much...just negotiated with the X Games about getting girls involved, became the first girl to skate at the X Games (and won a silver her first time out!), formed The Alliance so that the women of the X Games could communicate as a singular voice and negotiated first-place prize money for women from $2,500 up to $15,000.
She's also been a long-time environmental activist, and has an organic garden and a daughter named Lotus.
4. Leticia Bufoni
Born in Sao Paolo, this Brazilian-American skateboarder came to SoCal for the X Games when she was just fourteen. During that trip, her dad watched her while she practiced an inward heel flip, and said if she landed the trick, she could stay in California--and the rest is history.
She landed it on the next try and went on to be sponsored, get ranked the #1 Women's Street Skateboarder by World Cup Skate four years in a row, and become the only female athlete to win 3 X Games gold medals in the same year.
5. Elissa Steamer
Elissa also started skateboarding at 14, and became a professional at age 20 when she was sponsored by Ed Templeton's brand Toy Machine. In 2004, the first year the Women's Street event was introduced at the X Games, Elissa took home the gold--and then she took home the gold again 2005, 2006, and 2008.
She also became the first-ever playable female character in the Tony Hawk video game series, no doubt inspiring swathes of other young skater girls.
6. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins
Lyn-Z has plenty of cred apart from her cool name--she was the first female skater to skate the DC Mega Ramp, AND the first female to land a 540 McTwist during the Quiksilver Tony Hawk Show in Paris, France (which sounds both highly specific and incredibly cool.)
She's also an X Games gold-medal winner--twice for Women's Vert. She was the second playable female skater in the Tony Hawk video game series.