Posts by ameliabrodka

Global Representation in 2015 Women’s X-Games Street

It is plain to see that women’s skateboarding has experienced exponential growth in the past few years and that it’s rate of progression is rapidly increasing. The X-Games web cast hosts consistently expressed how impressed they were with how far the women have come as they commentated during the Women’s Street Competition. It seemed like the commentators were in a constant state of pleasant surprise as they watched the contest unfold.
It was exciting to see an increasingly global representation from the women of X – Games. This year’s addition of Kate Shengeliya from Russia, Mariah Duran from Albuquerque, NM, and Gabi Mazetto from Brazil added new tricks and styles to the event.
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Kate Shengeliya- Stylish KF catch down the 9 in practice. Photo: Dasha Nosova

The prelims had a pretty challenging format- the best out of two 50 second runs determined whether you made it to finals. Each girl had a different approach on how to best adapt to the format.
Samarria Brevard’s strategy was far from conservative- she consistently committed to going for the biggest gaps on the course. With her new Hoopla pro model under her feet, Samarria went for what could have been some of the biggest tricks of the day – she was close to a huge kickflip off of the bump, over the flat and down the 5 stair and she also used the same kicker to lauch her over the flat into a boardslide down the handrail. She made these in practice but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to pull them off in the heat of the contest.
Each girl seemed to have something special to add to the mix. Colorado’s Rachel Reinhardt started the contest with a flawless euro gap double flip. Mariah Duran had a fun, creative approach — She no-complied out of back 50-50’s and even took one of her 50-50’s down a hubba and instead of popping out, continued the grind down the transition at the edge. Gabi Mazetto boardslid the 9 stair handrail and then got very close to a fully extended benihana down the 5. Alana Smith went for some big tricks like bluntslides on the a-frame and ollies off of the roof but she couldn’t quite stay on. Kate Shegeliya had some fun tricks planned as well- including ollie airwalks down the 5 and pop-shove’s down the 9, but unfortunately she couldn’t get those in the two allotted runs.
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Gabi Mazetto – Benihana during practice. Photo by Mimi Knoop

Leticia Bufoni demonstrated her usual speed and style throughout the course. She had a run planned that she tried to put together throughout prelims and finals. She started each run by blasting a backside grab over a gap and then throwing backside and frontside lipslides down the rails. Unfortunately she was not consistent enough to make it onto the podium.
Marissa Dal Santo was the only one to ollie the lengthy 9 stair during the contest. A consistent qualifying run got her into finals where she put together a run including: boneless down the 5 stair, bs flip up the euro, and a boardslide to fakie followed by a fakie flip.
Lacey Baker had a very strategic run planned. She tucked tricks into nearly every feature: Instead of just using the banks as a way to set up for the bigger features, she threw in flip tricks and creative bonelesses. Her runs were very technical and even included nollie heels and kickflip nose manuals. She was consistent throughout the prelims but unfortunately couldn’t stay on it through finals.
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Vanessa Torres – Crooked Grind during practice – photo by CA Productions
It is a joy to see Vanessa Torres truly expressing her talent. She dominated every rail on the course with her characteristically edgy style. She put down long, stylish crooked grinds, front smiths and even a front board down the 9 stair. She was all smiles through finals and scored 3rd place overall.

Pamela Rosa was one of the most consistent skaters of the day. She made it into finals and then absolutely dominated her first run: She smithed the bump to rail, boardslid the 9 stair, tre fipped the bump, frontside 5050ed the down rail and then kickflipped the euro gap. She then ended her powerful run with a feeble grind down the 9 set.

Alexis Sablone’s architecture knowledge inspired her to see the course differently. She saw lines lines on the upper level of the course that none of the other girls even touched. Alexis started each run on the roof with kickflips over the upper roof gap. She 50-50ed this gap as well before going down to the lower level to lipslide the rails and skate the 9 stair. In qualifiers, she frontside 50-50ed the huge 9 stair hubba. However, she blew everyone away in the finals when she kickflipped into it. She did this seemingly effortlessly, even though no one had even seen her practice it. Throwing the biggest trick of the day into her run put Alexis Sablone into 1st place.
It was great to see all of the girls celebrating one-another’s victories in between runs. Even the new competitors were welcomed by the veterans with hugs and high fives after each of their runs. The increasingly global group of participants represented at X-Games is a great way to demonstrate that women’s skateboarding is growing on a global scale and this growth is being welcomed with open arms.

Round1

Round2 Practice Footage:

Featuring : Samarria Brevard, Mariah Duran, Leticia Bufoni and Alana Smith. Edit by CA Productions

Featuring: Alexis sablone, Samarria Brevard, Kate Shengeliya and Gabi Mazetto. Edit by CA Productions

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UNDEREXPOSED: from idea to iTunes

UNDEREXPOSED was an incredible journey. When I started, it was just me, my iPhone and a powerful desire to show the skateboarding industry that there were girls skating at a high level all over the world. I was frustrated by the cutbacks happening for women’s skateboarding and wanted answers. (See “No Room for Women in Skateboarding“)

2-3 years ago, I would have never believed that we would make it to iTunes. The encouragement of the skateboarding community, USC, my family and my friends have helped bring this project to fruition. I am incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such supportive people!

Now it’s out! Get it by clicking here

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For any of you who are interested in a little background story on how it all began, here it is:

The inception of this project came when I was helping Julian Bleecker with Hello, Skater Girl. We spent many car rides and mid-skate lunches discussing ways in which we can bring women’s skateboarding to light.

 

“Someone should make a documentary about all this,” Julian said as we drove to Malibu to skate this great pool (RIP). “You’re right! Someone should!” I said. “Why don’t you do it?” he asked casually. I laughed and brushed it off. At that time, my only experience with filmmaking was that I made “sponsor me” videos on Windows Movie Maker as a teenager.

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Eventually, we tried shooting a few test interviews as a side note to shooting photos for Hello, Skater Girl. But at the time, the focus was on the book and a documentary just felt like wishful thinking.

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I wasn’t sold on the idea until after I heard about X-Games canceling women’s vert. I remember pacing around my parents house the summer after my junior year at USC. I was frustrated and wanted to change the way things were for the girls with dreams like mine. I knew that a film would be the best way to reach the most people. I declared that I would try. After all, it had to be done.

I went to my first “serious interview” with a makeshift iPhone tripod my dad made from scraps he found in the garage and an audio recording app. Needless to say, it was not used in the end product.

When I returned to LA, I borrowed cameras from friends and started with something I at least had some sense of: I met up with the pro women I am proud to call my friends and filmed them skateboarding. I scrambled to rent random cameras from my school and eventually my friend Sam Colen let me commandeer his Canon 7D for extended periods of time.

But as I started doing interviews I realized I had no idea how to capture sound properly. If you can’t clearly hear someone’s interview, I doubt you will sit through a documentary with 1.5 hours of muffled speech.

Luckily, I met Brian Lynch while skating Fontana and started to pester him with questions about filmmaking. Eventually, he agreed to come along on one of the interviews. I think he pitied me as he watched try to sync an external audio device I rented from Annenberg with Sam’s 7D. After that, he offered to come along and help me with interviews so that I could actually capture what people were saying. I warned him that I would be working on this for as long as it took to make a proper feature-length doc on the subject. I’m not sure he believed me at the time but he still offered to come on board as the producer of the project.

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I quit my job working as a writer for the USC Annenberg Public Affairs, dropped my course load, skated less. I wrote many papers, e-mails and sat through meetings convincing professors to let me pursue this as an independent project. I remember seeing the doubt in the eyes of the chair of the Narrative Studies department as he suggested that I shoot for a 20 minute video instead of a feature-length documentary. But I knew that it was time for the topic to be taken seriously. Twenty minutes sounded like just another side project that would do nothing but give a wink of acknowledgement to the girls.

I spent all of my time between classes traveling to interviews, sending e-mail blasts to relevant people I found through search engines. (At the time, I didn’t know nearly as many people within the industry as I do now.) I spent hours in the basement of Annenberg fumbling with Final Cut and logging hundreds of hours worth of footage. I went on editing sprees through Thanksgiving and even Christmas. When I had breaks from school I sometimes edited for over 40 hours straight.

Oftentimes, I couldn’t help but think: “What in the world do I think I’m doing? Will I even finish this? Will it make any sense? Will anyone care?” In those moments of doubt, I would think about the words of acknowledgement and advice I received from the skateboarding community. Despite my naiveté in the realm of film, people within the skateboarding world seemed to believe in me. The comments and shares on the original trailer and the messages of encouragement fueled my mission.

As we approached our self-imposed May 2012 completion date, I showed Brian my version of the documentary. In the first cut, it was obvious that I had a strong background of analytical and argumentative writing and not storytelling. Watching the first cut was akin to a live-action college paper. Although it was informative, it was incredibly boring.

Brian suggested that “my story” should be in the documentary. I was incredibly reluctant. After all, this wasn’t supposed to be about me, it was supposed to be about women’s skateboarding as a whole. I discredited his idea immediately. However, after my Gender in Media Industries and Products professor, Alison Trope, allowed me to do a test screening in her class, the majority of the students agreed with Brian. Professor Trope was a key player in helping me pursue the documentary during my time at USC.

I passed the first version of the documentary to Brian to see what kind of changes he had in mind. After a few weeks, he showed me some of the chapters he worked on. For the first time, I felt like I was watching a real movie. It was really beginning to take form!

We then continued passing the documentary back and forth, editing and revising it as we continued to travel, track down crucial interviews and search for footage from girls from other parts of the world.

The August 2012 Agenda Trade Show soon became our new deadline. This action sports trade show in Long Beach seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the attention of our key audience, the skateboarding industry. We buckled down and finished a nearly-polished version of the film.

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I had nightmares leading up to our Agenda screening. I was convinced everyone would fall asleep, leave in the middle of it, or worse: make fun of my love for Kale.

When the credits began and the lights came up at the end of first screening, no one was slouched over their chair in a deep sleep, no one made a run for the exit. Instead, they watched the credits laughing, clapping, waiting for a Q&A. I shakily made my way to the stage, hoping no one noticed that I spent the whole movie nervously sweating.

The goal of the film was to start serious conversations about the progression of women’s skateboarding. I was in awe of the fact that people stayed for hours after the first screening asking questions and discussing ways to generate opportunities for girls who skateboard. Since then, these conversations have travelled throughout the world and social media sphere as we were granted opportunities to screen the film all over the world.

Today, I am incredibly grateful to be part of a community as supportive and receptive as Skateboarding. There are so many people to thank individually that even the end credits of the film are missing some truly wonderful souls. We are all bound by the love, excitement, purpose and camaraderie that skateboarding has brought to our lives and are compelled to help it grow and flourish.

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THANK YOU to everyone who has ever uttered an encouraging word in reference to Underexposed. Your cumulative support has created the wave that helped us ride this project to the very end. For that, and for all of you, I am forever grateful.

2014 Calendar featuring Girls Skating

Hi Friends,

Check out this calendar featuring a different girl skater for each month. Proceeds go to EXPOSURE, an annual female skateboarding event that raises money for victims of domestic violence. Purchase your calendar here or by clicking the images below.

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You can watch the EXPOSURE 2013 recap here:

UNDEREXPOSED Teaser / Exposure 2013 Recap from Amelia Brodka on Vimeo.

For more information on EXPOSURE, please visit www.exposureskate.org

In response to Nyjah Huston

For those of you focused on the recent soundbite from Nyjah’s Thrasher interview: take a moment to think about the kinds of responses he has received.

There have been a ton of responses, the majority from men who have spent more time on this planet than young Huston, that express a strong disagreement with Nyjah’s statement. This just goes to show you that there is a ton of support for today’s rising amount of girls and women who skateboard. The many who have recently defended women’s skateboarding have not only expressed excitement about girls who skate, but brought up specific examples of female shredders who disprove Nyjah’s comment. This reveals that people are not only supportive of girls’ skateboarding, but actively follow it.

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If anything, this innocent slip-up of a young man in the middle of a recorded conversation, has created yet another avenue for people to express that they find value in the growing sector of women’s skateboarding.

I hope you can all join me in forgiving Mr. Huston for his accidental comment. He surely expresses himself best through his incredible skateboarding talents. As a fellow skateboarder, he knows playing skateboards is for everyone. So let’s forget about it and go skateboarding. Congratulations on your new shoe, Nyjah!

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Ed Templeton’s Instagram

If you want to hear more from Ed Templeton about his support of girls who skateboard, check out UNDEREXPOSED: A Women’s Skateboarding Documentary screening in Ocean Beach this Saturday!

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