Boycott Boycotts

It has come to my attention that as a response to the cutback of opportunities for women in skateboarding, supporters are suggesting and endorsing boycotts.

A majority of these are in response to Vans’ decision to terminate their contract with the legendary and inspirational Cara-Beth Burnside.

Although your hearts are in the right place and your energy and support towards encouraging the progression of women in skateboarding is greatly appreciated, boycotting is simply not the way to go.

In the specific case of the suggested Vans boycott, please remember that Vans is still putting on what is currently the highest-paying women’s transition contest of the year. And who’s going to be there flipping burgers? That’s right, Mr. Vans himself, Steve Van Doren. Vans has also backed (and continues to do so) the All-Girl Skate Jam for the past decade.

This year's will be held November 12

From a business standpoint, does Vans have to do this? Not necessarily. Let’s face it, they have control over the skate shoe market whether girls skate in their shoes or not.

So let’s give credit where credit is due.

I owned a pair of white CB pro model Vans when I was about 12 years old. They were my first skate shoes. I loved those shoes so much I distinctly remember consistently scrubbing those things down with a sponge even though I skated them to pieces.

Not only does seeing Vans and CB part ways hurt my soul, but it’s discouraging to see the vacant space on the Protec Pool Party banner every time I go to skate Vans’ combi bowl.

But negativity breeds more negativity.

The term boycott connotes too much hostility. Vans could very easily decide to cancel the Women’s Combi Contest, their “Girls skate free nights,” and their girls’ skate clinics as a result of a boycott.

So let’s instead be grateful for what we DO have and put our energies into something more positive. Help show that girls’ teams are beneficial for brands by purchasing product from and supporting the growth of existing girls’ teams.

For example:


Traveling, skating and working with the Poseidon Foundation was a great experience.

Thanks Ladonna Williams for letting Poseiden crash and skate at your ranch! photo: Ana Paula Negaro

You have to give back to what you love.

Let’s face it, if skateboarding has captivated your soul the way it has mine, the thought “skateboarding saved my life” or “what would I be doing if I never picked up a skateboard?” has most likely crossed your mind. That passion is the same reason that when most skateboarders get hurt their primary concern is “how soon can I skate again?”

How great would it be to spark that same drive in a kid from a rough neighborhood?

Poseiden's Thumbs Up tour brings international pros to give product to kids at Barrios Unidos

By visiting Barrios Unidos, Poseiden hopes to inspire kids who are at-risk of becoming involved in gangs to consider putting their energy into perfecting kickflips instead.

Organizations such as Skatistan are providing similar opportunities by encouraging adolescents to stay in school by offering an hour of skateboarding (including instructors, equipment & a nice new skate park) for each hour of school. In a war-riddled country in which over half of the population consists of teenagers, it’s important to provide these youth with an outlet that will not only distract them from the disorder but keep them from being involved in it.

roosevelt park. photo: Ana Paula Negaro

Furthermore, thanks to Salmon and Toad for putting on a women’s division at the 7th annual Chili Bowl in SF

And thanks to Lizzie and Allysha for the most awesome doubles runs I’ve ever seen!

it was called "The Ranch" for a reason

Many thanks go out to Micaela Ramirez for bringing me along!

Super Girl Jam recap

The Supergirl Jam in Venice featured a street course complete with a four flat four stair with hubbas and a center rail, euro gaps, ledges, a quarter pipe and a five stair with handrails.

The event started with an extensive AM contest. It’s great to see amateur divisions in girls’ contests because it gives up-and-coming girls an opportunity to prove that they deserve to be considered in the decisions on who is to be invited to upcoming contests. The format was a type of AM face-off in which pairs of AMs skated in head-to-head elimination rounds to compete for the two available slots in the PRO division.

Congratulations to Samarria Brevard and Chelsea Castro for being the top two AMs and holding their own against the pros.

The pro contest format presented high-energy skating with timed jam sessions on individual features. As soon as the timer started, the girls rushed to throw a barrage of simultaneous flip and rail tricks down the sets. From a spectators perspective, it was a great presentation of these girls’ talent and dedication, but I would have hated to be a judge. So much went down!!!

a quick iPhone photo of Jessica Florencio kickflipping the 5

Everyone skated so well it’s hard to choose what needs to be highlighted but here’s a quick run-down:

1st section (5-stair):
Jessica Florencio -front feebles, back smiths and hardflips,
Abisha Alshebaiki- nollies, front boards, kickflips, hardflips
Eliana Sosco- perfectly caught hardflips
Amy Caron- lip slides, feebles
Alexis Sablone- switch kf, kf front board, heelflip
Eliana- shuvit, hardflip
Sarah Molder- feeble
Lacey Baker (who was hobbling with a cane just a few weeks ago at the X-Games) flawless hard flips, frontside flips, fakie fs front heels, inward heels.

Middle section:
Rachel Reinhard – double kickflips & bs flips up the euro gap,
Vanessa Torres- stylish melon fakies on the quarter, ollies up the euro into a back tail on the ledge next to it, crooked grinds on the flat bar into the bank
Racine Hopkins -fakie bigspin boardslides
Alexis Sablone- kickflip up the euro gap into a nose manual across the entire section of the course.

The 4 flat 4 stair (top 8):
Amy Caron – 5050 4 flat 4 hubba, feeble 4 flat 4 handrail,
Abisha Alshebaiki- boardslid the same rail right after AFTER a big crash with Vanessa Torres who was rolling away from landing a front smith,
Alexis Sablone- kickflip front 50-50 4 flat 4 hubba, front 50-50 hand rail
Vanessa Torres- front board

Like I said, that’s only SOME of what went down. But here are the pro results:

1. Alexis Sablone
2. Lacey Baker
3. Amy Caron
4. Abisha Alshebaiki
5. Rachel Reinhard
6. Vanessa Torres
7. Jessica Florencio
8. Eliana Sosco
9. Brooke Whipp
10. Sarah Molder
11. Rebecca Syracopulos
12. Chelsea Castro
13. Racine Hopkins
14. Sophie Poppe
15. Samarria Brevard
16. Alize Montes

Congratulations to all of the competitors, everyone skated really well!

X-Games Women’s Street recap

The layout of the street course this year looked like a level right out of a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game combined with the setting of the intro to Fully Flared. There was even a car parked in one of the garages.
The girls flowed all over the course, weaved throughout the rooftops, did creative gaps and skated each part of the course. Despite Eliana Sosco’s great hardflips and Candy Jacobs’ perfect back feeble down the center 6 stair, consistency was key for a spot in the finals.

just a part of the street course, notice the skateable roof tops!

As for the finals:

Nineteen-year-old Jessica Florencio’s lines were smooth and consistent. She flowed around the park with Brazlilian super-powers, consistently hitting as many gaps as she could. She ollied the roof-to-roof gap, boardslid down the roof handrail, kickfliped into the euro, and was the only one to successfully hit the rail on the big 7 block with a couple of clean boardslides down the center rail.

Veteran Elissa Steamer 5-0ed over the roof gap like the video game character she is, kickflipped into the euro, bs flipped to fakie over the hip. She did a fun gap and ollied off of the euro kicker and into the quarterpipe.

Leticia Bufoni, another fueled by Brazilian super-power blood infused with acai berry, started her runs at the north west corner on the Bus Stop rooftop, ollied into the euro, then hit a big gap over the air to flat with a melon grab, then did bs 50-50s or crooked grinds across the roof gap, boardslid down the southeast handrail, frontside 180ed into the euro gap and had some of the snappiest clean lipslides down the handrail on the center stairs doing snappy lipslides down the center stairs, (unfortunately she didn’t go for any front feebles during the contest even though she got them in practice) She did do a couple of front 50 50s down the big hubba on the 7 block.
Leticia was the only one to gap over the handicap ramp and over the rail to flat, (which she 180ed in practice yesterday) and kickflipping over the detour gap
Watch her bronze-medal run here

Alexis Sablone, east-coast ivy league architect, was the only one to do flip tricks from roof-to-roof and started each of her runs by kickflipping the roof gap. She then would front board the handrail down towards the “ground level” of the coarse and popped perfect heelflips down the euro gap. She wasn’t as consistent in the finals but still 50-50ed the big section hubba and then pulled out perfect kickflip front 50-50s down the hubba out of nowhere, easily the biggest trick of the day. Immediately after, she cruised over to the other stairs and kickflipped them flawlessly. The buzzer meant nothing to Sablone, she wanted to make the big tricks for herself and kept trying even after time was up. She did some textbook front smiths down the center handrail during prelims, but didn’t get a chance to pull any out during finals.
Click here to watch her last run

Marissa Dal Santo started her runs off with stylish roof-to-roof lipslides across the ledge then went straight into front boards down the hand rail and kickflips into the euro gap. She crooked grinded the handrail down the center stairs and also 50-50ed the big hubba and backside flipped up the euro gap to earn her winning run. She even pulled some kickflip melons up the euro during prelims.
click here to watch one of her runs

All of the women skated great despite the heat. Thanks to everyone who came to watch or tuned in online. Check out the full results here

Show your support.

Support what you believe in.
Think women should have more contests? Media coverage? Opportunities in skateboarding?
Show it. Go to, watch, promote or at least tweet about the events that DO exist. Whether it’s a grassroots GRO event that has happened to come close to your town, or the women’s street contest at the X-Games, fan and participant presence makes a difference.
No events going on near you? Buy from companies that support girl skaters and encourage others to do the same.
Although it’s great that many people seem to want to see opportunities for women and girls who skateboard to grow, the companies that decide whether they want to include women’s divisions, sponsor women, make them pro model boards/shoes/etc. are most likely to respond favorably if they see an ACTIVE fan/participant base. Upset that Elissa Steamer and Zero have parted ways? Did you buy her board?

With that said, it’s great that the dedicated women of street skating still have a spot in the X-Games. Show ESPN that they’re not making a mistake by keeping them in there. Show ESPN that you want to watch women skate. Go to or watchthe women’s street contest tomorrow.

Leticia Bufoni with a front feeble.

I was more focused on getting video, but managed to get some quick iphone shots of Leticia at practice

tune in tomorrow to see the girls grind and do tricks across this roof gap


Air Attack: Women’s Vert in Belgium

World Cup Skateboarding was generous enough to refrain from removing the women’s vert division from their schedule for Air Attack, in Antwerp Belgium.

Now the challenge lies in getting enough sponsor support to get the skaters out there. In this situation, there is strength in numbers. The more women that can make it, the stronger the statement will be to encourage WCS to continue putting on women’s vert events.
A big thanks goes out to
The Poseiden Foundation for putting on events like this that will encourage a strong showing of female riders throughout this summer’s WCS European tour and encourage girls around the world to pursue skateboarding.

As for me, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Belgium. But for now, I’m filming for the documentary back in So.Cal.

photo: JCB
The past week consisted of shooting skating and interviews with Hunter Long alongside Julian Bleecker, Lizzie Armanto, Mimi Knoop and Gaby Ponce.
I'm lurking in the corner as Hunter Long tucks a FS air in Venice. photo: JCB.

We now have producer Brian Lynch on board, full use of Annenberg‘s computer labs, and a generously-loaned Canon from Sam Colen. Production is in full-force and all is going well. Keep an eye out for a trailer coming your way soon!

New England Nora

Unlike Southern California, unpredictable weather and a limited number of quality skateparks are persistent challenges in New England. This environment creates a rare breed of determined all-around skateboarders like Nora Vasconcellos.

Nora debuted at the X-Games last year with 6th place in vert and an appearance in the girls’ superpark demo, I have no doubt that she could have excelled in the street contest as well.

Day one began with a hailstorm so we road-tripped up to Rye Airfield, a 50,000 ft. gem of an indoor skatepark tucked away on the coast of New Hampshire. There, Nora boosted head-high airs and tech lip tricks on their brand new vert ramp as we took photos for the girls’ skate book and video for the documentary.

Nora kickflip indy on Rye's new vert ramp

Nora and I began to discuss the logistics of arranging and organizing a women’s vert series that we are shooting to launch with an event at Rye January 2012.

The trek back from Rye to Nora’s house consisted of dodging lightening and tornadoes, but by the next morning the weather had cleared up enough to document Nora at her local park in Hingham, Massachusetts where she easily strung lines of tech lip tricks throughout the bowl.

Next steps in the documentary process include interviews with ESPN folk, people working in the skate industry, and compiling more footage of skilled skateboarding.

In Response to ESPN’s article: “X Games cancels women’s Skate Vert”

ESPN has recently published an article explaining their reasoning behind canceling women’s vert from X-Games. Read it here.

ESPN stated that women’s vert has failed to meet the criteria necessary to remain an X-Games event which consists of:”a solid year-round infrastructure, a growing participant base, an established annual competition schedule, rising youth talent pools, ample access to courses,” and “low barriers of entry into the sport.”

Although their reasoning has truth behind it, there are many loopholes in ESPN’s analysis.

“‘I think it’s a shame,’ vert skateboarding icon Tony Hawk texted about the decision to drop women’s vert skating, ‘especially with the amount of interest in women’s skating and new talent lately.'”

Tony Hawk’s statement disproves ESPN’s belief that women’s vert fails to meet the criteria of the existence of “rising youth talent pools.”

An example of the young talent Hawk was referring to:

lack of rising young talent? really? What about 14 year old Allysha Bergado?


























Or nine-year-old Alana Smith:

Let’s explore the rest of the criteria necessary to be an X-Games event-

2.”ample access to courses”
A. I do admit that there are not enough vert ramps outside of San Diego. However, women have just as much access to vert ramps as men do. Any yet, the insufficient number of vert ramps has not affected the men’s contest.
B. There is a slow, but existing growth in the number of vert ramps outside of SD. However, elimination of vert events will only impede further progress.
C. If this is part of their reasoning, then why take out women’s park as well? Parks/bowls/pools are significantly more accessible than vert ramps. Last year they allowed the women to at least skate a demo in the park course- with the intent of turning it into an event in upcoming X-Games. And yet they have backtracked to exclude women’s transition skating completely.

4.”a growing participant base” –
A. See Hawk’s previous statement.
B. There has been a definite surge in the amount of young girls who skate street, vert, park and all of the above. For example: there were about 40 women competing in the Girls Combi Classic- which is more than double that of the preceding year’s Protec Pool Party- (once again, why exclude women’s park?).
C. ESPN’s move has a lot of potential to significantly inhibit further growth of the participant base. I started skating after I saw the women’s vert demo at the 2002 X-Games in Philadelphia. Lyn-z said it best: ” This, unfortunately, is going to end the growth for women’s vert skating as we know it.”

2. “low barriers of entry into the sport ”
A. True, there are very few, if any technical “barriers” or structures through which women and girls can work their way into professional women’s vert skating- this is fed predominantly by reasons 2 & 5.
B. I think the biggest “barrier” to entry now is that all of the vert events have been eliminated…

5. “a solid year-round infrastructure” & “an established annual competition schedule”
A. Completely true. But rather than stand by us as we hope and wait for the one competition we do have, they have eliminated the last remaining women’s vert event.
B. Once again- what about park? There’s a year-round World Cup series for bowl riding, so why not AT LEAST let us skate the giant, fun bowl you build for park?

Please sign this petition in protest of ESPN’s decision:
And “like” this Facebook page

Time to start our own series of vert and bowl events that will force ESPN to re-evaluate our inclusion in next year’s X-Games.

Taking steps towards change

Spreading awareness, and consequently, support, is one of the first steps towards beginning to change the current industry/media approach to women’s skateboarding.

filming all-around ripper Hunter in the Kapolei bowls in Hawaii

Thank you for all who have read, replied to and most importantly, reposted my last post. Every little bit helps. The amount of attention the news received implies that the most likely reason behind the omission, which is that people are simply not interested in women’s skateboarding, is flawed. Thank you again for the support.

As far as exposure for women goes, one of the progressive projects currently underway is a photo book by Julian Bleecker. Having acknowledged the lack of media support in the world of women’s skateboarding, Julian has been faithfully seeking out and photographing dedicated female rippers across the country in an effort to bring their talents and stories to light.

I’ve joined forces with him on the project, and we are currently in NJ preparing to shoot photos of Lorena Lima and then head to New Hampshire to document the versatile skateboarding talents of Nora Vasconcellos.

My involvement in the project has inspired me to proceed with a documentary project/ my senior thesis that will delve into the reasoning behind the industry’s decision to overlook women.

Hunter and Matt Reynolds in Hawaii
Lizzie Armanto checking out the prototype version of a magazine we compiled that consists of Julian's photos and interviews with talented female skaters
pondering book layouts in the Nearfuturelaboratory

Please continue to spread the word. Any further feedback and recommendations are greatly appreciated.

No room for women in skateboarding

we competed in 2010 too...

No Pool Party, No Dew Tour, No X Games, No Maloof, No coverage by the skateboard media. Women’s vert and transition skateboarding seems to have been dismissed by the skateboarding industry.

Although I’m very grateful that we have been granted our very own combi contest, which turned out to be a great event last Fall, Vans and Protec seems to have made it clear that it is not worthy of being associated with the prestige of the Protec Pool Party as they unveiled the 2010 winners banner. Each preceeding banner lists the winners from the Men’s, Masters’ and Women’s divisions. However, this year’s banner has a blank space where the Women’s winner used to be listed. Ironically enough, the 2010 women’s combi contest has been the strongest showing in terms of numbers of competitors and the level of skating. And yet, it remains unacknowledged. Seeing as Vans has recently eliminated their girls’ skate team, this adds insult to injury.

Lizzie Armanto skates this pool with technical precision and grace. I have half a mind to go spray paint her name on the banner where it rightfully belongs. photo:JCB

Last week, ESPN made it clear that women’s vert and superpark will no longer be divisions in the X-Games. Seeing as Dew Tour has omitted women’s vert this year and Maloof has done little more than hint at the possibility of inclusion, there are virtually no women’s vert contests. We too want to feel the sense of accomplishment, joy and even purpose that comes with successfully finishing a polished run despite unnerving contest jitters.

Gaby Ponce, winner of last year's X-Games, photo: JCB

I’m not blind to the difference in levels between the divisions, but what I have experienced firsthand is the recent spike in the level and numbers of women and girls who skate. And somehow this too remains unacknowledged.

Although I have constantly felt more than welcome into many fun, high-energy sessions with great guys and pros who I’ve looked up to for the past decade, this series of news connotes the concept that women skateboarders are not truly a part of the world of coping and concrete that we have come to love.
We, too, are immersed and committed to the skateboarding community. But the media continues to convey the idea that our place in skateboarding is limited to cheering the boys on as they have all of the fun or scantily clad and posing suggestively in advertisements for wheels.

It’s time to look outside of the current skateboarding industry and start composing our own events.