By the mid-to-late 1970s the skateboarding contest circuit in the U.S., particularly in California, was becoming well established and Canon “Bunny” Price was part of the scene. Canon explained that the nickname came about because “I was always jumping off loading docks behind the Torrance supermarkets,” and it seemed to stick, as her contest results often featured that name when she was dominating the youth competitions.
Canon was born in August of 1966 and got her first exposure to skateboarding from “the neighborhood boys that lived across the street from me. I watched them on a homemade ramp and one day one of the boys allowed me to try out his board. I was immediately hooked and came home to beg my parents to buy me any board they could. Skateboarding allowed me to be one with the boys which was the feeling I think I was craving at the time during my adolescence. I was a pure tomboy and never felt comfortable doing girlie things or even having female friends.”
Her first inspiration was Russ Howell, who encouraged her to compete, and while she was on the circuit, Tom Inouye and Lonnie Toft were her “rockstar mentors.” Canon writes, “Lonnie even gave me one of his 8-wheeler boards which I carted around for over 25 years until I ended up gifting it to a local kid. Always tried to pay it forward as I got older.” She also reminisced when Brad Bowman signed her board!
As well, Vicki Vickers and Edie Robertson were female skaters who looked out for Canon and whom she revered… “probably even had little crushes on both of them.” Vickers was also on the Sims team, and Canon’s parents would have insisted that Canon had a chaperone on tour, since she was so young. “We rode around in the SIMS Winnebago… which was massive btw and completely decked out!” In Vicki’s 6-page interview for the December 1979 issue Skateboarder, she even gives Price a shout out as her protégé and an up-and-coming skater to watch out for.
The Sims sponsorship came about due to a contest. “I think there was a local skate shop / park near my home that had announced a competition… I just remember being as good as [the] guys my age so competing against girls seemed silly. Someone must have approached me… probably Russ Howell hooked it up. He taught me so many tricks. All I remember from my early contest days was trying to choreograph my moves to my favorite Led Zeppelin songs.”
Canon noted that her favorite song was “The Ocean.”
In the November 1977 issue of the National Skateboard Review a photo of Price, wearing her Sims gear, reports that she received a 2nd place finish at Skatopia in the California State Championships for Slalom and Banked Slalom in the 11-16 girls contest with Julie Cheng in the lead (photo D. Guthrie).
According to Russ Howell’s website, the “First Ever Pool Contest” was held at the Concrete Wave park in Anaheim, California in November 1977. For the Girls’ category, Price took gold in Pool and Slalom, silver in Banked Slalom (or “snake run”), and Bronze in Freestyle! So technically, she is the first ever female skater to win a pool contest. Wow!!
Her next photo appeared in the December 1977 issue of Skateboard World, where the caption reads: “Bunny Price, at the age of ten, is entering sixth grade and she lives in Lomita, California. She has been skateboarding for two years, mostly on homemade ramps. On the [Sims] team for about three months, she plays soccer, little league baseball and is active in track, skiing and karate. Her competition career is somewhat shorter then the rest but just as impressive.”
The photo also shared her 1977 contest results which included 2nd place overall freestyle and compulsory at Lomita, 1st place freestyle at Sports Fest, and 1st in freestyle & 2nd in bowl at Montabello.
Canon (listed as “Bunny”) often appeared in the contest results in the National Skateboard Review:
- April 1978, Hang-Ten Skateboard Olympics at Magic Mountain, representing Sims and Runway skatepark. 1st in Girls’ Freestyle, 3rd in Girls’ Slalom, age 11 resulting in Champion status.
- June 1978, Oceanside National Freestyle Pro-Am contest, 1st place for the 9- to 12-year-old sponsored girls.
- July 1978, First annual Invitational California State Amateur Championships, held at Skatopia skatepark in Buena Park, CA. Girls 12 and under, 1st place in Freestyle, Pipe-riding, Snake Run, and Slalom, with a 2nd place in Giant Slalom.
- February 1979, Lakewood California contest, 1st place Girls’ 11-12 Freestyle and Slalom.
The Lakewood event was part of a the USASA Big Five series, culminating in the Nationals. In the July 1979 edition of Skateboarder Curtis Hesselgrave reported on the action at the Nationals, which were held at Whirling Wheels Skatepark in Escondido, CA on March 31 / April 1st 1979. It sounded like an epic competition with multiple events and five age categories. For age 11-12, Price took 1st prize for Freestyle, Slalom and Pool-riding, and while she didn’t compete at all five of the USASA Big Five events, she was awarded the Girls’ 11-12 slalom title for the season.
Even Steve Van Doren acknowledged her skill, and she could pick out any shoes she wanted. He customized a pair for her with the remnants of her favorite old plaid shirt! Canon also shared that it was through skateboarding that she met her first official boyfriend – Eric Dressen. “He was younger than me and was super cute. I’m not sure how we met but probably through the gang of boys I skated with. He had pretty blonde hair and an impish grin. We definitely got into a lot of trouble.”
Trouble sounded pretty fun, with adventures like, “sneaking out of my house with Eric and piling into a Volkswagen bug at 4am loaded with cool pro skaters and heading down the freeway to skate the pipes behind the military fences in Oceanside… After two hours of bliss the army cops escorted us out and I had to face the music when I arrived home. My parents were livid …well my mom was… my dad actually was always very cool.” In conversation with Eric, Canon noted that they skated full pipes by the 110, and Figueroa and Crenshaw Boulevard.
And it wasn’t just Canon following the guys, she was definitely the ring leader of the gang, going on stealthy missions to drain swimming pools at local homes in nearby Palos Verdes! The cops caught up to her, and when she was brought home to face her parents “my dad had to work his magic to get me off the hook,” and helped to keep it from her mom.
Sadly, in the 1980s, when Canon was 14 her mom received a diagnosis of terminal cancer, so it was around this time that she stopped skateboarding, but the experience gave her loads of positive memories and she continues to enjoy a long-boarding cruise on occasion!
Thanks again for reaching out, Canon! And if anyone has photos of her skating pool or half pipe, please do forward.
- Hesselgrave, Curtis. “Observations of the USASA Nationals.” Skateboarder. July 1979, pp. 54-57.
- Howell, Russ. “Skateboard History Timeline.” SkateWhat.com.
- Dootson, Di. National Skateboard Review. Contest results: November 1977, May 1978, August 1978, October 1978.
- Price, Canon. Personal interview: June 30, 2022.