Suzanne Rowland-Levin was originally a surfer who pursued skateboarding in the early 1960s along with her friends. This time-period was considered the First Wave of skateboarding primarily based around the Palisades, CA.
Several teams were forming and gaining sponsorship who didn’t seem particularly interested in recruiting girls, but that was not a deterrent. In 1963, Suzie, Colleen Boyd-Turner, and Donna Cash-Harris created their own crew called “La Femme,” which was the first ever all-girl skateboard crew. La Femme was a women’s clothing shop who provided the girls with matching plaid wind-breaker jackets, and then Suzie’s mom made 10-inch back patches to make it official.
The big excitement was the first ever International Skateboard Contest in May 1965, held in Anaheim, CA, recorded on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Suzie competed with very respectable results, placing 4th overall after coming in 4th in Flatland Slalom, 5th in Figure Eight, and 6th in Tricks competition.
The girls had a blast, and there’s even a photo of Suzie performing a balancing act on a trash can, while skating around the Palisades High School, circa 1966.
Soon enough, Suzie was recruited by the Palisades Skateboard Team that got started in 1965. The history of the area and the Palisades team are thoroughly documented by Tim Keller in his website.
And then, Hobie skateboards enhanced their team with female riders, including Suzie as seen in this 1966 photo, second from the left, along with Colleen Boyd-Turner and Wendy Bearer-Bull.
Suzanne is now a real estate broker and investor, and she surfs daily from her home in Solana Beach, CA.
- Billing, Karen. “1960s skateboard pioneer Colleen Turner inducted into Skateboarding Hall of Fame.” Encinitas Advocate. Nov. 3, 2021.
- Keller, Tim. “Skateboarding’s First Wave: a Palisades Story.” Tim Keller Arts. 2013.