Kathy Zatko

Kathy Zatko appears in the January 1989 issue of Thrasher, celebrating her accomplishment of being the first girl to enter an Eastern Skateboard Association (ESA) contest, which was held at the Brooklyn Banks in New York City. She placed fourth overall in the freestyle contest, and the photo of her holding her trophy is taken by T. Eric Monroe. It turns out that this photo was Monroe’s first published image, which he acknowledged in an Instagram post on July 7, 2021!

While Monroe didn’t provide any specific information about Kathy, he does provide some context about the photo. He explains that,

“In Fall of 1988 I was a Junior in High school. I’d been skating for less than a year, and loved every minute of it. In my high school there were a small handful of skaters in a motley blend of people and cultures. As a teenager I played football, skated, and played drums in the arching band. I remember at the start of the school year being at lunch and one of my friends had a flyer for an upcoming skateboard competition. It was an Eastern Skateboard Association (E.S.A.) contest at the Brooklyn Banks in New York City… I remember looking around being blown away with how many people of color were on skateboards. For 1988, seeing 20-30 Blacks and Latinos riding was joyful to see (see my Ron Chatman story). Watching the New York City locals rip the Brooklyn Banks made it look easy. (It wasn’t!) I watched most of the event, took a few pictures and talked a bit with the event organizer, Art Gracey. His father had started the Eastern Surfing Association out of Warwick, Rhode Island.

He asked me what I was going to do with the pictures I was taking. I said nothing. He said, ‘If you take pictures of the winners for each group, send them to me, I’ll submit them with the contest results to Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding Magazine.’ In November or December of 1988, I remember opening the January 1989 issue of Thrasher, flipping through and seeing a picture I took in a magazine, I just laughed, and never thought much about it… By 1992 I began to be published regularly in Thrasher Magazine’s music section.”

Here’s a 1989 video of Brooklyn Banks, so you get a sense of the scene:

Would be grateful if any east coast skaters remembers Kathy or a way to get in touch!

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