Pam Judge

Pam Judge is the earliest known, high-calibre female skateboarder from Calgary, AB, Canada from back in the late 1970s. Pam had been competing in downhill skiing since the early 1970s as part of the Sunshine Ski Club in Alberta and appeared to be a natural athlete, along with her brother who was on the National Ski Team.

January 15, 1976 Calgary Herald Newspaper

Pam competed at three of the Canadian Pro-Am Skate Association events, from 1977 to 1979 and placed top 3 in the girls’ slalom at all of them! SkateWorld Journal posted this story for their November 1977 issue on the first Canadian Pro-Am competition in 1977, and you can see at least one female skateboarder in the photos, possibly Pam who was there!:

In the October 1978 issue of the National Skateboard Review, there’s a brief mention of the results where its noted that Pam, at age 18 placed first in girls’ Slalom and fourth in girls’ Freestyle. Other Canadian competitors include Sherry Man (age 21 from North Vancouver), Andria Hiob (age 14 from Edmonton), Morgan Elliot (age 15 from Ontario), Silvana Leung (age 17 from Vancouver), and Lynn Rasmussen (age 18 from Prince George). Pam competed in two Canadian National Championships and even went on tour attending contests in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but never made it as far east as Quebec, where freestyle champion Sophie Bourgeois was expanding her skills.

Photos: Peter Blashill, John Colville

Canadian contests were organized by Monty Little, the President of the Canadian Pro-Am Skateboard Association and apparently contests were held in every Province in Canada with the winners being invited to the finals on the westcoast in Vancouver, British Columbia at the PNE Fair. And, the big excitement was the winners of the finals got a tour of California Skateparks along with their prizes, including one female champion!

Pam Judge must have enjoyed the experience (I do hope they actually included the female skaters in the tour!) because she was spotted in 1979 at the Oasis Skatepark in Mission Valley. In the Facebook page for “Da Mad Taco Skates Again” he reports that, “Pam was an Olympic Downhill / Slalom Skier from Canada who stayed the summer in San Diego to skate (and heal the broken wrist. Haha)” and provides two photos of her skating bowl.

You can see that she’s wearing a cast from her skiing accident, but undeterred!

In February 1979, Pam competed at a contest in Upland, CA placing first in women’s 16-19 2A category for Freestyle, Slalom, and Bowl, according to the May 1979 issue of Skateboarder. Pam became sponsored by Gordon & Smith (G&S), a leading board company at the time. And then, in his coverage of the USASA Nationals in April 1979 for the July 1979 issue of Skateboarder, Curtis Hesselgrave reported on the scene and the interesting people he was meeting, including Pam.

“Calgary is a ski town and naturally Pam is a skier, but Calgary also has a skatepark and Pam has been an active competitor there. She is the first skater from her area to come to the U.S. to compete. Although she is somewhat behind U.S. women in her skate development, she doesn’t feel that she or her fellow Canadians are that far behind. Give sufficient opportunity she feels that Canadian skaters can compete equally with those from the U.S. Pam says that SKATEBOARDER Magazine is the main source of inspiration to Canadian skaters. They learn maneuvers from the mag and it keeps their enthusiasm up” (Hesselgrave, p. 56).

The indoor park that Pam was referring to was called Skatopia 1 (there had been plans to open #2 and #3 in Edmonton, which never panned out) and they even hosted a contest in July 1978 that brought up big names like Vicki Vickers, Ellen Berryman, Tara Kaylor, Lonnie Toft, Russ Howell, Jerry Valdez, Bob Mohr and Steve Rocco. Sadly, the facility was only open for a few years.

The Canadian skate scene had a lot of momentum at the end of the 1970s, and Jim Goodrich reported on the 1979 Canadian Nationals in the February 1980 issue of Skateboarder. Goodrich noted that, “Pam Judge, a strong contender last year, also proved a formidable entry, placing in each event,” which included freestyle and slalom. Unfortunately, Canada wasn’t immune to the massive downfall of skateboarding in the 1980s and with Skatopia 1 closing, it appears that Pam must have sought out alternative options to get her kick of adrenaline.

I briefly heard from PJ (her preferred name) and that she now lives in Kaslo, BC.


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