Renata Škrabalová

Renata Škrabalová is the original female skateboarder from the Czech Republic. Renata started skateboarding in 1984, competing in slalom until 1989 when she started her family, and then returned to the scene in 2009 with renewed energy. Her story was highlighted in the book, Prkýnka na maso jsme uřízli [We Cut the Chopping Boards] (2013) by Martina Overstreetová and Michal Nanoru which explores the history of skateboarding in the Czech Republic before 1990, during the Iron Curtain.

The Soviet Union had created a political boundary after World War II that cut off countries like the Czech Republic from the rest of Europe. An activity like skateboarding was likely considered Western and rebellious, or simply misunderstood. And for those who pursued skateboarding it meant freedom, even if the boards were homemade and inspiration from elsewhere was difficult to find.

A film called “King Skate” (2018) which was based on Martina and Michal’s book was directed by Šimon Šafránek, and Renata is quoted as saying, “To me, skateboarding means friendship.” If someone has access to the full film and can translate Czech, I would be grateful to learn more!

Here’s the trailer:

From what I can glean, based on the limited powers of Google translate, Renata is from the town of Polička, and in the 1970s there was nothing to do, so her now-husband Ivo around 1976 found some instructions in ABC magazine on how to make a skateboard. These early skateboards were made of plywood with an “amateur-welded chassis and wheels glued from three hockey pucks.” Eventually, skateboarders acquired more sophisticated gear. And it sounds like the sons of director Milos Forman, who had left the Czech Republic for the US in 1968, brought skateboards back from America after visiting their dad in 1976 when he was attending the Oscars.

When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989 there were many new opportunities in the Czech Republic, with skateparks and skateboard shops opening. Competitions were organized and Renata was repeatedly the Czech Cup champion. I’m also confident that this video of a Renata at age 22 from the ‘CSSR’ competing at the Skateboard World Cup in July 1988, Munster, Germany was her:

Even though slalom is less appealing to most contemporary skateboarders it has seen a resurgence, so Renata became a slalom skateboarding coach and is involved with a custom longboard company called MANIA.

In 2018, Renata was still skateboarding and hosting slalom contests with her husband Ivo in Polička through the club Sk8 Slalom Polička.


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