Lora Lyons (Medlock)

Lora Lyons (Medlock) was from Edinburgh, Pennsylvania and began skateboarding after she graduated high school in the late 1970s when her boyfriend (later husband) “bought a crappy plastic board and told me to come over after work. So the first time I got on a board I was wearing a skirt and pantyhose, no shoes! I thought it was great fun though, and we both were hooked after that.” Lora explained that they upgraded their skateboards and as more of their friends started skateboarding, they really got involved.

When Lora’s husband joined the Marines they found a nice skatepark near Memphis where he was stationed, “then Southern California, where we found all kinds of places to skate, not just the parks,” as they were located near El Toro, Marine Corps. Based on her well-loved Big O Skatepark I.D. from Orange, CA in October 1979, Lora looked pretty rad!

One of the skateparks she visited was Del Mar Skate Ranch, where a connection was made with Lauri Wong, a skater who worked there. In April 1986, Lora began rallying for female skateboarders to contact her, so that a women’s skateboarding network could be formed, and her ads appear in Issues #1 and #2 of Lauri’s ‘zine Ladies Skateworld. Phone numbers and postal addresses via Breakers Surf Shop in San Diego are shared in this pre-internet era where women’s skateboarding was very much underground.

In the second issue, there’s an announcement at the same P.O. box that, “An Association has already been started for the women skaters of America. It’s about time. The association is presently called ‘Womens Skateboard Club’ and is based in San Diego, California. The club is open to all female skaters, every age, every skate level and ever kind in skating, such as freestyle, verticle [sic], street, or just rides. We have skaters from every part of the U.S.A. so it dosent [sic] matter where you live.” There was also an announcement that, “We need 7 or more female skaters to enter in our own division for the C.A.S.L. series. We would be skating against each other. Sounds like fun? If so please contact… Lora Medlock.”

There was a sense of excitement and urgency because throughout the early 1980s the women were expected to compete alongside the guys since there often weren’t enough to form a category, or so the organizers assumed. Some skaters, like Cara-Beth Burnside and Sue Smith were up for the challenge, but most were likely intimidated by the prospect and weren’t interested in being compared to the guys.

Lora confirmed that the ads were effective, and she did end up going to the next C.A.S.L. contest with Wong and a group of female skaters. Unfortunately, Lora ended up tearing her ankle pretty badly (not skateboarding) and had to quit. “That was really hard – I loved the freedom of being able to skate wherever there was pavement. A little part of my brain still tells me I can just take a board down the street and it will be okay, but I think my knee replacement would beg to differ!”

Lora is named as that key person who helped trigger the “Women’s Skateboard Network” in the book Skater Girl: a girls’ guide to skateboarding (2007) by Patty Segovia and Rebecca Heller. The movement gained momentum with the help of Lynn Kramer in San Diego (who still competes in downhill, with a mass of world slalom titles to her name), as well as Bonnie Blouin’s April 1986 Thrasher article “Sugar and Spice..?” where she wrote,  “One of my dreams as a skater is to see-through the formation of a nationwide, non-profit girl’s skate club, a directory of names and addresses, a video and a contest. We are out here. We are few and far between, but we are out here.”

This dream became a reality in the late 1980s with over 250 girls in The Network from five countries, sustained by ‘zines! And while no photos of Lora are currently available, a photo of her daughter Elizabeth in 1989 was printed in the Equal Time zine Volume 1 No. 3:


Back to Top

Enjoyed the post? Check out these features: