Elisabeth “Eli” Meyers

Elisabeth “Eli” Meyers (RIP) was from Schoten, a town in Antwerp Province, Belgium and is considered the country’s first ripping female skater. Meyers was introduced to skateboarding by her brother and friends, and she consistently skateboarded into her fifties. Reflecting on the late 1970s she said, “In those days, there were no videos – we had to wait for Skateboarder Magazine to come out so we could get our fix and see what was new. My two favorite skaters, who I also consider my mentors were Stacy Peralta and Mike Weed.”

At age 15, Eli had a two-page feature in the September 1978 issue of the Belgian magazine Skate International België. In a scan from Facebook, you can glean that she was part of the Antwerp Skateboard Club and would train for hours each day. Meyers was the three-time European Freestyle Champion in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

A fellow Belgian skater named Patrick Janssen’s was the son of Jean Janssens, who ran a company called Beltoco which imported some big name skateboarding companies like Banzai, Gordon & Smith, and ACS trucks. Banzai recognized the talent in the area and recruited a team, which included Elisabeth, Marc Vissers, Percy Kesteloot, Stephaan Van Den Broeck, and Patrick Janssens. From 1978 to 1980 Meyers was sponsored by Beltoco, Banzai, G&S, Powell Peralta, Pepsi, and Bad Co.

In 1979, a dream came true and Meyers was invited on a tour in the United States along with the Belgian Banzai team. They visited the Big O, Marina Del Rey, Skateopia, Oasis, Lakewood and Del Mar skateparks, as well as Disneyland. In California, Eli got a chance to expand her skateboarding to bowls and pools.

Van den Broeck posted to Facebook a hand-written summary of the trip celebrating Eli’s accomplishments, as the only member of the Belgian team to medal at the at the Oceanside freestyle contest (July 1979). Eli placed 3rd in the Sponsored Girls (16-18) category behind Yvonne Cucci from team Vans and Jackie Jones, and was the only female participant who was not American. The contest apparently drew thousands of spectators, so it would’ve been quite nerve-wracking to compete.

Later on, the Belgian crew changed their name to “Bad Company” since Beltoco also imported Bad Co. Evert de Beer joined the team and became Eli’s boyfriend, and then her husband sharing her passion for skateboarding. Meyers studied tourism in University, became a teacher and had two children, Jasmine and Marjolein with Evert, who also surf and skate.

Eli returned to competition in the 2010s, often within the “Legends” category, placing 1st at the 2018 Paderborn BBQ Freestyle Contest, and 7th in the 2019 Euro Freestyle Championships in Brandenburg. She was also included in an interesting book in 2018 called Primitive Skateboarding Belgium 1978  by Marco Laguna, an underground filmmaker who discovered a stash of some 300 slides at a Brussels flea market in 2008 evidently from a skateboard photographer for Skate Magazine in the late 1970s. The book showcases some of the best of these slides, which highlights the first wave of skateboarding in Belgium, including Eli.

Eli competing in 2017:

In an unusual thesis by Bryce Carey Noe called “Freestyle Soundscapes” (May 2022), discussing the musical accompaniment used by freestyle skateboarders, Eli Meyers is acknowledged in particular for her choice of Cindi Lauper’s classic song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” The song was regarded as a statement of empowerment, which also didn’t fit within the two-minute requirement. Eli would skate the entire song, as showcased below in 2020:

Sadly, Elisabeth died on November 2nd, 2021 and is deeply mourned by her family, friends and the skateboarding community. She was described as a positive person with a good spirit, as well as a crowd favourite with her amazing wheelies. In honour of her memory, the Euro Freestyle Skateboarding Championships created a new name for the girls’ division. As of 2022, it will now be known as the “Eli Meyers Girls Contest.”

RIP Eli Meyers – it looked like you enjoyed a life full of fun and brought joy to many.


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