Andra Malczewski is from Encinitas, California and lived in South Bay, Hermosa Beach, graduating from Torrance High School in 1971. In the mid-1970s at age 20, Andra competed in all skateboarding disciplines and was sponsored by Unity Skateboard Team (AKA Unity SurfSkate shop from Hermosa). In an interview for Juice Magazine (Dec. 2008) legendary skater Laura Thornhill shared that “the first girls I ever rode with were Andrea Malczewski and Debi Eldridge on the strand in Hermosa Beach. They were both on the Unity Skateboard Team.”
Debi and Andra appear briefly in a classroom film called “Skateboard Safety” (Dir. John McDonald, 1976). Debi insists that skateboarding could be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. And at 10:43 there’s some clips of their freestyle performances.
In 1975, Andra had great success! At the First Annual Southern California Skateboard Championships, which was hosted at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Andra placed First in both the Women’s Slalom (17 and over) and Women’s Freestyle, as well as a Second place in the Cross-Country event behind Desiree Von Essen, which I believe is the setting for the “Skateboard Safety” film.
Andra then took First place on July 3rd, 1975 at the Long Beach Arena City Championships in Women’s Slalom, followed up with a Third place in Pro Women’s Freestyle at the Hang-Ten World Pro-Am Skateboard Championships at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, September 1975. She also picked up a sponsorship by Free Former along the way.
A year later in 1976, again at the Hang-Ten World Pro-Am, Andra appears in the results, placing Third in the Pro Women’s Freestyle. From there, Andra isn’t mentioned in skateboard magazines and perhaps her passion for meditation and yoga became her focus? Andra eventually published a book called The Essential Kombucha in 1995, before Kombucha became a mega industry, and based on her Facebook profile she definitely has a hippie vibe!
The best photo of Andra, taken by Jim O’Mahoney, is hands-down the one where she is standing in front of a wall that declares “Riding Skateboards Prohibited,” taken in 1975 at the Long Beach Championships. Andra isn’t phased and looks ready to roll.
*Her name is often misspelled as “Andrea.”
Photos: Jim O’Mahoney