Michelle Ticktin of Glasgow, Scotland was a ripping vert skater in the late 1980s and besides the legendary Sue Hazel, she was one of the few female skaters known to be skating in the UK at the time. In the November 1989 issue of the UK magazine Skateboard! an interview was published by Christian Welsh featuring Ticktin (*misspelled as “Picktin”!!).
Michelle shared that upon buying a board she immediately started skating transition, since there was a local quarter-pipe and one other girl skating named Lucy, who encouraged her. She had a rough start since her first board got busted-up under a bus, and then she broke her leg learning to drop-in! “It took me three times to break my leg! Then I had to wait a few months for a board, then I was skating again, just skating about on the pavements.” Dang! That’s badass.
Even when skateboarding wasn’t trendy during the early ’80s Michelle persevered, and there was a girl named Kate who participated off and on who inspired her. Michelle skated throughout Scotland – in Glasgow, Livi (Livingston), and Brighton, where she met a girl named Theresa who would arrange morning sessions on their new ramp. Michelle progressed quickly on vert, noting that it gave her an adrenaline rush, and only occasionally skated street. Michelle also got to meet Stephanie Person, the first black female professional skater in Brighton and was pretty stoked to connect, saying how friendly she was.
Photos: Paul Duffy, Fred MacMillan
Welsh was persistent with his questioning about Michelle’s perspective on being a female skater, and she shared it was only noticeable at competitions. Michelle wasn’t concerned about competing against the guys and said, “when you’re there and you’re skating with these people that are so good, you just want to push yourself.” The challenge was that “there’s all these men walking about and everyone’s thinking, ‘My God there’s a girl that skates!’ If there were more it wouldn’t be like that.’ And when asked if there actually were more girls out there, Michelle replied, “Oh yeah, lots. They’re everywhere. My friends are getting into it.”
Michelle’s favourite place to skate was at “The Church” in Glasgow, officially known as Angel Lights Planetary Skatepark located in Anniesland. The vert ramp was a skater’s mecca, and many contests were held there as well.
Michelle couldn’t imagine the existence of a girls-only competitive series, even when it was noted that women’s surfing was successful as its own division, but she was excited to be part of the Women’s Skateboarding Association which originated with Lynn Kramer, along with Sue Hazel and a friend named Kay. “I guess if there’s a recognised body of females who skate other females might not feel like such a freak when they get on a skateboard.”
For contests, Michelle entered Southsea, which she hated, and Aberdeen, which she enjoyed since it was more like a jam session and she liked just having a laugh. Michelle concluded that, “I think I’m really lucky that I do skate because I do like it so much and it’s just something I really want to do. Not a lot of people find things that they really want to do. I’m so stoked that I skate.”
- Welsh, Christian. “Michelle Picktin.” Skateboard! November 1989, pp. 22-23.