Debi Eldredge

Debi Eldredge (sometimes misspelled “Debbie Eldridge”) was on the Unity Skateboard team back in the mid-1970s along with her friend Andra Malczewski. The two skaters were revered by Laura Thornhill, as they were the first female skaters that she rode with on Hermosa Beach, and Thornhill originally dreamed of being sponsored on their team, which she shared in an interview with Juice Magazine (Dec. 2008).

In 1975, Debi competed at the First Annual Southern California Skateboard Championships at Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. She placed second in the women’s 17 and over category for freestyle behind Andra, and ahead of Desiree Von Essen. And, Debi also took a third in the cross-country event. Debi then came second at the Hang Ten Pro-Am World Championships at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in Pro Women’s Slalom behind Desiree Crisp.

Next year, in 1976 Debi had another strong showing placing second in the Senior Women’s (18 and over) freestyle event behind Desiree at the Ventura Second Annual Skateboard Championships. Debi and Andra were getting noticed, and they even 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. There’s a sequence of their freestyle performances, along with several other women, and a brief interview at 7:37:

Debi was part of a 1976 feature called “The Magic Rolling Board” which was included in the “Five Summer Stories” surfing film, directed by Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivray, although the footage is more intent on showcasing her flowing blond hair than actual skateboarding performance. The commentary suggests that skateboarding would create a “recreational opportunity” for such dreamy encounters. Debi does throw down a pretty good hippie jump though!

The film had great commercial success and some would call it pure skateboarding propaganda, propelling skateboarding into a brief frenzy of corporate excess. An article in the June 1976 issue of Skateboarder magazine also set-up Debi as a marketing ploy declaring that a “star is born.”

According to Jim O’Mahoney, Debi was one of the competitors in September 1977 at the California Free Former World Professional Skateboard Championships. The event was hosted at the Long Beach Arena with a prize purse of $20,000, although Debi doesn’t appear in the results.

I’m confident that there must be more photos of her skating in existence, as she was a sponsored pro for Free Former, performing demos with their team, and appeared in one of their ads.

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