2022 Reflection

It’s been a pretty awesome year, especially since I launched this website and Instagram page back on International Women’s Day! Even though I’ve been researching and collecting information on women and non-binary skaters since 2003, I had mostly been hoarding everything to myself harboring a pipe-dream that I would one day publish a book. I had even presented the idea to a few people but was actually overwhelmed by the thought of it and where to start.

Everything changed when I decided to pitch an idea to Double Down ‘zine, as an excuse to interview 1980s skater KZ Zapata, who I was simply really curious about. After some delay, they published my interview of her in February for issue #3 and the ‘zine looked great! I wanted to keep the momentum going even though my first attempt at an Instagram page was strangely shut down. By March, I was ready to try again and was encouraged by my husband to launch a website and new Instagram account. In a way, it’s better than a book because I can update posts with new photos and information as I glean feedback from social media!

My good friend, Michelle Pezel had also forwarded my name to be part of a publication that would compliment an art exhibit in Whistler, BC. She had remembered how obsessed I was with skateboarding history, and the column I used to write for our ‘zine Idlewood, along with friends Rhianon Bader, Erika Kinast, and Kassy Bailey.

After several delays due to COVID, the official launch date of the exhibit was arranged (September 16th), and I hammered out an essay for Out of Control: the concrete art of skateboarding for the Audain Museum. The theme of the exhibit originally had featured skateboarding artists in British Columbia, and since it was the 20th Anniversary of Antisocial skateshop (run by Pezel), my essay was solely focused on the history of women skaters of BC. The project was helpful because it motivated me to look more closely at the Transworld skateboarding contest at Expo ’86 in Vancouver, and the experience of women competing there.

The essay also led me towards Lisa Jak Wietzke and her role in the first female-skater-centred movie Grinding to Win (1990), filmed in West Vancouver. Again, I was super excited to pursue an interview even though I wasn’t sure what I would do with the content beyond the website, but I think that’s okay. The website is the outlet, and I like how it isn’t dictated by anyone externally. There’s no timelines, no bartering for payment (I simply do it for fun!), and I have freedom and autonomy. And, without sharing too much I will also allude to the fact that my current day-job isn’t fulfilling me like past librarian roles, so skateboarding history is sustaining me and helping me keep positive.

I had wondered if skateboarders who were really in the limelight would shit on me. Who was I to collect and celebrate skateboard stories when I don’t have a personal connection? I’m nowhere near California and all the action in the U.S. In fact, I live in a remote town in Canada in the Pacific Northwest that requires two ferry commutes to get to. I was never sponsored in the best of times and now in my mid-forties, I’m just stoked if I land a kickflip.

And, while I did get a hint of attitude early on via Instagram, the overwhelming response has been positive. All my anxiety melted when Terry Lawrence messaged me with affirmation – I knew all would be well. A lovely crew of skaters in Florida called “Tutifruti” even interviewed me and launched the footage just before my 45th birthday last September! What an absolute joy that was. Plus, it was because of the conversation with them that I was better able to articulate that this project was helping to reduce archival silence. Yes!

There are so many incredible skateboarders with fascinating stories, I feel privileged to be part of the grand reveal especially when folks thought their history was unimportant or forgotten. One Instagram follower, who used to work at Thrasher and corresponded with Bonnie Blouin felt that I would be the right person to receive and hold on to some letters of hers. This meant so much considering that she was the first female skater with a column in Thrasher and had always been such an inspiration, even though her story ends with such sadness. I’ll be forever grateful for the package I received and have plans to celebrate her legacy.

And then a truly unexpected thing happened. I had randomly pitched a story to Bust magazine and forgot about it, and out-of-the-blue over the summer I received an email saying that instead of an article about historical skaters, they wanted to feature my project and include a short interview!?

I’ve been in disbelief until a few weeks ago, when I received the Winter 2023 issue of Bust in the mail, and there I am! It’s a one-page article and I am so grateful! The legacy of Bust magazine as an iconic feminist publication is substantial, and to be included within an issue, and to imagine the cover-girl Christina Ricci thumbing past my feature is absolutely mind-boggling.

Not sure how 2023 will top this year, but already have something in the works for Bigfoot skate magazine and loads of content to transcribe and share. Thanks everyone for following along!

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