During the early 1990s in Santa Barbara, where skateboarding was thriving in backyard mini-ramps and the Powell Skate Zone indoor park, a core group of women had found a connection and were fortunate to skate together. And their efforts were noticed!

In 1992, Ethan Fox directed the first female-focused skateboard video called Sk8Hers and thanks to the encouragement of JoAnn Gillespie, I reached out and picked his brain to learn about how the project evolved. Ethan himself had grown up in the Midwest in Iowa and his skateboarding inspiration came from Skateboarder magazines and local skaters. “We skated on natural sites, embankments, loading docks, The Spillway was legendary. And ramps. We drove thousands of miles to skate in the parks after 1977.”

Ethan ended up moving out west to live with his mom in Southern California and attended CalArts in Valencia, CA in 1982. He graduated in 1986 and took on work as an on-line videotape editor in Burbank. This role led him to a unique opportunity with a producer who was working on a project with Jerry Madrid. Ethan was brought on as an editor, but then grabbed a camera, “shooting a good piece of ‘Skate Sessions’ and of course all the editing. I got to know some skaters and some others folks in the sk8 community in OC mostly.”

As an avid reader of Skateboarder, Ethan was impressed with 1970s legends, Ellen Berryman, Laura Thornhill, and Robin Logan, explaining that, “Even back then, I knew that they were as talented as their male counterparts and infinitely more graceful, but due to chauvinism, they were likely under promoted. The first girl skater I met was probably working on ‘Skate Sessions,’ Stephanie Massey, she was like 8.”

With Lynn Kramer’s efforts to produce the zine Equal Time and cultivate the Women’s Skateboard Network, Ethan saw some similarities in the 1970s empowerment movement but the difference being that those involved in skateboarding were geared up in helmets and knee pads! He also noted that the crew had “surrounded themselves with a seemingly supportive groups of guy sk8ers, which I greatly admired as something that was noticeably absent in the 1980s.”

Ethan became part of this supportive crew. In 1991 he was “working for CEO Frederick Scheers at Ulysses Pictures in Santa Monica. I had been producing ‘Outlaws Quarterly: the Skaters Rock Video’ and working with some Dog Town guys and bands and expanding rapidly.” The plan was to complete Volume One and then Volume Two was going to include girl skaters in the mix.

Sadly, that vision was sabotaged due to embezzlement from the Vice President (John Trimpin), Scheers dream of a new studio evaporated, and Ulysses Pictures went bankrupt. Essentially, “Outlaws had bitten the dust but I had some action sports contacts from working on ‘Skate Sessions,’ and approached Simitar Entertainment out of Minneapolis, and green lighted SK8HERS upon viewing a slapped together Hi8 demo.”

JoAnn Gillespie and Rhonda Doyle were all in right from the beginning, and Ethan was looking to track down Cara-beth Burnside to get things rolling. Ethan was aware that some of the skaters seemed “reserved when approached by some random 30-year-old with a camera, but once they realized I was harmless they came around, even the relatively shy Saecha Clarke. You couldn’t hold JoAnn back with a chain link fence. She was very excited about the project.” Even today, it was evident how stoked she was on the video. JoAnn even joked in a recent interview that “Ethan just stalked us, found us, filmed us, put it together, put it on VHS,” and was flattered that he had thought to list herself and Rhonda as Associate Producers.

Ethan’s photos of Saecha are included below:

Cara-beth also had a strong presence throughout the video. Ethan explained how, as the pro, and the one knocking on the door to high end competition, “Cara-beth was the one. She had the air of excitement around her for sure.” She took a lead role in announcing the parts, showcasing her skill, and offering words of wisdom and encouragement.

Ethan was receptive to filming at a variety of locations. Some of the women had their favourite spots, and Saecha was game to get footage all over the place. “Cara-beth had a lot of locations she wanted to shoot… very much like her male counterparts.” Some of Ethan’s highlights were shooting with Cara-beth and Julie Sack at Christian Hosoi’s ramp and Rhonda Doyle at the Nude Bowl (below).

Ethan was also behind the fantastic group photo shoot at Powell Skate Zone, as seen in the October 1992 issue of Thrasher magazine. And the vibe at JoAnn’s Equal Time mini ramp in Santa Barbara was what Ethan described as special and unique.

The group photo featured: Tara (?), Julie Sack, Ericka Martin (back row), Christy Smith, Claudine Gossett, JoAnn Gillespie, Patty Segovia, Stephanie Massey, Cara-beth Burnside, Pattie Hoffman, and Rhonda Doyle (front row).

In total, the girls and women featured in the Sk8Hers film (as listed in the video in alphabetical order) included: Cara-beth Burnside, Saecha Clarke, Diane Desiderio, Rhonda Doyle, Heidi Fitzgerald, JoAnn Gillespie, Pattie Hoffman, Lynn Kramer, Jessica Lawing, Stephanie Massey, Julie Sack, Patty Segovia, Christy Smith and Peggy Walden.

Within the skateboard community, there was a lot of support for the video and Ethan didn’t sense any negativity from the guys. And even though he was working independently, without any major backing, Ethan managed to pull off the project in just over a year and half of gleaning footage, and around three days to edit. The VHS cover is pretty sweet, and on the back it says, “Check out this totally fresh soundtrack while watching the top women skateboarders in California shred radical terrain in a realm formerly reserved for the boys club. Don’t miss the action as major talents like CARABETH BURNSIDE, SAECHA CLARKE, DIANE DESIDERIO, and RHONDA DOYLE take to their boards and re-define the entire meaning of what is… ‘The proper place for a woman.’” Awesome!!!

Plus, there was a launch! There was a screening at Moose McGillycuddy’s in Marina Del Rey. “Lots of the girls were there, moms too. It was great.”

After Sk8Hers, Ethan helped out with a few promotional videos for Patty Segovia who established the All Girl Skate Jam series back in 1997. This YouTube link is from 2014 with vert skater Holly Lyons as host at Venice Beach – pretty awesome to see a very young Brighton Zeuner and girls rocking their Hoopla skateboards, with some vintage Patty Segovia included!

In regard to the skateboarding scene today, Ethan observed that there was still some of that old boy network in effect but he was adamant that women in skateboarding are getting harder to ignore, and that’s a good thing.

Ethan was also really encouraging of women in film and video taking the lead when it comes to featuring women skateboarders, and I think of the recent success of Skate Dreams (2022) documentary, directed by Jessica Edwards which premiered at Exposure festival last October! And the coolest thing is that Cara-beth is in the mix of skaters included in this film as well!

Thank you so much Ethan for creating this incredible time capsule of some true legends in women’s skateboarding history. I know I’m grateful for the efforts and have a lot of respect for folks who have a vision and make it happen!


  • Fox, Ethan. Personal interview. January 24, 2023.

Back to Top

Enjoyed the post? Check out these features: