This photo and article of Leigh Zaremba and Dee Jay Cobb is from spring 1959! Woah! It was featured in the May 29, 1959 issue of the Pasadena Independent, and it is the earliest photo of a woman on a skateboard that I have ever found (let alone anybody on a skateboard!). Found it a few days ago while clawing through a newspaper database and am so stoked to share and wrap up Women’s History Month with this gem!
The best part is within the article by Pete Gall after he tries to explain what he’s witnessing at Pasadena High School and considers skateboarding a rival activity to hula-hooping. Gall wrote that, “The girls have been sneaking into the sport, too, braving the occasional scraped knee or skinned elbow to skim the cement with the guys.” Hell yeah, they have!
Gall continues: “The idea came from surfing movies seen by some of the seniors during Easter weekend, where they saw 24-hour surf enthusiasts using a modified skateboard to ride the cement ramps at La Jolla. In less than a week, the new ‘dry land surfboards’ were developed for Pasadena use by seniors Ed MacKenzie, Dennis Smith, Bill Welsh and Steve Ondeck.” Skateboarding was on!
Champion surfer, Linda Benson who had her own signature skateboard with Hansen boards in the early 1960s had likely cruised around on one in the 50s, but I’ve yet to see a photo, so this is a first for me. Pete Gall’s next article in the Pasadena Independent (June 3, 1959) is a little less glowing, all about Jackie Martin (age 18!) and her fiancé Dennis Morgon (age 21) who broke his leg skateboarding a month before their wedding.
If you know anyone related to a “Zaremba” in Pasadena, maybe there’s a connection? Leigh graduated from Pasadena High School with the class of 1959.