Patti McGee was born on August 23, 1945 at Santa Monica and like most skateboarders at the time, she says that she “started out as a surfer, so when there was no surf my friends and I would find a hill to ride. That’s how I started skating”. McGee, who grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer and begged her mom to take her to the beach to catch the waves. When skateboarding entered the scene, McGee found a new freedom and, in 1962, she started skateboarding with a “Bunbuster” by Cooley, during the Easter vacations when she was at the Hollywood Teen Fair.
In an interview for Skateboarder Magazine in 1965, she recalls that: ”I had been asked by a sporting goods store to give away a skateboard at a drawing every evening. One evening, the kid that was supposed to do the skateboard demonstration did not show up and they asked me to take his place. So, in front of 1500 kids, I did my first skateboard demonstration.” Already a skateboard warrior at the time, she set the trend for many decades to come. She recalls that “no hill was too steep, no parking lot too tall, no pavement safe; we couldn’t get enough.”
Ellen O’Neal is the godmother of female pro skateboarding who proved that skaters aren’t just a group of delinquents living in Venice Beach and helped bring the sport into the mainstream by skating on the Wonder Woman TV show. Born and raised in Southern California, Ellen had only been skating for a year before she was sponsored by Gordon & Smith, Bennett Trucks, and Vans. Here she is gracefully performing a “hang ten nose manual.”
“I’ll be damned if we’re not out there breakin’ our necks just like the guys…we’re gettin’ burned. How many issues has it been since you’ve seen a girl’s face? About five.”—Vicki Vickers, lamenting the poor coverage of female skaters to Skateboarder Magazine.
It’s tricks like these that made Vicki a pioneer in women’s vert skateboarding. The X-Games no longer feature women’s vert skateboarding as an event, citing lack of “a growing participant base.” Shame.