14 Rad Photos of Female Skateboarders in the 1970s

1970s skateboard girl

1. Ellen O’Neal

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Known as the “Godmother of skating,” Ellen O’Neal helped define the sport of skateboarding in the 1970’s. 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.”

2. Heelie

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Similar to the hang ten nose manual, a heelie is where the skater places both feet on the back of the board and performs a manual on the back two wheels of the board.

3. Daffy

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Here is Ellen O’Neal riding “daffy,” one of the oldest freestyle tricks. In the video game “Tony Hawk’s Underground,” they refer to this trick as the “yeah right manual.”

4. Laura Thornhill 1974

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Laura Thornhill started skating in 1974 and it wasn’t long before she was thrashing her male counterparts in professional competitions. Parks, freestyle, slalom, full pipes – you name it, she skated it. She was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in 2013.

5. Hot Shot

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In 1976, Laura Thornhill was the first female to have a “Who’s Hot” hot shot in Skateboarder Magazine, a huge honor at the time.

6. That Classic Style

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Here’s an iconic image Laura Thornhill and her magic mane. And those Van’s? They beat Urban Outfitters to the punch by 40 years.

7. Going Mainstream

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Trailblazers like Ellen O’Neal and Laura Thornhill made it cool for young girls to skate. Here’s a snap of a 15-year-old Jodie Foster sidewalk-surfing in Paris, circa 1976.

8. Ellen Berryman

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Freestyle skating pioneer Ellen Berryman used her gymnastics background to give her a competitive edge. She won the world freestyle championship two years in a row, and later the national championship.

9. Signature Move

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Berryman’s signature move was a handstand from the board into a “spider,” making her feet rest on her head in a v-formation.

10. Vicki Vickers

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“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.

11. Pool Riding

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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.” What a shame.

12. Queen of Vert

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Here’s Vicki looking cool as hell mid-axle stall.

13. Peggy Oki

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Peggy Oki skated with the Z-Boys in the 1970’s and became an original member of the Zephyr Skateboard team, appearing in the Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary (2001), which is currently streaming on Netflix.

14. Kim Cespedes