Thursday, February 6, 2014

Elissa Steamer #2.

Elissa is from Fort Meyers, Florida. She was one of the first women to be sponsored for street skateboarding at a level on par with the guys when she earned a spot on Toy Machine in the mid 1990s. Elissa had parts in Welcome To Hell and Jump Off A Building. She switched to Baker offshoot Bootleg in the early 2000s and then rode for Zero up until 2011. Elissa had a quick part in Zero's Strange World video from 2009. It looks like she is doing a clothing company called Gnarhunters these days.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any companies that are sponsoring a girl right now. I know there is a women's contest circuit, but that doesn't get much coverage. It's not like the early 2000s when companies like Rookie existed and a few teams had at least one lady as an amateur who they occasionally featured in an ad. I'm assuming that girls still skateboard and that some of them are good enough to warrant a real sponsorship. The progress made by Elissa, Jaime Reyes, Jessie Van Roechoudt, Lauren Mollica, Marisa Dal Santo, and Alexis Sablone wasn't for nothing, right? All you industry dudes need to step up and add a little variety to the sausage party.

Who knew current Alien Workshop and Nike hot shoe Donovan Piscopo had a few tricks in Zero's Strange World video?

Skateboarder - February 2007 Volume 16 Number 6


dylandigits said...

"Off the top of my head, I can't think of any companies that are sponsoring a girl right now."

No major companies, sure, but Meow, Hoopla, Rogue, and Silly Girl all sponsor girls exclusively-- sisters are doing it for themselves instead of waiting to be invited to the party-- while small but popular brands such as Welcome have one or more girls on the team.

It's a good time to be a girl in the skate world even if we aren't on the pages of Thrasher. The women I skate with mentor younger girls and create safe spaces in which to learn. It's very chill and loads of fun.

And it's because of that chill vibe that I'm not sure I want to measure whether women are making it in skating by the rubric of contests and other industry standards based in competition.

Justin said...

This is the answer I wanted to hear. I figured that some of the smaller board companies were helping the cause, but it is hard to keep track of everything these days with skateboarding becoming much more diverse and varied. I'm glad a scene like that exists and is doing well for the sake of having fun skateboarding.

I agree that not everything needs to be held to the same standards for what makes it in the magazines and big time productions.

At the same time, why aren't the larger companies sponsoring women? They used to and that's what bothered me the most. I suppose the easy answer is the generic "girls don't sell", but that feels like a cop out. Aren't there a few things in skateboarding that are supposed to be done because it is the right thing to do and not to worry about making money?

People are charging 30 bucks for a t-shirt, 80 bucks for a glorified canvas low top, and I don't even want to know what that rock company charges for a hoodie. So obviously there is a little cash floating around in these tough economic times. Sponsor some women.

dylandigits said...

I agree about the larger companies; can we talk about the irony of one of the biggest companies-- whose very name suggests "female"-- having never (to the best of my knowledge) sponsored a woman?

Crailtap has money to throw around; I'd to see them have fun and create a women's company/team named "Boy". The talent is out there, and we make money too; we'll buy what you sell if you support and represent us.

Justin said...

I back that 110%. I do not believe Girl has ever fully sponsored a girl either. They did have a fashion line called Ruby, but I don't think they ever made any decks for it.

I'm a little surprised at the moment that no company out of Deluxe sponsors any women. I hope I'm wrong on that since they do handle Spitfire, Thunder, and Venture.

I'll track down the companies you mentioned and add them to my links.

dylandigits said...

I remember Ruby. (Speaking of overpriced clothes... but then again, I'm all about plain T shirts from Target. To each their own.) Definitely no decks.

Speaking of Ruby and of women in the skate industry, I know Ruby was Megan Baltimore's project. I appreciate Megan's passion and work with Crailtap's brands-- it goes to show women can play a strong behind-the-scenes roles in the industry-- and give her credit for co-running such a successful company.

Here's a good place to find the companies I mentioned as well as other resources:

GSN is run by Lisa Whitaker who also owns/runs Meow Skateboards.

dylandigits said...

This was just released on iTunes, BTW:

Underexposed: A Women's Skateboarding Documentary

"Professional skateboarder Amelia Brodka examines the skateboarding industry's approach to how it markets, promotes and supports women in its sport. Underexposed explores the past, present and future of women's skateboarding. It focuses on the current uprise of female skaters by featuring footage of girls ripping all over the world. The film couples skate footage with interviews from the top marketing and media professionals of the skateboarding industry. Interviews include the heads of Thrasher, TransWorld, Etnies, Toy Machine, SkateOne and Hoopla. By exploring the business side of skateboarding, Underexposed seeks to figure out how to generate more opportunities for women in skateboarding."

Justin said...

I remember hearing about that movie. I'll have to check it out.

Wasn't there an interview with Lizzie Armanto in Thrasher in the last year or two?

dylandigits said...

I found this scan of a two-page spread with Lizzie from the August 2012 issue:

Not much of an interview but a great photo of her doing a layback grind. She lists her sponsors as Independent, Bones, 187, and Santa Monica Airlines.

Though it isn't the same caliber as an interview in Thrasher, here's Vanessa Torres and Lacey Baker on Weekend Buzz from last summer that I enjoyed:

Kristina Narayan said...


As the director for the Portland chapter of Skate Like A Girl, a northwest non-profit dedicated to empowering women through skateboards, I can whole-heartedly say that girls are skateboarding.

In fact, every month we see at least ten new faces, all ages 8-14 that show up at our clinic, on top of the original 10-15 that carry over each month!

Girls are out there. THeir parents are supporting them. Girls are supporting each other.

The industry is a FOOL for letting this opportunity slip by.

With regard to the comment that "girls don't sell" --- that's because making a pro model for vanessa torres with pig tails and an ice cream cone isn't going to sell to anyone; girls aren't buying that shit, dudes certainly wouldn't.

Girls skate guys' shoes.
Girls don't want pink skateboards or frilly shit.
They want wood that snaps like wood and stretchy jeans with REAL pockets, dammit.

Much respect is due for posting this. Keep up the good work.

Also, "the views stated here are solely my own and do not reflect skate like a girl in any capacity"


-Kristina Narayan


Hi Justin-Pretty Sweet that a guy actually noticed this. The ladies have noticed it for a long time. The good news is that WE are coming up. There are not as many of us as the guys but there is an increase in exposure for sure. Think Leticia Bufoni,Lyn-Z Adams,and Julz Lynn. World Cup Skateboarding and the Vans Pool Combi competitions have definitely helped to bring the ladies more attention. Please check out the GROWSK8LIFE blog. We are all about ladies and skateboarding.

Justin said...

Hey G.R.O.W. Sk8, I got your email, but it came up as spam for some reason. I checked out your website and added it to the links. Keep up the good work.

Justin said...

Kristina - It's good to know girls are out there skateboarding. I added Skate Like A Girl to the links.

I know you are making a valid point with the statement about how a board with pig tails and an ice cream cone isn't going to sell, but I could seriously see that as an enjoi, Skate Mental or even a Girl graphic at this point.

Thanks, I'm trying.

GROW Nicole said...

Hi Justin-I just now saw your message. Thank you so much. I posted a link to your page in my FB as well.Keep on keepin' on. ~Nic of GROWSK8LIFE