7 dope female skaters that are starting off 2019 right
It's a good time to skate like a girl.
Lizzie Armanto, courtesy of Vans
This article originally appeared on i-D US.
Creating space for women — or queer, trans, and non-binary skaters, for that matter — in the historically male-dominated skate scene has never been an easy feat. Legendary female skaters like Elissa Steamer — the first pro female skater ever — and the queer, hard-hitting Vanessa Torres were some of the first to pave the way for greater inclusivity in skating. But, as Jonah Hill’s Mid90s showed in its release last October, the casual misogyny and sexism that define contemporary skate culture have lain relatively dormant and unchecked for decades.
In 2019, however, that narrative no longer seems to hold true.
With Skate Kitchen rocking the world last August and female skaters gaining massive mainstream recognition on all platforms, it’s no secret that 2018 was a breakthrough year for women in skateboarding. Vans launched “Girl Skate India,” an initiative that acted as the most recent installment of their annual “This Is Off The Wall” campaign, which showcases young girls in India gaining confidence through skateboarding. “Skate Like A Girl” — a program founded over 10 years ago to help girls get more comfortable on their wheels — gained increasing traction, receiving more press than ever. And smaller, female-founded skate brands watched their top skaters get signed by brands like Adidas or Nike — taking huge strides towards national recognition.
These seven inspiring female skaters accomplished some really remarkable things in 2018. And, with the 2020 Olympics right on the horizon, they’re starting off 2019 with more momentum than ever — both on and off the ramp.
At just 25 years old, the legendary Lacey Baker is one of the most well-known female skaters out there today — and 2018 proved to be another amazing year under her belt. The first openly queer woman to join the Nike Skateboarding team, Baker also designed the first-ever Nike skate shoe for women after joining Nike’s roster in 2017. Last year, she produced a second iteration of the Nike SB Bruin High — made with a bespoke heel design that speaks directly to LGBTQ inclusivity in the skate community.
Not everyone can defy gravity. But apparently Lizzie Armanto is among those who can. Late last August, Armanto made history as the first woman to complete Tony Hawk’s infamous 360-vertical loop. Only a handful of skaters have ever been able to complete the stunt, long considered one of the most dangerous tricks in the sport. Armanto is a two-time X Games medallist — taking home gold at the first ever Women’s Skateboard Park event at the 2013 X Games — and is gearing up to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2019.
As the first woman to join the likes of Mark Gonzales and Daewon Song on the famed Adidas skateboarding team, Vasconcellos is definitely a skater to keep following in the coming year. Throughout her career, she's always been very candid about the highs and lows of her battle with anxiety and how she’s worked to overcome her panic disorder in order to keep skating. But last July, Vasconcellos watched her success manifest in a big way when she received her own signature Adidas colorway — a bright purple hue accompanied by an embroidered floral design — for the classic Adidas Matchcourt RX.
Florida-native Beatrice Domond has come a long way from growing up as the only girl who skated in her town. First featured in William Strobeck’s 2014 Supreme film, Cherry, Domond has been attracting national attention for the last few years. She’s the only girl on Supreme’s skate roster, was featured as a finalist last year in a 90-second short film for Uber by Mike Steinkamp, and even has a clip in Supreme’s 2018 video, Blessed. Her unique style and genuine positivity have garnered her sponsors like Vans and Fucking Awesome — with much more to come in 2019.
Hailing from Sao Paolo, Brazil, 25-year-old Leticia Bufoni has long been considered one of the best female skaters in the world. In 2013, she became the only woman to take home three gold X Games gold medals in the same year. And in 2015, she garnered international attention as the first woman to earn a coveted position on the Nike Skateboarding team. Last year, she was featured on Forbes’ list of “Most Influential Women in Sports 2018” — and took home yet another gold medal at the Women’s Skateboard Street at Norway’s 2018 X Games. With the 2020 Olympics right on the horizon, Bufoni will definitely be a female skater to keep in mind.
Although Allysha Le, the 22-year-old Dickies-sponsored skater from Southern California, is less than five feet tall, her height is definitely not indicative of the size of her accomplishments in 2018. In between traveling around North America with her team, Le competed as a semi-finalist in last year’s Vans Park Series, the annual park terrain skateboarding world tour for both men and women. Le also made cameos in Transworld Skateboarding’s 30th video montage, Duets, which she alluded to on Instagram with a gnarly nosegrind.
20-year-old Rachelle Vinberg has been steadily gaining traction in the skate world for years. But, in 2018, she solidified her presence as an international force in the female skating scene with her role as Camille, the bold and spirited protagonist of Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen. Vinberg was scouted right from a New York skatepark while mid-conversation with Nina Moran, a fellow skater and co-star in the film, for her style and quirky personality. And that genuine candor — alongside Vinberg’s ever-improving skate chops — is exactly what makes her so compelling: She’s not afraid to be herself. On social media, Vinberg is never too embarrassed to show herself falling or unable to land a trick — and she’s stunned the world with her unabashed, honest portrayal of what it means to be a girl in skateboarding.