Just as many females started skateboarding as did males when the sport started taking off back in the 1970s. Today, however, the world of skateboarding is heavily dominated by men. But according to the Girl Skateboarders Web site, there’s been a sudden resurgence of the female form taking shape on the board doing ollies, kickflips, backslides, frontsides, or just taking smooth rides. Elissa Steamer, Cara-Beth Burnside, and Lindsay Thompson are just a few of the female skateboarders who are hot on the professional scene. But Mills College has it’s own hot scene of chick skateboarders, three of whom are Veronica Williams, Kimberly Fardy and Sandra Rimkeit.
Freshwoman Veronica Williams said she has been skateboarding since she was eight years old.
Williams said she started out with an “old school” skateboard-a board without skate decks, trucks, and decent wheels. Once she brought her skateboard up to speed, said Williams, is when she started learning tricks.
“I learned to skate from all the white guys in my school in San Diego,” said Williams.
Sophmore Sandra Rimkeit said she learned to ride a skateboard when she was 12 years old and living in Santa Rosa.
I was going to buy a new pair of boots one day,” said Rimkeit, “and my brother convinced me to buy a skateboard instead. So I did.”
Rimkeit said she and her friends started a “chick skate scene” and frequented the all male Santa Rosa Skate Park where they were sexually harassed.
They called us ‘bitch’ and ‘slut’ and kept trying to hit on us all the time. We were not taken seriously as women skaters,” said Rimkeit. Rimkeit said she wished she’d had the male privilege of networking with and learning from the more experienced skaters in the park. “Guys get welcomed into the skate scene, so they can improve their skills,” said Rimkeit. “It’s harder for women to network.”
Freshwoman Kimberly Fardy, who started skateboarding in her early teens, only started seriously skateboarding this past year, since she moved to Mills.
“I couldn’t afford to ship my bike out here,” said Fardy, “so now I use my skateboard to get around.” Fardy has a long board, which is better for transportation, unlike a short board, which is better for doing tricks.
“I like cruisin’, big hills, and smooth rides,” said Fardy.
Both Williams and Fardy said that although they are two out of only three women of color they’ve seen skating in the Bay Area, it’s not a big problem for them.
“There aren’t any women of color skaters except for one in Berkeley,” said Williams.
There are a lot more African-American male skateboarders, said Williams. Her skateboard is from a company called “Chocolate Skateboarding Company,” a company, which endorses and represents professional skaters who are people of color such as Stevie Williams, Mike Costan and the late Keenan Milton – all men.
All three women complain about two things. One is the cost of skate boarding-it’s expensive. The other is that there are “a lot of jerks” in the scene.
Where are these women going with their skate boarding future?
Williams wants to start a skateboarding club on campus, “because there are a lot of women who skate on this campus.” She said.
Fardy said she doesn’t see herself going professional. “But” she said, “you never know.”
And Rimkeit, who used to want to go pro, decided to “lighten up” so that she could relax and improve. “I love skateboarding,” said Rimkeit. “I can see myself skating for a long time.”