The women of skateboarding take over Florida’s Central Skatepark.

“Now in its fifth year, the Etnies All Girl Skate Jam has flourished “becoming an internationally roving, all-girl contest series. Offering up more prize money and exposure for the skaters at each series, the All Girl Skate Jam promotes female skateboarders within the skate industry as well as to mainstream markets.

“On March 25 Etnies, Velvet Eyewear, Grind King, Wahine magazine, UnionBay, Heckler, and Borst Designs acted as sponsor, and Central Skatepark in Clearwater, Florida hosted the most recent AGSJ, which attracted over 60 professional, am, and unsponsored women skateboarders. Girls from all over the U.S.-and participants from as far away as Canada and Germany-were competing for the 7,500 dollars divided among the top riders in street, mini-ramp, and vert competitions.

“Fourteen-year-old Vanessa Torres was busting out kickflips off the four-foot loading dock, frontside 50-50s, and Smith grinds to take top prize in the pro-street and best-trick competitions. Garden Grove, California’s Hanna Lisk, the nine-year-old who squeezes skating into her busy gymnastics and elementary-school schedule, took first place in the am-street and mini-ramp comps. Her acid drops are just adorable! She skates fast and grabs for real.

“Everyone was given a run for her money. Jen O’Brien dropped in off the huge side wall”something like fifteen feet high with six feet of vert. Elissa Steamer skated fast and big, and although injured she still managed to grab second place in pro street. Stephanie Thomas locked in a kickflip backside 50-50 for best trick’s second prize. Local Candy Kraemer won the vert section, held on the big and slick thirteen-by-24-foot Red Bull ramp.

“The business side of things for the AGSJ is looking good, too. Event Founder and coordinator Patty Segovia has created the International Girls Skateboarding Association (IGSA), an Internet-based community that keeps all of its 5,000 members connected with e-mail updates on the haps and developments of the skateboarding-girl world. There are plans for skate and surf camps this summer, and later this year the All Girl Skate Jam expands into snowboarding and surfing competitions with the All Girl Board Jam Tour. And the AGSJ sponsors are stepping up with more money”the final Jam in September will offer 20,000 dollars in prize money.

“The fact that the AGSJ attracts sponsorship from outside the skateboard industry is oftentimes met with criticism. Accusations abound that the series isn’t “hardcore” enough, or that Segovia is selling out to the likes of Teen-a traditional teenybopper magazine. But for Segovia, it all boils down to raising the funds needed for prize money and getting the girls to the contests. The AGSJ’s mainstream exposure, like a cover story in Sports Illustrated For Womenand broadcast features on ESPN, has attracted has non-skate companies interested in contributing what skate companies aren’t.

“The success of events like the 1999 Women’s World Cup Of Soccer have proven that teenage girls are interested in female athletes, and the growing popularity of the extreme sports category makes events like the AGSJ attractive to corporate sponsors and mainstream media. To them it’s another target market, but on the other hand, big-dollar support and coverage help keep the AGSJ growing. At its core, the event is a gathering of the best women skaters, who have the opportunity to skate together, gain some recognition, and actually make some cash. The participants keep getting younger and better, and it’s great that they have an event of their own.

“All-Ages, All-Abilities, All-Girl is AGSJ’s motto, and it’s held true for the event’s five years. Its success is proof that women in skateboarding are determined to build their place in the sport and industry”even if it means running their own contests. And while some may not consider the AGSJ to be the mosst hardcore event, Segovia sees it as a place for girls to get their start, or to come back to when they just want to have a fun session with some good friends.

They might even take home a few dollars-a trend that bodes well for the future of women in skateboarding.

“For more information, check out the All Girl Skate Jam Web site at allgirlskatejam.com.

Results

Street Am

1. Hanna Lisk, Garden Grove, California

2. Noelle Stolp, Sarasota, Florida

3. Lyn-Z Adams-Hawkins, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

4. Kristie Colantropo, Tampa, Florida

5. Kristin Smith, Atlantic Beach, Florida

Mini-Ramp Am

1. Hanna Lisk, Garden Grove, California

2. Cindy Vansteinburg, Jacksonville, Florida

3. Madonna Thorne, Orange, California

4. Bo-Yee Poon, Tahoe, California

5. Lyn-Z Adams-Hawkins, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Street Pro

1. Vanessa Torres, Riverside, California

2. Elissa Steamer, Fort Myers, Florida

3. Cnaan Omer, Santa Barbara, California

4. Jen O’Brien, Vista, California

5. Heidi Fitzgerald, Simi Valley, California

Mini-Ramp Pro

1. Heidi Fitzgerald, Simi Valley, California

2. Elissa Steamer, Fort Myers, Florida

3. Rodi Muenzel, Wonsees, Germany

4. Cnaan Omer, Santa Barbara, California

Vert Pro

1. Candy Kraemer, Deland, Florida

2. Jen O’Brien, Vista, California

3. Jodi McDonald, Ocean Beach, California

4. Heidi Fitzgerald, Simi Valley, California

5. Shannon Horne, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina