Skater Briel Weingartner. Credit: Sierra Prescott
Girlz Skate Jam event co-producer Sierra Prescott. Credit: Sierra Prescott

At the age of 9, Sierra Prescott fell in love with skateboarding—and when she talks about skateboarding, there is a sense of freedom in her words.

“I played video games. I played sports,” said Prescott, whose talents include skater, photographer and event producer. “The combo of the cartoon Rocket Power (about extreme sports) and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (a video game) coming out, the X Games starting and Vans Triple Crown—there was something about the radical insanity that was in the video game to this camaraderie. These kids were having so much fun together, skating everywhere, doing anything they could on wheels every waking moment.”

Prescott is a co-producer of the Girlz Skate Jam, a Lesbo Expo Presents event that will take place on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Palm Springs Skatepark, as part of Greater Palm Springs Pride. The afternoon will kick off at 2:30 p.m. with a skateboard clinic for “girlz” of all ages. At 5 p.m. is the big event, hosted by Prescott: For two hours, a who’s-who list of women-identified LGBTQ+ skaters—including 2021 Olympian Alana Smith—will perform the latest tricks and participate in competitions.

Prescott conceded that skateboarding is a tough sport; she makes no bones about that.

“If you have an interest in skateboarding, the really awesome part about it, to me, is the character of skateboarders,” Prescott said. “We elect to get on a board and get on a piece of equipment—and fall and fall and fall, and fail and fail and fail and fail and fail and fail and fail, until we get one win. Then we crave the win; we need to get it again. I think it’s just this big life lesson in a way, like, just keep trying, you know; you will get it eventually. Like with most things in life, if you like it enough, and you keep doing it enough, you know you’re going to get better. It’s all about time and how much you invest in it.”

Although Patti McGee became the first female professional skateboarder in the 1960s, girls weren’t really skating in the 1990s, when she got into it, Prescott said. But gender bias wasn’t an issue.

“You didn’t see ‘boy’ or ‘girl.’ You just saw ‘skateboarder,’” Prescott said.

Over the years, skater terms seamlessly slipped into our everyday lexicon, including words like rad, stoked and poser. Skater-influenced fashion followed, with brands like Supreme, Vans, Nike SB, Spitfire Wheels and Thrasher all marketing skater culture. Skate punk, also known as skatecore and skate rock, became a major subgenre in music.

Women’s skateboarding, and LGBTQ+ skateboarding in particular, had arguably its biggest moment in the spotlight during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Not only was skateboarding finally an Olympic sport, but skater Alana Smith came out as non-binary. They are the first openly non-binary person to compete in the Olympics and proudly displayed “they/them” pronouns on their skateboard.

Despite the Olympics, the popularity of skateboarding is in decline. Skate magazine reports that since 2004, Google searches for “skateboarding” have declined 85 percent, and many parks are on the verge of shutting down. That’s why events like the Girlz Skate Jam are such a big deal.

“Our team is very excited to be back in action, because our last event was in 2019,” said Lesbo Expo Presents’ Louise Minnick. “We’re following COVID regulations set by the county of Riverside, and we’re very excited to have our community back together for a live Pride event.”

In the case that any parents of prospective girlz skaters are reading, take note: For beginners, Prescott said parents should get a “starter kit.”

Skater Eunice Chang. Credit: Sierra Prescott

“If you’re at a skate shop, typically, what they do is they start with the board—and you look for graphics, because a lot of times, that’s what gets a kid excited,” Prescott said. “They pick that (skateboard) up, and (the shop) will either be like, ‘That’s good,’ or, ‘This one’s a little too big for you.’ And then they choose the trucks (hardware), based on the size of that, and then the wheels. Those have a very different feeling.”

A new board for beginners can cost about $120—and then there is the protection, about which Prescot is adamant.

“Who cares what you look like?” she says, “It’s awesome to be protected. Just put the helmet on; put the wrist guards on, and the elbow and knee pads.”

Prescott will be honored by Lesbo Expo Presents at an After-Parade Girlz Party, at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Alibi Palm Springs. The theme of the Lesbo Expo awards this year is “sporting women”—and Prescott is a most-worthy recipient. Not only is she a great representative for the sport; she’s a great representative for life.

“You can have whatever passion you want; just have passions,” she said. “Because whatever equates to how skating or photography makes me feel is what everyone else should feel with something. If it’s skateboarding? Fantastic. If it’s not, no worries. Find what you’re passionate about—and don’t stop doing it.”

The Girlz Skate Jam takes place on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Palm Springs Skatepark, 405 S. Pavilion Way, in Palm Springs. A free skateboard clinic starts at 2:30 p.m. The main event begins at 5 p.m.; tickets are $15 via Eventbrite for all ages; an afterparty will follow. The After Parade Girlz Party will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Alibi Palm Springs, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets to the 21+ event are $15 via Eventbrite. For tickets or more information, visit www.facebook.com/pslexpopresents.

Kay Kudukis

Kay Kudukis is a former lead singer in a disco cover band who then became a Gaslight girl, then an actress, and then the author of two produced and wildly unacclaimed plays—as well as one likely unseen...

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