With International Women’s Day falling on Thursday this week we figured that it made sense to have a similarly themed Sunday Service and really, who better that Fort Myers, Florda’s own Elissa Steamer?
Whilst Elissa was by no means the first female skateboarder to break down gender barriers within skateboard culture, she was indisputably the first to do it in the modern street skating era. (Shout out to Jaime Reyes here too as she also pioneered female acceptance in the street skating dominated era, along with landing a Thrasher cover and a banging Real skateboards part on ‘Non Fiction.)
Despite various other early to mid 90’s female contemporaries, (Lauren Mollica and Jessie Van Roechoudt to name just two), I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue with the contention that it was Elissa Steamer who upped the ante for female skateboarding globally.
Not only did Elissa effectively appear out of nowhere (to most of the world at least) with a full section on one of the most celebrated and influential skate videos of all time; she also did so without any mention whatsoever of her gender. She was a skateboarder first and foremost and that is what did the talking for her.
With that said, there’s no better place to begin this celebration of one of skateboarding’s true icons than with the very same section from Toy Machine’s 1996 ‘Welcome to Hell‘. This video altered the direction of skateboarding’s evolution in multiple ways, from the focus on handrail and gnarly skating, to its embrace of the long-forgotten slam section, through to Elissa’s appearance – Welcome to Hell is a classic.