By Dawn Triemstra / Photos by Dan Sparagna
Bruises, sprains and the name Tony Hawk go hand-in-hand (and sometimes arm in cast) with professional skateboarding. What Amelia Brodka wants to show the world is that female skaters can endure pain, too. And they can grind just as hard as the boys. "I've been skating for 10 years, and never used to see girls at the skate parks," Brodka says. "Now I always see girls."
The Oceanside resident, who loves skateboarding in the parking lot at her neighborhood Bull Taco, says her mission is to elevate female riders to the same status as the top male riders. In addition to mastering kick flips and vert ramps, the USC grad is boosting exposure for her peers via her new project, UNDEREXPOSED: A Women's Skateboarding Documentary.
Brodka sites a lack of visibility of women as the reason skateboarding continues to be regarded as a male-centric sport. She says big-name companies have been slow to put their female athletes in the public eye.
"They're hesitant to put their sponsored girls on a paid contract or use one of their girls in a paid advertisement," she says. "They hire models to sell products rather than showing the girls in action. They don't know how successful it could be."
Sponsors currently banking on Brodka's success include Black Bear energy drink, Vox Footwear, Theeve skate trucks, Concrete Disciples skateboarding magazine, S-One Helmets, Arbor Skateboards, 187 Killer Pads, Chivas, Aura and Bull Taco.
Brodka travels the world to skate, hitting Spain and Australia, among other nations, and immersing herself in each region's skating lifestyle. On a recent trip to Ensenada, Mexico, she delivered 70 donated skateboards to children - boys and girls.
"If the media just shows boys skating, then little girls will automatically think, 'Oh, that's what boys do,'" she says. "But if they see everyone, they will know they can do what ever they choose and aren't limited by gender."
Visit underexposed-doc.com for more information about the film.
SPECIAL THANKS to The YMCA Mission Valley Krause Family Skatepark in Clairemont.
In For A Ride
Amelia Brodka's favorite places to skate in San Diego
Encinitas YMCA Skate Park: "There's a bowl with fresh pool coping and tile, two brand-new concrete flow courses and a vert ramp. A great vibe coupled with all of the things I like to skate makes for a wonderful park." ecke.ymca.org
Aura Skate Park: "This park in Vista has a really fun spine ramp, a new bowl, a micro-mini and a street course with a mini box jump. It's indoors, so you don't have to worry about poor weather or losing sunlight." auraskateboarding.com/skatepark
Mission Valley YMCA: "It has a great bowl with real pool coping and a well-maintained vert ramp. The staff members are incredible, and there are always fun sessions going on." missionvalley.ymca.org
Martin Luther King, Jr., Skate Park: "This park in Oceanside is a fun place to flow around and skate smaller transitions and hips." ci.oceanside.ca.us
Pala Skatepark: "This park has a lot of great features, including a kidney bowl, large and small flow bowls and a series of hubbas [tall ledges] and rails that lead to shallow end with stairs. palatribe.com/programs/skatepark