She pushed a tangle of hair back away from her eyes with one hand. It hung low over her neck. Her t-shirt slumped like a tattered flag off her peanut butter brown shoulders. The guys riding the skatepark looked at her and watched her every move. They were trying not to be obvious. Sideways glances. Longing. She was the epitome of the California girl. She ripped. She was one of them… only better. Laura Thornhill had her own signature board. Logan Earth Ski. She was a champion. Who really knew how that felt? She was one of the first of her gender. Could it really be any other way? If they wondered, they never asked. Maybe they were shy. Intimidated. This wouldn’t be the first time that a man was intimidated by a courageous woman. History is full of such examples.
Whatever the case may be, Laura stood in the waning California sun and pushed hard with her foot. The boys watched as the girl ruled. The concrete spilled away beneath her rolling red wheels. She carved hard. Her arms lifted just a bit, knees tucked tight. Style was of paramount importance. It wasn’t taught. It was something owned. The wall rose like a monolith. Time slowed and was on rewind. Gravity pulled. Laura turned and– for a moment– was silhouetted against the orange and red summer sky. Descending the bowl corner again, her hair spilled out behind her like gold sea foam… The boys looked on and Laura smiled. It would always be this way. Congratulations to Laura Thornhill on being inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. Thank you for the inspiration. Thank you to Lucia Griggi for the image. Carlsbad image courtesy of the Warren Bolster archive. Skate- Ozzie