|Patty McGee in the original picture of Skateboarder Magazine' cover|
Last year, after the first round of inductees at the IASC was announced, several girls got pissed off that out of the five nominees there was no girl. This year, the IASC has learned its lesson and the very first women skateboard champion is part of the cru.
And guess what? Known by her peers as the “First Betty”, Patti McGee was already skateboarding when your mother was not even born! She recalls that she and her friends had to skate in deserted parking lots until the security guards or the police would come to chase them. Doesn’t sound familiar? She started skating right when “they invented parking garages. The exits were a challenge not to mention having to watch out for the security guards. Yep, not much has changed for skaters there!”
The year was 1965 when Patti McGee, only 19 at the time, became the first women skateboard champion at the “Women’s National Skateboard Championship"(Danny Bearer won the men’s division). Following that achievement, she became the first professional female skateboarder in history and the demo girl for HOBIE Skateboards (and Vita-Pak) and traveled for about one year demonstrating the boards at a national level. The craze for skateboarding was high and everybody wanted to be with Patti. So, she did several commercials for national brands, then she appeared on national television program like “What’s My Line” and “The Johnny Carson Show”.
But what she considers as the highlight of her carrier is not the national tour with Hobie or the TV shows but the cover of Life Magazine. She recalls that "I appeared upside down on my board doing a hand stand on the cover of LIFE magazine on May 14th, 1965," she said.
"I also got the cover of Skateboarder Magazine. That will always be my pride and joy. It’s also another first for girl skaters." Yes, on the cover of the fourth issue of Skateboarder Magazine! And that was back in 1965.
Unfortunately, as Jim Fitzpatrick told isTia in a (exclusive) forthcoming interview with isTia : “The crash was the result of people discovering that skateboarding is painful. The excitement of "How cool is this?!?” became: “Shit, this hurts!”. So, most kids who bough a clay wheeled-skateboard never bought another one. One and done! This is too difficult, it hurts when you fall!”.
Suddenly, due to poor quality equipment (Steel and Clay wheels) which lead to numerous accidents, many American cities banned skateboarding and by Christmas 1965 Skateboarding had died and along with it the national contests dried up, the sponsors disappeared, the brands and the magazines went out of business and it took 10 years for the next skateboard revival to hit the concrete with a vengeance.
|A Blue-eyed blonde, Pat McGee is a rare combination of|
beauty and skateboard talent. Pat, 19 says the secret of her
championship form is plenty of practice.
Original comment from JohnSeverson - Skateboarder Magazine
And this year, she will stand beside skateboarding inductees and icons including Torger Johnson, Stacy Peralta, Steve Caballero, Eric Koston and Bob Burnquist at the next IASC event .
“IASC recognizes the importance of honoring the pros that made skateboarding what it is today,” said John Bernards, IASC executive director. “Without those icons and legends, the tricks skateboarders are doing today would not exist. This year’s inductees represent the best, most progressive skateboarding from 1960 to 2010, and we congratulate each of them on their accomplishments.”
These days, Patty McGee is not shy to say that she is 61 and that she still rips like in the good ol’ days. Her top two skateboarding influences are Dave Hackett and Peggie Oki, she stills read skateboarding magazine (she is a fan of Concrete Wave and Thrasher) and she is riding a Dave Hackett board, a gift from Death Box.
So next time you se a grayish ol’ woman ripping on a skateboard ask her for advice, she may have a trick or two that she has kept secret during all those years… You never know who you talk to…
All pictures from Life and Skateboarder Magazine.