Seeing women and girl skaters are becoming more common. It used to be extremely rare to find any female skaters and especially not any professional women skaters. These days that is changing with the talents of young girls such as Sky Brown and Rayssa Leal who are bound to dominate the sport for years to come.
Still, beyond these new young female skaters, there have been quite a few influential and extremely talented women skaters since the advent of the sport itself.
Let’s look at the best female skaters who keep on shredding despite it being a male-dominated sport.
Are There Any Professional Women Skateboarders?
This might seem like a silly question, but it’s not. Many current professionals talk about how difficult it was to be respected and paid equally as their male counterparts. There is a lot of stigma and obstacles to becoming a female professional skater.
There are more professional female skaters today than there has ever been. Skateboarding is still a male-dominated sport, but female representation is increasing. In the early 2000s, 90s, and earlier there were very few female professional skaters. Among these early professionals include Patti Mcgee, Elissa Steamer, Alexis Sablone, and Cara-Beth Burnside.
Nowadays, there are many well-paid female skaters including some very young and promising talents that were recently showcased at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It seems women have carved out a space in skateboarding and are here to stay.
Women Can Feel Uncomfortable in Skateboarding
The unfortuante truth is that women and girls can be uncomfortable learning to skate because this is a space that is majority young males. Some skaters do have misconceptions about who should and shouldn’t skateboard. Also there is a pretty significant wage gap between professional male and professional female skaters.
Hopefully though this list will show that there are loads of amazing female skaters who are doing this professionally and making a great living.
If you want to read about whether girls and women can safely skate, check out my guide with links to supportive women’s organizations and women-owned skate companies.
The 13 Best Female Skateboarders of All Time
Lizzie Armanto is a beast of a skater. She is an American/Finnish skater who has won multiple women’s category X-games events and represented Finland in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
She has won many medals in her professional career including the first-ever women’s park gold in the 2013 X-games. She also was the first female skater to skate “the loop” which is essentially just a ramp that looks like a loop in a roller coaster.
She did have a very nasty fall in October 2020, where she basically flew 30 feet over a jump into a wall and then fell about 20 feet to the ground. This fall required surgery, but you can see that she is recovering well in the video above.
Alexis Sablone is one of the few women on this list and she really started getting recognition while skating with PJ Ladd in the 90s. She has a distinct and creative East coast style that makes her fun to watch. She also has loads of videos doing tricks over big stair sets before that was so common to do.
She in general is super cool and is also an architect and artist based in New York. She is LGBTQ if you care about that at all. She recently released a “pride shoe” with Converse. I wrote up a more in-depth look at Alexis from interviews and other loose bits on the internet that you can see if you want to learn more about here.
She also has some interviews where she really dives into the struggles as a professional woman skater and how she went back to school initially instead of pursuing skating like her peers PJ Ladd and others. She is relatively outspoken at times, but also so relaxed as a person that it can be disarming.
Oh yeah. She also placed 4th in street skating during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Before competing in the Olympics she has won multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals at the X-games. That’s cool too.
If you want to read more on Alexis Sablone, then check out my article specifically on Alexis where I dive into old interviews to learn more about her.
Leticia Bufoni is a street skater out of Brazil and is also a six-time X-games gold medalist. She currently is based in Los Angeles but started skating at the age of 9 in Brazil. There is a famous story of her dad breaking her board in half because he was mad that she was the only girl skating among 10 guys. He eventually would let her go on to skate.
She first competed in the X-games at the age of 14 and has recently become an American Citizen. She is still actively competing in competitions and also competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but didn’t medal.
She has a large number of big-name sponsors including Nike SB and Redbull. She was named one of the most marketable athletes in 2018 by Sports Pro Media
She also has a backyard street park to make anyone jealous.
Patti Mcgee was one of the absolute original female skaters and she won the first Women’s National Skateboard Champion in a 1964 contest.
Patti was somewhat fearless. She set the record at the time for the fastest woman on a skateboard while riding 47 miles per hour on a Bun Buster which is a vintage skateboard that resembles modern longboards. Considering that safety technology wasn’t at its peak at the time, she really was risking her life riding that fast.
She had a few guest appearances on TV shows in the 60s and was the first woman inducted into the skateboarding hall of fame by the International Association of Skateboard Companies.
You can find more recent interviews of her and she still romanticizes the earlier times of skating where pads and helmets didn’t really exist. I’m not sure I agree with her, but more power to her.
Sky Brown is a UK skater who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and English father. She represented the UK in the 2020 Olympics and took gold in the women’s park event. Recently, there were some people upset at how she mentioned being Japanese in an interview when she represented the UK.
Regardless of that silliness, she won an Olympic gold medal at the age of just 13. She is a beast and completely unafraid to throw down the biggest tricks in her competition runs. She was the first female skater to land a 540 spin in a competition run.
She started by skating on a mini ramp in her backyard that her dad would skate every day and has become one the most technically talented and youngest park skaters out there. She also has an adorable bubbly personality so it’s really hard to not like her as a person.
Rayssa Leal won silver in women’s street skating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the tender age of 13 years old. She comes out of Brazil like Leticia Bufoni and is a rising star on the street skating scene.
She first got attention for skating a stair set in a pink tutu at the age of 7 years old. That video became a viral video. Her career is just getting started with her earliest big competitions happening in 2019, right before her medaling performance in the Olympics.
Many think that she will be the face of women’s skateboarding for many years to come and they’re probably right. She has an amazing talent for such a young age. I would love to see Rayssa and Sky Brown dominate women’s skating in their respective areas of street and park.
Momiji Nishiya took gold for Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in women’s street skating. This was her first gold medal in a major competition after getting two silver medals in the 2019 X-games and the 2021 Street Skateboarding World Championships. She became the youngest gold medalist ever for Japan.
There isn’t so much information out there, but the oldest clip available is from 2015 when she was 8 years old landing a heel flip. She has progressed incredibly fast and winning Olympic gold at the age of 13 years old is stunning. She obviously has talent and well has put in a ton of time learning to skate.
Again, because she is coming out of Japan, there isn’t so much information out there on her. Japan doesn’t really have the well-developed skating media outlets that the States has. However, if there is someone who speaks Japanese and wants to help me dig further, please reach out to me.
Lacey Baker (now Leo Baker) was a skating standout as a child and teen. They/them started skating at 5 years old and won gold in women’s street skating at the X-games in Austin in 2014. They/them were named to Nike’s team in 2017 and have competed as recently as 2019. They/them have some serious skills.
So if you’re looking for some standout non-binary representation, then look no further. Leo knew he was a boy even at an early age, but only realized that they/them were trans at 19 years old. They/them were originally supposed to represent America on the women’s Olympic skating team but resigned after deciding to publicly transition.
Leo is still actively skating and competing so be sure to follow them/they as put out more content and skate in more competitions.
Vanessa Torres is a street skating beast. She also was the first woman to win X-games gold back in 2003 when women’s skating was first premiered in the event. Currently, she is sponsored by Meow Skateboards and has seemingly stopped competing in competitions in 2016.
She dropped out of high school to pursue skateboarding and she has a few pretty classic skate parts such as This Is My Element and Quit Your Day Job.
She is pretty low-key and there isn’t so much media attention or interviews out there of her. She chose to skate for more low-key companies and live a more relaxed lifestyle towards the end of her career. She had stopped skating as of 2020 and I’m not sure if she has continued skating since then. (source)
Cara-Beth Burnside has won more than 16 awards in competitions such as the X-games and Vans Triple Crown. She was the first woman to get a signature skate shoe and was the first woman to be featured on the cover of Thrasher Magazine. Her career was mostly active in the 90s and early 2000s.
Alongside skateboarding, she is essentially a board sports aficionado. She has also competed and won medals in snowboarding and surfing. It’s hard to find any street parts of hers and I’m not sure she has any. There are plenty of videos of her during competitions though so you can still see how skilled she really is.
Elissa Steamer is a competitor and she has one of the most impressive competition runs in women’s skateboarding. She won the gold medal in the women’s street competition of the X-games 4 out of 5 years from 2004-2008.
Before being active in street competitions, she skated exclusively street and started featuring in skate parts in 1996 first with Welcome to Hell with Toy Machine who was a dominant and prestigious skate company in the 90s. She has also been sponsored and skated for Baker and Zero since then.
She was the 2003 Female Skater of the Year by Check it Out Girls Magazine. She also is LGBTQ and lives in California with her girlfriend.
Misugu is a beast of a skater. She represented Japan in the 2020 Olympics and was ranked 1 of all the qualifying Olympic qualifiers. She did not medal, unfortunately, but she still is a very talented skater. She was born in 2006 and was just 15 years old when she competed.
She was the first woman to perform a kickflip indy in competition in 2019 and she often performs a nasty 540 spin in her competition runs. It’s hard to find too much information on her as most of it is in Japanese and not English.
She does have a nice video part filmed with Santa Cruz Skateboards of her throwing down across parks in California including landing a 540. It’s nice, but the dialogue is limited as she doesn’t speak English.
Still, she is a beast of a skater, is super young still, and maybe you can brush up on your Japanese if you want to see some of her interviews.
Samarria started skating at the age of 13 and first tried to compete in the Supergirl Am Jam in 2011. This led her to join the Hoopla Skateboard team. She competed in quite a few competitions but didn’t become a pro for Enjoi Skateboards until after winning silver in the 2017 street X-games.
She had a part in Don’t Quit Your Day Job with Vanessa Torres and also competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics representing America. She did not medal in the Olympics, but you need to be pretty good to even qualify. She is still actively skating and also is producing music.
If you want to check out another best-of list, check out my list of the best and most influential street skaters. Alexis Sablone makes this list as well.
So that’s it. I focused mostly on female skaters who have competed in the X-games and other big competitions, but there are really talented women skaters who really only put out skate parts.
Regardless, I hope that this list shows just how many talented women skaters are out there actively contributing and improving the sport. I’m super excited that more female skaters are popping up every day and what that means for skateboarding.
Is there someone else you want to see on the list? Reach out and let me know.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and look out for more content from Board and Wheels.