The First Betty

Posted by on December 16, 2011

One of my favorite parts of my job is the research.  I get to learn about all kinds of subjects, wherever the story takes us.  For example, I know way too much about ice fishing gear, I can tell you all about the correct graphics for a police helicopter and I have done extensive research on both medical marijuana and cash for gold stores.

Recently I did some skateboarding graphics and in the process stumbled down an internet rabbit hole.  Before I knew it I was watching videos of Patti McGee teach skateboarding to a talk show host in 1965.  Patti was the first women skateboard champion at the “Women’s National Skateboard Championship.”  Those flat tricks may look tame to us now, but remember that the wheels were made of metal so they had no grip, on the street they made an awful noise; and that the boards were made of solid wood so skinny that they were not wide enough to place both feet on.  This was a brand-new sport, and there were only a few people in the world who could do what she could do (and barefoot too!).  Plus she was super cute.

She was on the covers of both LIFE and Skateboarder Magazine; and she was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame in December 2010.

Images from LIFE archives and here.

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