Skaters for Public Skateparks is always looking for new insight and also to help promote skateboarding in general. Last October, I had the pleasure of being introduced to pro skater Amelia Brodka. We had a great conversation about skateparks and skateboarding in general. It was obvious to me that Amelia is a committed skater for life. As a self-proclaimed skateboard addict, she worked tirelessly to put together a feature length documentary title “Underexposed – A Women’s Skateboard Documentary” . This was in addition to recently graduating from college with a dual degree, traveling the world competing in contests and furthering her professional skateboarding career. I wanted to get Amelia’s perspective on the importance of public skateparks from the female perspective, so we got together for this interview via e-mail.
As a professional skateboarder, filmmaker, recent college graduate and more, what is a typical day like right now for you?
I’ve been traveling a bunch recently, but I try my best to continue my typical schedule wherever I go. I like to wake up early, drink a kale and protein smoothie, respond to emails, go to a Yoga class or for a run, attend to any Underexposed/Exposure PR/Communication/logistics etc., skate vert, bowl or mini, go to the gym, and some evenings I teach private lessons at Aura skate park.
Very cool. Sounds like you’re definitely busy. Not to mention getting your daily shred on. What’s next for your new movie “Underexposed “?
Right now we are focused on lining up new screenings at festivals or coupled with skateboarding events. We are hoping to get picked up by a distributor in the process!
I noticed most of the footage in the trailer is shot at skateparks. How important do you feel public skateparks are to the future and continued success of not only young girls and women in skateboarding, but for all skaters?
Public skateparks are incremental to the growth of skateboarding. They increase participation rate and speed the progression of the level of skateboarding. Their accessibility invites new people to experience the joy of skateboarding and allows current skaters to be able to better fit their passion into their schedules and budgets. Public skateparks also help sustain the skateboarding industry by opening the doors for more people to pick up skateboarding and purchase skate equipment and apparel.
I couldn’t agree more on all points. It’s really a win/win for everyone. Those directly involved as participants, in the industry as well as for the general public to spectate. You have spoken with high school students about accomplishing their passions. Let’s say you had the opportunity to make a skateparks PSA for Parks Directors to share around the US and beyond. It would hopefully be viewed by their Board Members, City Councils, Mayor and voting citizens. What would say to help them understand the importance of building more permanent public skateparks, in good locations, with professional designs, skater involvement, etc.?
Skateboarding is a great tool that teaches youth patience, perseverance and focus. The process of learning tricks on a skateboard is a grueling one that often involves hours of trial and error. The hours kids spend at a skatepark not only provide them with exercise, but also a creative outlet. However, proper design with skater input is important. These ingredients can make the difference between a skatepark that lasts years and one that lasts decades. A well-built park decreases chance of injury, increases the growth of a local skate community as well as boosts a city’s tourism by becoming a “destination” for skateboarders from around the world.
I think we should look at adding you to the Board of Directors for SPS as our PR Specialist. Not that you have the time right now to volunteer, but you would be a natural fit and a great asset to our organization. Which leads me to my next question. How would you describe the love of skateboarding that transcends the boundaries of gender, race, culture, socioeconomic status and more within skateboarding, yet so many parents and public officials who don’t skate, don’t understand it?
Skateboarding provides all of its participant’s feelings of freedom, joy, and accomplishment. Being a skateboarder automatically makes you part of a world-wide community of people who cheer each other on and welcome each other into their homes so that you can experience their local skate spots and scenes.
All true. We met at a Tony Hawk Foundation Stand Up for Skateparks event last fall. Tony was the first and remains the major contributor paving the way for pros giving back to get more public skateparks built. How has his example inspired you and others professional skaters to get involved?
I’d like to get involved in any way possible. When I started skating, there were not very many parks in New Jersey, and the few that existed were low-budget pre-fab parks. Back then I would have killed for anywhere to skate beyond my local curb and parking lot. In middle school I went door-to-door with some friends petitioning for a park to be built in Linden, NJ. Today I’m helping the Delhi Center with their Santa Ana Skatepark Coalition. A low-income community such as Santa Ana would greatly benefit from a system of parks much like the one in Long Beach. It would be a great way to keep youth out of trouble.
Good for you for participating at a young age and staying involved in each community that you reside. It takes a lot of grass roots effort, yet it’s always worth it for the under served and at risk youth. Core skater involvement helps get the best parks built! Where would you say your Top 3 Favorite Public Skateparks located?
Colorado Springs, CO, Heber City, UT and Stamford, CT.
There are so many amazing skateparks out there with more being built all the time. It gives skaters everywhere lots to look forward to! Do you have any good stories from your early years at a public park? (Like maybe an older skater teaching you how to drop in or something)
A few years after I started skating they built a skatepark in Sayreville, NJ. I remember spending a summer there finally loosening my trucks and learning to carve.
If you were going to design a public skatepark- Where would it be located and what essential features would you include to help ensure there would be something for everyone, resulting in it getting the most use possible?
There are a lot of skaters who would really benefit from a public vert ramp in Los Angeles. The LA area has a lot of great pools and plazas, but no vert ramps. There are also no mini-ramps where skaters learn the basics of transition skating.
I would also love to see a public park in Maine with a similar structure to that of Encinitas’ YMCA park. It would have a pool, a vert ramp, a “mini-land” flow course with smaller trannies, banks and a halfpipe section, as well as a street plaza. The ideal would be to have a roof over it somehow. The northeast could really use some more skateparks in general.
What advice do you have for young skater’s to strike that balance between skating to reach their dreams of pro status and always remembering to have fun no matter what?
Remember to smile when you’re finally rolling away from that trick you’ve been working on for hours.
Ok, last question. Do you see an All Pro All Girl Skatepark Tour in the near future? It seems like a natural progression that would inspire and reach so many young female and male skaters. It would really open everyone’s eyes that much more…
I’m workin’ on it 😉
Big thanks to Amelia for the honor of this interview! I look forward to even more great things from her in the world of skateboarding and contributing to public skateparks. This is just the beginning. Check out the trailer for “Underexposed“.