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Skateboarding News

Monday, October 17, 2011

Patti McGee interview with isTia

Patti McGee interview with isTia.Tv... Keep Dry!!!
In 1965, Patti McGee, a Gidget-like young woman from San Diego, was pictured on the cover of Life magazine on a skateboard. It was so breathtaking that, even forty six years after, people still talk about that as a major achievement. Even if Gidget was only a novel based upon a Malibu Surfer girl, Patti McGee was more original than the original…

The Life Magazine headline was: “The craze and menace of SKATEBOARDS .” Well, it has not changed a lot in 46 years… Patti McGee was the national skateboard champion of 1964, back when girls were just as likely to be on a skateboard as boys were.

That all changed in the 1970s, when the sport moved from clay wheels to critical, testosterone-fueled pool-riding challenge. Then, it changed again to Skate And Destroy and stayed that way for a long, long time, excluding girls for almost 25 years.

We are just seeing now a new generation of girls popping up in street, pools, bowls and vert. To witness that change, we went to ask Patti McGee what she was thinking when she started skateboarding. Really?

That’s definitively the wittier and more irreverent interview isTia has done in years…
Patti is a "Blast From The Past" The 60's were exciting and She has always followed SK8 Boarding and Surfing even if from a distance.
She started SK8ing again at 55 and never left the Ocean even if it's snorkeling the Baja.

Patti Mc Gee
IsTia.Tv: Where did the “First Betty” name come from? Why “First Betty” and not “First Patti”?
Patti McGee:
Hola!!, Well......My Daughter Hailey V. came up with the name "First Betty"! I asked her the same question..... She said . "MOM! a Betty is a hot Chick" & it just stuck. *Blush* :)

IsTia.Tv: When did you start surfing and when did your surfing translated into skateboarding?
Patti McGee:
I started Surfing in 1958. I was in 8th grade & I started SK8 boarding in 1963-ish in my senor year. Because it was THERE! Oh it was good practice too & something way fun to do in the afternoon when the surf blew out.

IsTia.Tv: How did a book like Gidget (by Frederick Kohner) influence you to practice surfing?
Patti McGee:
Gidget was cute & yes I suppose she led the way although it didn't influence me to surf, I would have done it one way or the other.... The beach scene at Malibu was tight and the story was lived out there every day. It was 150 miles from San Diego till I was 16 & had my own car to make coast trips. Then I surfed every time I got a chance.

The Gidget was created by Frederick Kohner in his 1957 novel "Gidget,
The Little Girl With Big Ideas", written in the first person and based
on the accounts of his daughter Kathy of the surf culture of Malibu Point.
This is Patti McGee in 1963 in a never published before picture...
IsTia.Tv: Do you remember old brands like “Sidewalk Swinger”??
Patti McGee:
You mean "SideWalk Surfer"?

IsTia.Tv: I don’t know, I was not born at the time… How ‘bout “Chicago Trucks”,
Patti McGee:
The trucks weren't a brand that I remember, but Chicago Wheels where some of my clay wheels.

isTia.Tv: Shoot, Well, I’m sure my 5 year old kids messed up with my notes… LOL! How about “Val Surf”
Patti McGee:
Val Surf was a surf shop that started making their own SK8boards

IsTia.Tv: How about “Hobie”?
Patti McGee:
Alter... I rode for Him and brought the Skateboard to thousands of kids. We took it from coast to coast. “Super Surfer” was one of the models.

IsTia.Tv: How ‘bout “Roller Derby”?
Patti McGee:
Roller Derby was a store bought brand with metal wheels . Never rode one but I have one as a collector’s item now.

isTia;Tv: “XCaliber” ?
Patti McGee:
must-of been a LA deck or after my time.

IsTia.Tv: Was Makaha in the market when you were skating?
Patti McGee:
Yes! They were among the 1st Surf Shops that had their own Skateboards. & Larry Stevens invented the kick tail.

The original Gidget book Cover.
 IsTia.Tv: What were the best 2-3 best brands in the 60’s?
Patti McGee:
To be fair it would depend on where you lived. LA was the center of it all. Then every coast town had their local surf shops that in turn had their own Skateboard. I may leave out a few but starting in Sad Diego area "G&S Gordon & Smith" in Pacific Beach. "Hanson" in Cardiff. "HOBIE" in Dana Point. Jacks" in Huntington Beach. BunBuster" in Whittier. "Dewy Weber" in Marina Del Ray. Makaha" in Santa Monica" these would have been some of the 1st. Please remember I don't know it all. The evolution rolled fast.

"I was in Chicago and, of course, I needed to do the weather! What else?...
Windy city and all. :) See the newsreel camera on the bottom right.
My sales rep was holding my feet. Hahaha It took 5 min's.” Patti McGee. 1965 shot.
IsTia.Tv: By looking at your equipment back in the days, should I assume that skateboarding was pretty inexpensive when you started? No pads, no hundred dollars shoes, no Abec 15 with Swiss grease, no hassle…
Patti McGee:
You are right ... My equipment is almost stone age compared to now... Lamented decks at the most with Clay wheels.. Period.!! NO Helmets No Pads, and Bare feet ruled.

IsTia.Tv: What would you do when you hurt your feet? Stop skating for 1 month?
Patti McGee:
Our feet were tough & we had Surf knots on our knees too. We would use Band Aids & the healing power of the Ocean & kept on going. I wore sandals to school, worked for me.

IsTia.Tv: You should have asked “Band Aid” to sponsor you, not “Vita Pakt”… Nowadays, street skaters look at pool riders -who wear pads- with disdain because it’s definitely “not cool”. Was it the same in the 60’s with shoe? Were you, Barefooters, looking at sneakered ones with a genuine smile?
Patti McGee:
Well sort-of… I guess that's a good analogy. I'll tell you street SK8ing is pretty dangerous too with rails and Mega Steps.
Patti McGee was sponsored by Hobie Alter

IsTia.Tv: I noticed that even in the mid 70’s barefooters were still on the cover of SkateBoarder (ex: Gregg Weaver), so when did wearing shoes become hot and trendy?
Patti McGee:
Not really sure it was trendy and perhaps when Shoe sponsors stepped in it just sort-of Happened. I know I had a shoe sponsor after awhile so at times I wore sort-of a deck shoe & Vita Pak. My HOBIE sponsor made me wear a low heel when I traveled & those gave me blisters. See the heels of my feet on the life Zine cover . Look really close. LOL

IsTia.Tv: In the later days, I notice you eventually switched from barefoot to sneakers. Was it because you were sponsored by Paul Van Doren’s great-grand father at the time?
Patti McGee:
I wore shoes up to the point till I did a demo then Off with the shoes... Remember I was on the streets of New York/subways/taxies /my LIMO ;)

Patti McGee and Dick Clarck, 1965
IsTia.Tv: So if Vans did not exist, who were the Vans and Etnies of the time?..
Patti McGee:
I don't remember it might have been a Golf co. or boating shoe. ?? GOOD QUESTION. !!!

IsTia.Tv: Most kids think Tony Hawk invented skateboarding 100 years ago, so who was the genius who invented skateboards anyways? When was it invented, in the middle ages?
Patti McGee:
The best way to answer this is to review Ben Marcus's' new Book*** "SKATEBOARD" "The Good / The Bad & the Gnarly"*** He covers some pretty interesting territory as far back 194? I know in the 1953-55 in my old neighborhood we nailed our skates to a 2x4 a skate on each end.. sat on the board, lifted our feet & went blasting down the sidewalk hill on my block.

IsTia.Tv: It seems that beverages and skateboarding go hand by hand. Nowadays, we have Monster and the Dew Tour, in the 80’s we had the Pepsi Challenge and in the 60’s we had the Vita-Pak tour… How was it to ride for a Juice company?
Patti McGee:
VitaPak was a little more than just a sponsor for Hobie. As far as I could see they had a huge part in the manufacturing & assemblies … Using their Marketing techniques to keep all the promotions running ahead of my demos to insure the crowds for exposure.

IsTia.Tv: Did they deliver truckloads of juice at your door every day, like the milkman?
Patti McGee:
Haha... No, haha but I got OJ every day I was at my little office at the plant IN Covena, CA. & hey They Paid Me!! :) :)

Before they were in the Makaha team in the 60's, Bruce Logan, Woody Woodward,
Danny Bearer, Gregg Carroll were touring with Patti McGee. They all were 13-14 years old
and Patti was 20. She was the only pro of the tour... The others would have lost their
amateur status by being on the payroll...
The enterprise that was to become Vita-Pakt Citrus Product Co.
began operations in 1949 across the driveway of a Covina,
California fresh citrus packing house. In 1957 the company was
reorganized as Vita-Pakt Citrus Products Co. and quickly became
the major supplier of fresh, Not From Concentrate,
chilled orange juice to retail markets in California,
Arizona and Nevada.
IsTia.Tv: How long did that tour with Hobie Vita Pakt last?
Patti McGee:
My employment ran about a year. Then a few on-call.... Spotty appearances.

IsTia.Tv: When did that tour stop and why?
Patti McGee:
There were 2 legs of "THE TOUR" as you put it. The Hiltons / Torger (Johnson); Woody (Woodward)/ Danny (Bearer) and the team mgr.~~> Dave Rocklyn, were The team... They were all amateurs, I was the DEMO girl.. I had the National title & got paid like I said. So, you mean you were making tons of Money???
Patti McGee:
I wouldn't say TON's of $.. I think it was like $250. a month plus a equal expence account. I got enrolled in all the actors guilds & got paid the standard $230. for the "Johnny Carson Show"(Twice since they did a summer re-run) My BIG payback is NOW.. Lots of cool interviews & nice spreds in "Concrete Wave & Thrasher & the covenited "SHOF" Honor ***|:)+<\:

IsTia.Tv: What happened to Vita-Pakt? Did they rebrand themselves as Monster to still be able to sponsor skateboarders today?
Patti McGee:
LOL... Vita Pak is still selling OJ as far as I know in Covina Ca. I wasn't in on the end facts. Although I know that the Insurance risks nationwide had a big part & after all as "LIFE" zine so eloquently put it we were.... "THE MENACE" Haha I love that part. Haha haha

IsTia.Tv: Did you go to see those skateboard movies from the 60’s and 70’s like Skater Dater, Skater King, Skateboard madness, Spinnin’ wheels, Downhill Motion, Freewhelin’. Which one did you prefer?
Patti McGee:
I actually have a whole bunches of those & just any many OLD Surf films. My main source is my personal SURF /SNOW & SK8 historian & Photographer Scott Starr in Santa Barbara . He has on hand & has for sale more old films than Blockbuster. With his film clips on You-Tube: ~~ Great source. Anyway.. They all just keep getting better.

IsTia.Tv: You have been skateboarding since dawn of skateboarding, what was your first skateboard, Alva? Vision Street Wear? H Street? Girl??? Must have been Girl!!!
Patti McGee:
My 1st board was one my brother Jack made in wood shop he had swiped the wheels off my rink skates to make it & hollered to me to "COME OUT HERE AND TRY THIS"!!! :) My other 1st board was "BUNBUSTER" & i actually was on the team. My brother Jack , Charley and I luckly got to fly to Denver to SK8 on the stage for the premier of "Moon Spinners" with Walt Disney in the audience

IsTia.Tv: What skate mags do you read? The quarterly…???
Patti McGee:
I've had a long standing read with as many SK8 Zines as possible… Right at this moment I subscribe to "Thrasher" & "Concrete Wave", "SkateSean" and "TSJ". I also follow many things as they get posted on-line.

IsTia.Tv: Do you prefer steel or clay wheels? Which one has more grip? Which one has less wooble?
Patti McGee:
I wouldn't ride ether one of those these days are you kidding me? My 1st stand up board had Chicago clay wheels.

IsTia.Tv: Back in the good ol’ days, how often would you stop skateboarding and start running after the loose bearings instead?
Patti McGee:
I really don't remember ever losing any ball bearings.

IsTia.Tv: So, yeah, you really deserved to the 64 skate Champ if you were not losing your beardings, that’s a feat!!!!!! Did you have a pouch or a box with extra bearings when you were skateboarding?
Patti McGee:
I had a SK8 Key that i kept in the glove tray of my old VW Bus.

IsTia.Tv: What was the best friend of a skateboarder in the 60’s? A cobblestone?
Patti McGee:
No way!! a smooth surface was best. A best friend would probably somebody with a car! ( ME )

One of the original pictures from 1965 Life magazine
IsTia.Tv: People say skateboarding has changed in 50 years. You were skating on parking lots then and people still skate on parking lots now, so what has changed? The smoothness of the asphalt? Cops were not running after you? You could not post pix of your sesh the same day?
Patti McGee:
Well. All of the above but mostly the Skateboards them selfs. And true, being able to post a sesh is evolving daily.

IsTia.Tv: How long after you started did you go pro?
Patti McGee:
Fast as I could... (GRIN) I was 19 by then & had to start making a living.

IsTia.Tv: How were you pre-qualified for the National Skateboard Champion in 1964?
Patti McGee:
No qualification... just show up & sign in.

IsTia.Tv: How was it?
Patti McGee:
The 1964 contest was at the Santa Monica park & Rec. And it was judged on the flip card system like ice skating. The events were Fig. 8 / Slalom with cones & FreeStyle. No TV / No Zine coverage & maybe 100 folks. Don't remember any music even.

IsTia.Tv: Do you remember your routine?
Patti McGee:
The fig. 8 was a shoe-in for me since i had learned it in Fig. Skating (2 complete circles.. OO ) not a infinity sign. The slalom was timed with a stop watch & points off for knocking over cones. Free Style was a timed event & my Handstand was my signature trick & still is I guess, huh?

IsTia.Tv: Tell me about the time when you got the record for the fastest girl on a skateboard at 47MPH… You were behind a motorcycle… Was it with clay wheels? Steel wheels? What kind of equipment?
Patti McGee:
First off it wasn't one of the smartest thing i ever did, ok! Our BunBuster team had a Skateboard booth at the "DickClarks World Teen Fair 1964" (before the National contest in Santa Monica) over Easter Vacation in the " California Orange County Fair" Parking lot. Suzuki motor cycles had a hill climbing demo set up next to us. 1+1= Hay lets get the ski rope outa my VW bus & see if that guy will tow us!! The wheels were Chicago rink clay wheels & we tightened -em up tight after a few runs & the rest is history. Shhhhhhhhh ...NO Helmet / NO pads / NO Shoes / NO brains....... Must have been good clean living cause none of us ever fell.

IsTia.Tv: Shoot! No brains, no glory!!! Tell us about being on the cover of Life. How did you end up being on the cover of Life?
Patti McGee:
I was in the right place at the right time..... Doing a demo in Latrobe Pennsylvania at a Montgomery Ward & I get a phone call from the "LIFE" folks & I said SURE!!!!! They meet me in Pittsburgh, Pa. the next day or so & we did the shoot. The Vietnam war was big news & there had just been a tsunami, (we called them Tidal Waves Back then) up in Alaska so I wasn't really expecting to get the cover. Guess they needed to supply the world with some comic relief for a change. It was dumb luck like I said but on Sat. I knew I was getting it , on Sunday Macy's dept store booked me on the "What’s my line" game show, I hadn't even seen it yet. & Monday morning when I came in to demo work they staged a surprise shot where I had to close my eyes till they had the Zine my hands, then it was open yours eyes.. SURPRIZE!!! LOL.. Just like Christmas.
"Hey! Do you realize that that's the 1st photo of skateboarding with a pool
on the cover of a ZINE??" Dave Hackett
IsTia.Tv: How did you end up being on the cover of SkateBoarder?
Patti McGee:
That was a treat huh? I'm guessing Hobie had something to do with that!!

IsTia.Tv: I noticed that you were pool skateboarding at the time that cover of SkateBoarder was shot… But I guess pool skateboarding of the 60’s was different from Alva or Salba’s pool skateboarding… What was the real difference?
Patti McGee:
NOPE!! it just was a cool back ground. Matter-of-fact it was just recently that David Hackett mentioned to me that "Hey! Do you realize that that's the 1st photo of skateboarding with a pool on the cover of a ZINE??" Alva & the boys were "THE ONES" that made pool riding... And it's gotten more radical every year since then.

IsTia.Tv: What’s better, being on the cover of "LIFE" or on the cover of Skateboarder?
Patti McGee:
The "LIFE" cover has become such a ICON.. *blush* but "Skateboarder" is a peeps thing.. Hard to say. I'm Extremely proud of them booth. & lately Michael Brook / "Concrete Wave" did a really niiiiiiiiiiiiiice double page of me. And this month OCT "Thrasher" I a page of me for their "Covers" monthly special interview . Stoked... Now here we are doing this for your "I SK8 there for I AM" .. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet!! Thankx for including me.

IsTia.Tv: When did you first meet with Jim Fitzpatrick?
Patti McGee:
I didn't meet Jim till 2008? That was at the "ASR" convention in San Diego. & of course FaceBook & MySpace has put so many of us in touch... it's like MAGIC!

Christian Hosoi as a "cute" skateboarder...
IsTia.Tv: Who was the most handsome skateboarder?
patti McGee
- 60’s........ We were all so young in the 60's it was more like Cute... perhaps Rodney Mullen & Richie Courso
- 70’s........ David Hackett
- 80’s........ Steve Olson... Stacie Peralta
- 90’s........ Bucky Lasek - Scott Starr
- Now?..... Christian Hosi... David Hackett ( He's timeless) Lance Mt. & 100's others.

istia.Tv: Did you ever dated a surfer? A skateboarder?
Patti McGee:
Sure. I dated lots of Surfers. we were all surfers. But surf was 1st for me. Skaters? NO! But have lots of SK8 men Pals now. :)

IsTia.Tv: Did you ever quit skateboarding and why?
Patti McGee:
I drifted away from Sk8-ing in 1968 & took up snow skiing. I Moved to Tahoe in 1970 & skied for 3 years. Drove a D8 Cat & mined Turquoise out in the middle of" Nowhere NV" for the next 3 years then moved to the AZ desert, Cave creek & raised up my kids. Took up Sk8ing a tiny bit when the kids were little when scooting around on the living room floor graduated to the cement up at the grade school in 1986. Then not till 2001 When my daughter Hailey V. started practicing interviewing me for her broadcasting class at college & then I moved down from the desert to a nearby SK8 park on 40th st. "PV". David Hackett made sure that I got a decent deck & that's when I got interested again. By then, I was 55+…
IASC. IASC. The Skateboarding Hall of Fame and the I.A.S.C. formally celebrated the second year of inductions into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame tonight. This years entries were Torger Johnson, Stacy Peralta, Steve Caballero, Eric Koston, Bob Burnquist, and Patti McGee. Also included we two industry awards to Craig Stecyk and Larry Stevenson. They have now joined the class of 2009 inductees: Bruce Logan, Tony Alva, Tony Hawk and Danny Way.
Patti Mcgee -Steve Berra - Lance Mountain -Hailey Villa at the IASC in 2010.
Patti McGee and daughter Hailey. As the first professional female
skateboarder, Patti McGee became the “Women’s National Skateboard
Champion” in 1964. Then, she became the Demo Girl for HOBIE
Skateboards and traveled for nearly two years demonstrating the
boards on a national level. She has also appeared on the cover of
“Life” and on The Johnny Carson Show among a list of other
IsTia.Tv: When and who told you about the induction?
Patti McGee:
Ahhh, The "Skateboarding Hall of Fame" There is a PROUD moment...There was a lot of MySpace chat about the 2009 "SHOF" event & who was going to get voted in for 2010 & why didn't they have a girl for the 1st one & petitions started to circulate. Being first & the amount of PR i did back in the 60's was the key to my position on the vote & Bingo!! I actually got a letter from Todd at "The Skateboarding Hall Of Fame & Museum” & "IASC" . They are the folks that are a responsible for "GO SKATRBOARDING DAY". And promoting this event.

IsTia.Tv: Was the induction a surprise to you?
Patti McGee:
No surprise. But I was holding my breath actually. :)

IsTia.Tv: I know you still get out there and skate. What deck are you rolling on these days?
Patti McGee:
I finally have my own Signature deck a "Patti McGee" model!/pages/Patti-McGee/137472119609097?sk=app_135607783795 & we are coming out with a LongBoard model this spring. Although i still ride my "DeathBox" that i got from David Hackett 10 years ago.

IsTia.Tv: You were one of the ones that popularized handstands… Now that old school is back in action big time and kids are doing stuff we would never imagine, do you plan to see in the near future a 5 year old kid doing a handstand to fakie in the coping?
Patti McGee:
Sure... Some of these little kids are AWESOME!! it blows my mind what some of them are ... say dropping in on!

IsTia.Tv: How about a handstand to fakie rock-n-roll?
Patti McGee:
Why not.. ?

IsTia.Tv: Was is easier to be a champion in the 60-70’s because there was only one discipline: sidewalk surfing?
Patti McGee:
Probably...... Because theirs thousands & thousands of people from around the world sk8-ing this days.

IsTia.Tv: What is more stylish than a handstand performed by a woman skating barefoot in cigarette pants?
Patti McGee:
In 1965?? You tell me. In 2011...It is definitively to watch Dave Hackett bare chested do his classic pool stance. :)

Patti McGee and Peggy Oki
IsTia.Tv: I noticed that attitudes changed toward skateboarding, from the 60's to the 70's. From an initial acceptance, to disdain as skateboarding appeared more dangerous. Can you tell us what happened from your perspective during that time to cause such changes?
Patti McGee:
The insurance factor & Bad Rap advertising.

IsTia.Tv: It seems the early days of skating women were a little more accepted within the skate world, I mean, a dude didn't get HIS picture on LIFE, but in the 80's and 90's there didn't seem to be as many female skaters, that tide is turning with folks like Mimi Koop, Cara Beth Burnside, and more recently Lizzie Armanto & the "Silly Girl & Original Betty Team riders.…
Patti McGee:

The Lady Is A Champ: Patti McGee in SkateBoarder Magazine, 1965
IsTia.Tv: You, Ellen O’Neal, Hellen Berryman, Cindy Whitehead, those were grace, style and delicacy on skateboard… Then, skateboarder girls had to adapt and became tomboys to be accepted as skateboarders but it seems the tide is changing again and nowadays, femininity, style and grace is back and girls are not afraid anymore to be girly girls in order to skate. Do you think it’s true? Am I right? And if yes, what happened?
Patti McGee:
I would imagine that we were all Tomboys in our own way back then, but your right about our famine side is on the upswing. I'm sure it's because There’s more Girls & Woman’s Sk8 clothing & gear designed especially for us. I know at "Original Betty" screen printing we have made a contribution to cool T logo's.

IsTia.Tv: What’s the trend for the future? More girls into skateboarding?
Patti McGee:
Only the Future will tell but i know the feeling is "WE ARE HERE TO STAY" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IsTia.Tv: Why do you think women have been excluded from skateboarding in the past 30 years?
Patti McGee:
I don't think we've been excluded, I think we just weren't represented by enough girls to make a bigger dent.

IsTia.Tv: Do you feel like you paved the way for women skaters of today?
Patti McGee:.
*blush* Well it's been said a few times… And in 2006 ....The day that Steve Caballero signed his "Concrete Wave" cover for me & he said "Dear Patti...Thank You For Paving The Way For US!" was a huge day in my life ***|:)+<|:

Hailey and Patti McGee
IsTia.Tv: Do you consider yourself to be more surfer or skater? How did the two cultures differ at the time?
Patti McGee:
The difference is equipment of course... And even though I dream of the Ocean still & would use up 1 of the Genies 3 wish's to ride the "Pipeline" It's obvious that I've made my mark in SK8Boarding . So that's my reality don't ya think?

IsTia.Tv: It seems that in the 60’s female skaters' got recognized like the male skaters and they were skating side by side. However, by the late '70s, that all seemed to change. Is this something that you or other female skaters' were aware of back in that era; and what seemed to cause this shift?
Patti McGee:
The 70's attention seemed to be "THE POOL" & that was a bit more extreme, I guess.. I had moved on to Snow Sking & what was the rest of my life.

IsTia.Tv: What do you think your life would have been like without skating? What has it brought you?
Patti McGee:
OMG! I can't Imagine! I think since I've always danced to a different drum I still would-of gone to the "School of hard knocks" I really got into the arts & Crafts field with my Turquoise stone cutting and leathersmithing for just over 16 years. Then there was 13 years with "Buffalo Bill's World Famous Trading Post" Even 3 Years with "the Home Depot Garden Dept" after I retired from the Trading Post. Now I help Hailey with our screen printing.

hailey and Patti McGee
IsTia.Tv: You have an adult daughter. Does she skate? Did you teach her? What was that like?
Patti McGee:
Yes Hailey ! She has been rolling around ever since she was a baby but the past couple of years she has been ripping it up. Dropping in & adding tricks all the time. Like i said: She has her own Screen Printing Co. & has springboarded it by using all my old photos to create her graphic designs. My Signature deck is one of her creations…

IsTia.Tv: What's your worst skating injury?D
Patti McGee:
Just the normal scrapes and bruises although i did bail last year at the bottom of a hill in La Costa, Ca. when i got myself into a "Oh shit I'm going to fast" situation. LOL My biggest & most life threatening moments were during surfing.

Patti McGee at The Wedge with Silly Girl
IsTia.Tv: How did your family feel about your skating when you were a young woman, with all the traveling, demos, and filming commitments?
Patti McGee:
I was 19 and didn't need a chaperone although i had a sales rep from the places i went meet me at the plane & chauffeur me around. My Mom was ok with my travels & very proud. My Brother went Tuna fishing with the Flagship "Queen Mary" as far down as the equator so we were split up then but he was proud too. BTW.. He has graduated from those days into a accomplished wind surfer & since he was 50 he's now a daring Kite boarder & I'm REALLY proud of him.

IsTia.Tv: In the 60’s skateboarding was a sport. People like Russ Howell, Torger Johnson, Ty Page, Bruce Logan were athletes doing gymnastic tricks on their boards. Then, skateboarding changed from a "sport" (gasp) to a lifestyle and that lifestyle lasted 40 years. That lifestyle was often characterized as a bunch of hard partying "thrasher" types. Was it detrimental on skateboarding?
Patti McGee:
Different strokes for different folks I guess. As the style got more extreme so did the riders.

IsTia.Tv: What are your feelings on how this portrayal has changed?
Patti McGee:
I'm all for it!

IsTia.Tv: Now that the thrasher lifestyle is back again to “sport” status (especially with the advent of mega contests like Dew Tour, Street League, the WCS tour etc… and especially the Olympics soon), do you think that clean skateboarding is the right way to go?
Patti McGee:
CLEAN?? ... We're talking about the girls right!... Style should always be considered & it seems that the girlie girl look has definitely seeped back into fashion. We all take some nasty spills but Bling & all the cool SK8 cloths help us to look pretty doing it. :)

Add caption
IsTia.Tv: When Russ Howell won that award for having the longer handstand on a skateboard, did you wanted to do the same?
Patti McGee:
I trained at a Roller Skating rink in Pasadena & could go all the way around the rink without touching down, had to do lots of hand pumping, not sure how many min's that took. It was my signature trick and I was asked to do it all the time, 1964-66. I wish I had been around to challenge Russ but it was a shame he didn't have the space to really do it right. He said it himself… " Someone else could break the record if given a larger area."

IsTia.Tv: I would love to hear about the hilarious commercial you did for bell. How did you end up in that commercial? What’s the story behind it? Did you get to keep the parrot and what did you do with him teach him handstands or cook it?
Patti McGee:
It was "New England Bell Telephone" ( & I got it through VitaPak & Conrad Hilton as I remember. It was fun to SK8 through a really nice house & No I didn't get to keep the parrot, he was from the animal actor’s guild. Haha!! Lots a kids don't realize back in the 60's and before there was only 1 phone in the house & when they made the commercial they were starting to wire the house's & rent out extra phones. I was sorry to see they cut my 360 at the very end when I blasted into the kitchen to answer the phone. The line..Preview.. "OH NO! The Stairs!! ...She Can't" .... Always cracks me up since it seems kind-of a lame tick compared to what everybody is doing now, huh?

IsTia.Tv: Yeah, you should have ollied the stairs! Twenty years before Allan Gelfand, can you imagine how skateboarding would have been then? More seriously, what did you spend most time on: your hairdo or your skateboarding?
Patti McGee:
Nobody has ever asked me THAT!!! You crack me up… Hahaha I've tried to remember ever even fixing my hair but I'll tell you I practically lived on my board for a year and a half.

IsTia.Tv: Was there a skateboarding look in the 60’s?
Patti McGee:
A LOOK? hmmm well it was just ME! But it was the "Clean Cut" look that's for sure. Nice team jackets Matching everything. Look at the HOBIE team even the G&S's team. Classic!

IsTia.Tv: What role do you think you had in inspiring women to stay in a sport that was so male dominated? Do you look back and feel pride about the legacy that you left? Did you encounter any opposition or bad vibes while being a female skater back in the day?
Patti McGee:
WOW!! Well sure.... I still get e-mail about inspiring even from Guys. More than ever now since MySpace & FaceBook have made the world a smaller place. The pride... YES! it makes me warm & Fuzzy. Being a girl in SK8boarding never was an issue and i'll tell you NOW theirs times Guys go out of their way to give me the right-a-way. Thank goodness too cause I need all the room I can get to do turns sometimes. Sometimes I got Vibes in Surfing you had to be Fook-n-tuff so they didn't just run you over till they realized you were as good as them & in a lot of places it was "LOCALS ONLY" .

IsTia.Tv: What do you think about all of the support and skate parks skaters are getting today?
Patti McGee:
I think it's WONDERFUL!!! Finally a place to get-er-done!

IsTia.Tv: In the early days, there were a lot of contests. Did you enjoy the contest scene or do you like free ride skating?
Patti McGee:
Well........ I did the 1st National contest in 64 at the Santa Monica Recreation Park & then it was onto my Pro demo tour.. So i was busy then in 66 then like I said I moved to Tahoe & took up Snow Skiing.

IsTia.Tv: What is the best advice you would give to an 8 year old girl that is starting skateboarding now?
Patti McGee:
Not just 8 years old's Teens and Mom's too..."WHEAR YOUR HELMET" Live it, Breath it and Just do it!! !! Lots other stuff too like i tell my "Original Betty Team Riders" PRACTICE/ PRACTICE/ PRACTICE !!!
AND!! """" Watch Your Back!!!!!!"""""

Thank you so much Patti. You are a beacon of skateboarding and thank you for those wonderful pictures from your private collection. Sorry for the questions, I wanted to play good cop-bad cop, but I never found a good cop to skate with me... So, I had to do the dirty job... Hahahaha...

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Blogger Cindy Whitehead said...

Fantastic interview with one of my favorite people!

October 18, 2011 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your website, as you know! :^D
This is such a great article on a legend. When I began skating, I definitely was inspired by Patti McGee- she was the only skater that was really well-known and a "household name" (even before Logan, Biniak, Peralta, Oki, etc...)
She made skating accessible and not outlandish for anyone to be doing and certainly it was cool for girls to emulate her! Many of us did so even the bare feet, which was true to the "surfing" feel that we got in the downhill, slalom, wallriding in the good old 70s.
Leigh Roche
Keep shredding and thanks for helping to make it a smooth ride for the next generations.

October 21, 2011 at 6:18 PM  

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