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Skateboarding News

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exposure 2012 contest: interview with Amelia Brodka

Amelia Brodka with blue cast at Memorial SkatePark. Photo Chris Zsarnay
Amelia Brodka started as a skateboarder. She was born in Poland but moved to the east coast at the age of 7. As soon as she graduated from high school at Gould Academy in Maine, she moved to the west coast. The move was partly because she was attending the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and partly because California is a more friendly state for skaters. After living several years in Los Angeles, she now calls San Diego, the mecca of vert skateboarding, her new home. Unlike other people that just complain that nothing is happening and are waiting for the others to stir the pot, she rapidly understood that if you don’t do things by yourself, nobody’s gonna do it for you. That DIY attitude is definitively part of what hard core skateboarders are. So, one day, she grabbed a camera and started a long 2 year journey in order to produce Underexposed a 120+ minute documentary about the state of girl’s skateboarding. The documentary has been praised by all skateboarding media, including Thrasher,Transworld and of course

But being a director wasn’t a feat big enough so she added another hat to her already prestigious resume: contest organizer. With Armando De La Libertad (aka "mondo"), the organizer of The Slam at Volcom Skatepark in 2011 (and my OG partner in crime), they set up a girls’ contest at Clairemont skatepark for November 3rd, 2012. An end-of-the-year contest was greatly needed for girls, severed with very few venues in 2012.

God only knows what her next step will be: Amelia has understood that in skateboarding, the sky is the limit. What do you plan to do with Underexposed?
Amelia Brodka: It's going through the film festival circuit right now. So it'll be a while before we have a clear idea of what happens next. Do you have a plan for another documentary?
Amelia Brodka: yes. Have you been contacted by skate brands to realize clips or movies for them?
Amelia Brodka: yes.
Amelia Brodka at Tim Brauch. After breaking several her wrist(s). Now she's wearing wrist guards.
Or is it a cast, still? Photo Chris Zsarnay There have been very few contest for girls this year, why is it?
Amelia Brodka: There is a more clear idea of the amount of media interest and viewership people will get through a guys skate competition. Historically, men's skateboarding competitions have thrived in the media and in viewership. Companies and contest coordinators fear that it might be risky to spend money on female skate competitions because they are not sure of what kind of viewership and response they will receive. I think that it is time to stop looking at is as a risk and look at it as a longer-term investment and realize that female's skateboarding and viewer interest in it is certainly growing. Are contests the only way girls can promote themselves or are there other ways?
Amelia Brodka: No, it's just the most understandable and logically accessible way. Skateboarders, male or female, can also push themselves to work their way up various sponsorship ladders by pushing to get media coverage. How did you feel when the Vans Classic Combi contest was put on hold and then rescheduled in January?
Amelia Brodka: It's a tough time and even big companies need to re-organize their budgets. Vans knows that the Combi Classic is a great event, but budgeting company spending tends to get tricky, especially toward the end of the year. The language of the original announcement implied that they were not certain whether the contest would happen or not. Initially, there was some confusion but it was corrected and all of the riders were contacted within 24 hours and told that it was only on hold because it was being rescheduled and not on hold because it was in danger of
Amelia Brodka: she knows the sky is the limit
being cancelled. When did Armando contact you about organizing EXPOSURE 2012 the contest and what did he say?
Amelia Brodka: Armando De La Libertad is a man not only committed to skateboarding, but also to philanthropy. He first met with me at the beginning of September to discuss the possibility of creating a contest together that would promote women's skateboarding and the scholarship fund he started for victims of domestic violence. I was excited about the idea and so EXPOSURE 2012 was born. Could he have done it without you?
Amelia Brodka: Absolutely! He has
Amelia Brodka at Memorial Skatepark. Photo Chris Zsarnay
coordinated many larger-scale contests himself. I'm a rookie to this whole thing, but I'm excited to have the opportunity to learn and to be involved. But the tie-in with the documentary has been helpful in drawing additional attention to the contest. Could you have done it without the resources he brought you?
Amelia Brodka: Maybe? His involvement is what set it all in motion though. It would have been much harder without him. How was it decided to use the Clairemont skatepark and not another skatepark closer to L.A.?
Amelia Brodka: Why does it have to be closer to L.A? Are there vert ramps
in L.A.? Clairemont is a great park with great, supportive staff. They have a fun, well-maintained vert ramp as well as a fun bowl. And San Diego is awesome... Did you talk with other skateparks to try to pick up another location?
Amelia Brodka: No reason to.

isTia.Tv: Do you need a lot of money to set-up a contest like this?
Amelia Brodka: Yes.

isTia.Tv Are there gonna be prize money for the winners?
Amelia Brodka: Yes. What’s the program of the day?
Amelia Brodka: There are going to be clinics and lessons in the 9-11AM taught by Austin Poynter, Mandy Esch and a few others followed by a string of competitions: AM bowl, PRO bowl, AM Vert, PRO vert and then a "first to 540" jam/race. During the day attendees can check out vendor booths and awesome Bull Taco tacos. Who’s gonna help you organize the event?
Amelia Brodka: I'm generating a team of wonderful volunteers lead by Barb Odanaka and Brenda Chapman. There are many generous souls who have offered their help so far!!! Who are the sponsors?
Amelia Brodka: So far our sponsors include Wells Fargo, The Living Free Foundation, Silly Girl, Bull Taco, 187 Killer Pads, and Hoopla... You have made remarkable documentaries, very well done and creative on the Tim Brauch, Rocky Mountain but Thrasher, Transworld, Hellaclips and other skate websites don’t pick up your videos. It is because they are not interested in girls, or because they are not interested in bowl riding?
Amelia Brodka: Skateboarding is not about contests. Thrasher, Transworld, etc. don't care about contests so why should they promote our contest recaps? Besides, they weren't made by me, they were made by Brian Lynch.

isTia.Tv: Are you trying to excuse Thrasher, Transworld and the others because they don't report girl skateboarding or bowl skateboarding?
Amelia Brodka: Magazines are as much a business as any company in skateboarding. A majority of their readers relate more to street skating than tranny skating because street might be all the have access to. It's strange to think about if you're from southern california but most parts of the country/world aren't as blessed with skateparks as we are. Maybe the type of coverage will change as the number of skateparks and bowls increase. It's not who is important and who isn't important, it's "how can we reach the largest number of readers"? No one is trying to push a sector of skateboarding out, Burnett, the editor of Thrasher loves skating tranny himself. And I'm pretty sure I saw Pedro and Kowalski in the last issue of Thrasher... If you want to see more tranny coverage, check out the new Defect Mag for iphone and ipad, or if you want a print magazine, grab a copy of The Skateboarder's Journal. The Skateboard Mag is pretty good too! Street skating is becoming bigger, the contests are huge venues and the prize money for those contestsare much bigger than bowl contests. Is bowl riding professionally viable or is it just something for real hard-core skaters? Will bowl riding really pick up one day?
Amelia Brodka: Street is more relatable to the average person who buys skate apparel and product. Therefore, a lot more money is made off of marketing/promoting street style skating because more people do it/have access to it. So it's only logical that there is more money to be made in skating street because more money is spent by the overall population of street skaters...

Exposure 2012 will take place on November 3rd, 2012 at the YMCA Clairemont skatepark, 3401 Clairemont drive, San Diego California.
If you want to participate at the contest (you need to pre-register but girls only), sponsor it or help in any way, email or

Thanks Amelia.

I also asked Armando De La Libertad (the contest "co-organizer") how much does it cost to organize Exposure 2012. Here is his answer:

As for cost, it seems to me great contests can range in price quite a bit. Heidi Lemmon and her crew have shown us that an entire series, the O.G. Jam, can be very successful with almost everything being donated. And I worked with Seth Elson and many others to produce The Slam, which was also very successful, but required tens of thousands of dollars to be raised from generous donors. For EXPOSURE 2012, we've raised the bar pretty high for our volunteer committee--the 'Good Souls' as Amelia refers to them--because we want to cover event expenses, raise money for charity, AND offer a prize purse. There's no doubt we'll accomplish our goal. Sponsorships are pouring in. Every dollar raised beyond our expenses will be split, 50-50, between the charity and the prize purse. Any help in getting the word out is appreciated.

So, any help, you know who to contact...

All pictures by Chris Zsarnay, Used by permission. Thanks Chris...
Underexposed: a documentary film by Amelia Brodka, Co-produced by Brian Lynch. Music: "Clubbin" by Ella Riot. Skaters: (in order of appearance) Amelia Brodka, Nora Vasconcellos, Allysha Bergado, Leticia Bufoni, Julz Lynn, Alexis Sablone, Gaby Ponce, CB Burnside, Lyn-Z Adams-Hawkins, Lizzie Armanto, Eliana Sosco, Jen O'Brien.

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