With skateboarding cementing its roots in urban culture thanks to stars like Lil Wayne, the sport continues to defy racial barriers, unifying athletes and enthusiasts from around the world. In recent years, skaters of color have gained international acclaim for their masterful shredding — Nyjah Huston, Terry Kennedy and Ishod Wair, to name a few — but the world of top pro skaters can still feel like an all-boys club. But that’s likely about to change.
Hailing from Riverside, Calif., Samarria Brevard was introduced to skateboarding as a youngster through her brother and a close friend. Now the 21-year-old is carving a name for herself in the big leagues, winning the Kimberly Diamond Cup Women’s Street Championship in South Africa earlier this month. BET.com caught up with the pro rider via e-mail for her take on breaking barriers, pursuing her dreams and hanging tough with the guys.
BET.com: What does it mean for you not only to be the first African-American to podium at the Kimberly Diamond Cup, but to win as well?
Samarria Brevard: Winning the Kimberley Diamond Cup for me was definitely a confidence booster, as well as a door opener. It means that I can keep skating with the best of them in women's skateboarding and be a part of the progression for women's skateboarding.
What challenges do you think women face in the world of professional skating?
I think there are a lot of challenges when it comes to being a female professional skateboarder, but that's pretty much the same with anything you do. Its all about accepting the challenge and conquering it. [One ] big challenge in women's skateboarding would be that it’s not the most profitable profession...yet.
You’re known for frequenting local skate parks in your hometown of Riverside and Los Angeles. What gives you confidence to be able to skate alongside the guys?
I have always skated with the guys, so I've never felt intimidated by them. I also think that because of my skating ability, the guys respect me enough to know that I just came to skate, just like them.
Action sports have become increasingly more diverse over the years, with more stars of color stepping into the spotlight. Why do you think makes the sport so attractive to people around the world?
I think that pro skating is so diverse because anybody can skate if they want to. People are buying skateboards and spending a lot of time trying to learn how to ride them. If you spend enough time doing anything, you can become a pro at it.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a pro skater?
Definitely the traveling. I'm traveling a lot more now and [I’m] meeting new people who love skating just as much as I do. It’s really cool meeting people who grew up differently from you but still have this common interest that brings you together like a family.
(Photo: Courtesy of Sam Clark)
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
I hope to inspire a lot more females to skate because skateboarding is really a lot of fun. I also hope to learn a lot of new tricks and drop rad video parts for people to enjoy.
What’s something about the world of pro skating that people don’t know, but should?
Pro skaters are just a bunch of goofballs trying to have fun and skate!
What’s your advice to young female skaters who want to go pro?
My advice to any female trying to get in to professional skateboarding would be to put in work. You should be skating every day and putting out proof of your skating ability with pictures and videos to show the world how awesome you are.
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(Photo: Courtesy of theBoardr.com)
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