ABOVE: Planting eggs on center stage at the Vans Girls Combi Pool Classic 2019 📸 Migzy
We first spotted Gabrielle Rataiczak at the 2019 Combi contest in Anaheim when BIGFOOT was just a bastard newborn. We were pretty engrossed in door knocking for the “Alex for Olympic Commentator” campaign, but when Gabby started ripping up the Combi with her classic style and one of the greatest inverts in the game, we stopped and paid attention. Free of the restrictive limitations of space and time, she could have been competing for the gold on the vert ramp at Slam City Jam in 2002 alongside female legends like Jodi McDonald, Cara-Beth Burnside and Jen O’Brien.
Currently, Gabby is surviving the pandemic in rural Ohio with her husband Nic, brightening up snowy days by creating (and selling!) her vibrant paintings, and like us all, wondering when this bullshit pandemic is going to end. Being a skateboarder in the midwest takes a lot of dedication; Gabby travels many hours to skate spots in surrounding areas and works hard to keep the female/non-trad skate scene out there thriving by organizing skate events and meet-ups in non-pandemic times.
It’s interesting to reflect on what draws us, as individuals, to skateboarding. Lots of kids find like-minded buddies on the block and dive in as a group. But for many, especially the more isolated, the discovery of skateboarding comes via research. Gabby credits her old-school maneuvers to videos like Powell-Peralta’s Future Primitive and Ban This. She also has a unique appreciation for her female vert/pool skating predecessors, like the aforementioned and BIGFOOT’s super star tax lady/Arizona pool legend Cressey Rice! For a young girl from Ohio to know of, acknowledge, and have the tenacity to follow in the footsteps of vert’s under-appreciated foremothers is super special & unique. She’s just out there in the midwest, blazing her own new trail by continuing the legacy of those who came before. Can’t wait until we can all run free once again, and Gabby can continue showing the world how to be rad. -Migz