Healthy Combi-tition

The 2019 Vans Women's Combi Pool Party was 🔥🔥🔥

A few years ago I went with my grandmother to a luncheon in Kansas City with four of her pals from elementary school. All the women were in their late 80s and had kept in contact with each other since their childhood in Boonville Missouri, which we had toured a few days before.

While in that quiet town on the banks of the Missouri River, I got to see the two story house my grandma grew up in and the sidewalks in front where she hung out with this heavy octogenarian crew. After we ate, one of her friends leaned in and said, “Do you know what a great roller skater your grandma was?” No I did not! She had never mentioned anything to me about roller skates.


“I would just be rolling around on my skates and here comes Barbara, just flying down a whole set of stairs!”


I looked at my grandma for validation and she shrugged and said


“Weeeeeeeeeee!!! Weeeeeeeeeee!!! Weeeeeeeeeee!!!” It will be on repeat in my head forever. It’s a perfect reflection of her joyous perspective on life. I could picture her clearly as a little girl jumping down those steps with the feeling of delight that cannot be obtained by anything but challenging balance vs. gravity.

At this contest I thought a lot about my grandma and how infinitely stoked she would have been if she got to see was going down. She’s always been really into women’s sports. Nowadays she organizes viewing parties of televised SOU women’s basketball games at a local pizza joint. It’s so cute; just 4 or 5 women in their 90s chillin, eating ‘za and just ballin’ out.


The last time I went to the Pool Party was 2006. It was a different colored horse back then, with both guys and gals divisions. Cara-Beth Burnside, Mimi Knoop and the rest of the OG girl gang showed up and killed it of course, but today’s all-female pool party is another story. With the help of that older generation, today’s tranny nanny skate scene is Beyonce-level slaying.

With 25Gs on the line for first, the competition could have gotten gnarly, but posi-vibez filled the room. Lizzie Armanto was quiet on the deck, showing Hawk-like focus on executing the near-perfect run that ended up earning her the big check. Ten year old Cocona Hiraki of Japan was a crowd favorite, trying & pulling blunt slides in the shallow that had people whooping it up. I really liked Gabrielle Brownfield’s style, she was doing super sick eggplants in the deep. Everyone’s favorite little Tim Tam, Poppy Starr Olsen was blasting huge airs, maybe not even skating to her full potential but still coming in at a very admirable 5th place. Poppy rips.


A great moment was when last year’s champ Nicole Hause rolled in, fashionably late to the party because she didn’t have to qualify. She was rocking rad checkered party pants that were a huge hit, and was just blasting gigantic airs. Fucking classy shit. She was doing just what last year’s champ should; showcasing her skill for the crowd. Not necessarily skating to win but to dazzle, and dazzle she did.


Everyone killed it. Our Alex 4 Olympics campaign launch was a huge success. Personally, the most encouraging thing I noticed was that joy among the skaters. Skateboarding is fun. The chicks are legit. The scene is killer. Everyone is super cool & feeling the spirit. “Weeeeeeeeeee!!!”

Check out Thrasher’s video of the event and the final results
BONUS CONTENT! Here is my grandma at the Eugene OR Skatepark, posing for a picture (oops! video!) to surprise me with. She borrowed that dude's board for the shot. The "Poser of the Month" trophy can now be officially retired, nobody can front on this.