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Born in Inglewood, California in 1959, slalom icon Deanna Calkins started skating just two months before she graduated from South High School in Torrance in 1977. Soon after, she discovered the slalom course at Skateboard World in Torrance, which came to her naturally. Employing a parallel ski stance, Deanna was beating everyone on the slalom course at the park within three weeks—and on borrowed equipment, no less! Around that time, Mattel’s Magnum skateboard team was having a photo session at Skateboard World and, after watching Deanna skate, asked her if she would like to join their team! The next day, she walked out of Mattel’s offices with a huge bag of Magnum skateboards.
After turning pro at the Catalina Classic in November 1977, Deanna scored first place in slalom, earning an interview on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, which helped her get sponsored by such big name brands as Hobie, ACS, Vans, Rector and Hang Ten. She skated professionally from 1977 thru 1982, enjoying the challenge and freedom of excelling in such disciplines as downhill slalom, giant slalom, tight slalom, freestyle, skateparks, pools, half pipes and high jump. Throughout the second half of the ’70s, Deanna earned a whole clutch of coverage, including an interview in the February 1978 issue of Wild World of Skateboarding, and several ACS ads. She also appeared in the La Costa segment of the movie Skateboard Kings, a Women in Sports documentary on the BBC, and the Challenge of the Sexes on CBS, racing against Steve Olson at the Runway skatepark. She also appeared in commercials for 7-Up and JC Penny, as well as Santori soda pop and Arnold Palmer Sports Wear in Japan. Traveling skateboard shows she skated in included Skateboard Mania, Skateboard Expo, and Hobie demos through the Midwest
Deanna lists her career highlights as winning the Catalina Classic, meeting Sally Anne Miller and having her as a mentor, filming the 7-Up commercial up in San Francisco with Ellen Oneal and Dennis Martinez and buying a house when at age 18 years with the earnings, flying to Mexico City to open up that country’s first skateboard park, being part of the cast of Skateboard Mania, filming Challenge of the Sexes, and being on a bubble gum card! Deanna mostly skated with Laura Thornhill, Kathy Bomeisler, Vicki Vickers, Tony Jetton, Ellen Berryman, Ellen Oneal, Robin Logan, Cindy Whitehead, Dennis Shufeldt, and the whole crew at Skateboard World in Torrance. She occasionally still skates a little bit, mostly cruising on sidewalks. She started playing golf about 25 years ago, and loves being outdoors and challenging herself. Since the mid-’80s, Deanna has been a full time realtor, helping people buy and sell their homes.