After women like Laurie Turner, Wendy Bearer, and Patti McGee put cracks into skateboarding’s male dominated facade during the 1960s, a second wave of female skateboarders continued to fight gender stereotypes during the ’70s. Perhaps gaining the most exposure among them was freestyler Ellen Oneal, who, while riding for G&S from 1976 through ’80—appeared not only in the movie Skateboard as Jenny Bradshaw with Leif Garrett and Tony Alva, but also inspired fellow girl skateboarders with a cameo in the “The Skateboard Whiz” episode of Wonder Woman. Born and raised in San Diego, Ellen had only been skating for a single year before she was sponsored by Gordon & Smith, Bennett Trucks, and Vans, then added Kryptonics Wheels and Hang Ten Apparel the following year.
She placed third in women’s freestyle behind Ellen Berryman and Laura Thornhill at the ’76 California Free Former Skateboard World Championships in Long Beach and returned the following year to edge out Laura for second (still behind Ellen Berryman). With her long blonde hair and short shorts, Ellen’s photos from Skateboarder magazine are also some of the most iconic girl skater photos ever shot, and in 2012, Complex magazine named her number four in their “Sexiest Female Skateboarders” list. In the 2004 book, The Legacy of Warren Bolster, Warren himself commented on Ellen: “She invented her own variations on many maneuvers and added grace, style, and composure to the circuit.”
Sadly Ellen passed away unexpectedly in October of 2020.