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Terry Lawrence, (formerly she/her, now he/him) was one of the most hard-charging female vert skaters of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Born in July 1962 in Long Beach, California, Terry started skateboarding at the age of eight on a neighbor’s Roller Derby with metal wheels. Terry’s first skateboard was a metal deck with urethane wheels, a Christmas gift from Mom. Turning pro in 1976, Terry was soon sponsored by the likes of Powerflex (who created Terry’s signature model deck), Independent, Alva, Vans, and Pepsi. Skating freestyle at first,then dabbling in slalom (because that’s what everyone was doing), Terry discovered a penchant for vertical. In those days, pros were expected to be well-rounded, however Terry’s primary interest remained pools, ramps, and anything vertical.
Honored with a Who’s Hot! in the June 1976 issue of Skateboarder, Terry was also voted the most improved female skater of 1978 in the magazine’s 1979 poll. Terry’s skating was featured in the 1977 documentary Blaze On, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and more recently as a guest on Jeff Grosso’s Van’s Loveletters to Skateboarding, and the online magazine Skateism to name a few. Terry placed first in numerous other contests including the Paramount Skatepark Contest, the Hester Series stop at the Big O in 1978, Winchester in 1978, the Dog Bowl Pro at Marina in 1979 and the Lakewood World Pro Halfpipe Contest in 1979.
Terry’s career highlights include flying out to San Antonio, Texas to open a new skatepark, and to Nebraska to demo on a ramp at the opening of a new shopping mall.
Some of Terry’s fond memories include sneaking onto a military base near the San Onofre nuclear power plant to session some concrete full pipes nicknamed Nukeland, going to plenty of skateparks, riding different terrains, and sneaking into backyard pools during droughts.
Being a groundbreaking female rider for Tony Alva also figures prominently as a highlight of Terry’s pro career.”That was really significant for me”, Terry recalls, “to ride for someone with so much notoriety. It was a big deal.” Terry mostly skated with Steve Olson, Bobby Valdez, and Darrell Miller back then.
Today, Terry has transitioned from female to male and goes by the pronouns he, him, and his. He recently appeared in Van’s Loveletters to Skateboarding in which he had the opportunity to spotlight the LGBTQ skateboarding community and to dispel stereotypes.
He enjoys celebrating his Native American heritage and culture by hand crafting items like beadwork and drums. He also likes watching son Isaiah ride skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes. Terry’s family life also finds him loving the outdoors while camping, fishing, and hiking.
Terry sends shout outs to the people who’ve loved and supported him through his entire life and career: his sister, Kim Araujo, who took him to all of the skateparks because he couldn’t drive; his parents, Pat and Richard Lawrence, for allowing plenty of freedom; his son, Isaiah, who continues to be an inspiration in every way; and his wife, Jacqueline, whose love and support mean everything.
Terry received a BA in Liberal Arts from Antioch University, works as a Longshoreman around Los Angeles, and recently celebrated 32 years of sobriety.