Terry Lawrence was one of the most hard-charging female vert skaters of the late 1970s and early-’80s. Born on July 2, 1962 in Long Beach, California, Terry started skateboarding when she was eight on a neighbor’s Roller Derby with metal wheels. Her first skateboard was a metal deck with urethane wheels that her mom got her for Christmas. Terry turned pro in 1976 and was sponsored over the next few years by the likes of Powerflex (who gave her a signature model deck), Independent, Alva, Vans, and Pepsi. Terry skated freestyle at first, and then slalom because that’s what everyone was doing, ending up with a penchant for vertical. Although back then it was expected for a pro to be well-rounded, 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 their 1979 poll. Terry skated in a movie called Blaze On, for which she was also interviewed, and appeared on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, winning the Free Former World Professional contest. Terry placed first in numerous other contests, as well, including a Paramount Skatepark Contest, the Hester Series stop at the Big O in 1978, a Winchester contest 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. She also fondly recalls sneaking onto a military base at the San Onofre nuclear power plant to session some concrete full pipes nicknamed Nukeland, going to plenty of skateparks and riding different terrain, and sneaking into backyard pools during droughts. Being a female rider for Tony Alva also figures in prominently. (“That was really significant for me, to ride for someone with so much notoriety was a big deal.”) Terry mostly skated with Steve Olson, Bobby Valdez, and Darrell Miller. Today, Terry has transitioned from female to male, and enjoys celebrating his Native American culture by hand crafting items like beadwork and drums. He also likes to watch his son Isaiah ride his skateboard, scooter and BMX bike, as well as camping, fishing, and hiking. Terry sends a shout out to his sister, Kim Araujo, who took him to all of the skateparks because he couldn’t drive. His parents, Pat and Richard Lawrence, for giving Terry a lot of freedom. His son, Isaiah, who continues to be an inspiration in every way. His wife, Jacqueline, who has always supported Terry all these years and has always been interested in his time as a skateboarder. Today, Terry works as a Longshoreman at the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro, California.
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