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Colleen Boyd Turner was among the most prominent female skaters of the 1960s, forming the first-ever all-girls team—La Femme Skateboard Team of Pacific Palisades—with Suzie Rowland and Donna Cash. Colleen was notable for winning first place in the flatland slalom event at the 1965 International Skateboarding Championships in Anaheim, scoring an appearance on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and in the pages of Skateboarder Magazine in the process. She also introduced tricks such as the one-footed tail wheelie and the inverted frog stand with her legs over her arms.
Seventy years ago, Colleen was born in Los Angeles and raised in Pacific Palisades, California. She started skating as a 5-year-old when her older brother Greg plunked her down on a homemade 2×4 with steel roller skate wheels and pushed her down their driveway. By 1963, Colleen had made her first skateboard, a rectangular wooden job with cool stringers and an old pair of indoor roller skate wheels hammered on.
Starting in 1964, Colleen was sponsored by La Femme (a women’s clothing store) followed by the Hobie Super Surfer Skateboard Team, remaining “pro” until 1966. She mainly skated on sidewalks, driveways, streets, city parks, drainage ditches and on any school or other embankments she could sneak onto. Colleen mostly did 360s, handstands, drops off curbs and loading docks, plus various other tricks, like switch ends, nose wheelies and high jumps. She always considered her skateboard as a useful means of transportation.
Her favorite skateboarding activities were hanging out with friends on Saturday mornings skating everywhere they could think of, joining in with the Palisades Skateboard Team at Palisades High, racing the boys down the Palisades High School driveway and winning—sometimes, and surviving the slopes of the Paul Revere and especially Bellagio schools’ embankments.
Some highlights were winning the slalom event at the 1965 Anaheim contest, being on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and getting free skateboards, jackets, and a surfboard. She found traveling around Southern California with the Hobie Team doing demos at shopping centers with the likes of Cris Dawson, Suzie Rowland, Wendy Bearer, and Ray Flores a fascinating introduction to the business of skateboarding. In 2015, Colleen appeared in Skateboarding’s First Wave, a documentary covering skateboarding’s early days in Southern California in the 1960s.
In her spare time, Colleen enjoys body surfing and boogie boarding, learning Spanish, writing articles, exploring synchronicities and spiritual experiences, communication best practices (noting that the term “face plant” is recognized as the same in any sport), swimming in the ocean or pool with her two grandkids, and family get-togethers. She gives skateboarding credit for giving her the courage to join the Air Force. In fact, she is a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve officer (Lieutenant Colonel), a retired Communications Analyst for the VA Office of Inspector General, communications management consultant / sole proprietor for C. Turner, earned a PhD in Social Welfare, and a volunteer in support of veterans’ mental health and deported veterans. She has also just been inducted into the CIF Los Angeles Hall of Fame for her accomplishments in volleyball – UCLA retired jersey.
After not skateboarding for nearly 40 years, Colleen climbed on board again in 2014 for the Skateboarding’s First Wave reunion, and on Go Skateboarding Day in 2021. Inspired by that, she is working on her senior citizen comeback, complete with a new team: the Over the Hillers (but not underground yet); hopefully sponsored by: Band-Aid, Ben Gay, Centrum Silver, and of course, Depends.