Laura Thornhill - 2013 Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductee

Laura Thornhill – 2013

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Recruited to Logan Earth Ski by Danny Bearer at age 13 after winning first place in slalom and freestyle at a Steve’s South Bay contest in 1975, Laura Thornhill went on to become the second female skater ever to get her own signature model skateboard. After being taken under the wing of Warren Bolster, she also became the first girl to get a Who’s Hot in Skateboarder, eventually the first girl to get a full-feature interview in the magazine, and also the first and only female centerspread. Having moved to Redondo Beach from Texas in ’74, Laura arrived right as the urethane wheel was kicking off a whole new boom. Throughout the ’70s, Laura won or placed in nearly every women’s competition organized, and sometimes even competed against and beat the boys.

Footage of her long, flowing hair while doing 360s is almost mandatory in any documentary from the period. Outside of contests, Laura was one of a few of the only girls charging all terrains—fearless in backyard pools, vertical parks, and full pipes, she held her own with the best and probably intimidated the rest. Laura would also be credited with discovering a nine-year-old Eric Dressen while skating a pool in Torrance and helping him get his first board sponsor through Logan Earth Ski along with his own now historic Who’s Hot at the age of 10. Having married in 1987, Laura continues to remain active in the world of skateboarding and has imparted some of her incredible skill to her son, Sage, and daughter, Kylie.

Laura Thornhill

Skier, surfer, and tennis player, Laura Thornhill turned to skateboarding because it looked like fun. She is one of the youngest, most dynamic of the women skaters, and her very individual style combines control with difficult maneuvers and the grace which is characteristic of many of the women skaters. Freestyle skating is her specialty, and she works hard on perfecting each new trick that she tries. She has also competed successfully in slalom and done a good deal of pool riding and loves the rush of running up the side of a pool. She rides for the Makaha/Logan Earth Ski Team and uses their kick tail board for most of her freestyle work because she feels it gives her the control she needs. “When I slalom,” she says, “I prefer more flex in my board, but for my freestyle I prefer the control of the wood board.” Laura feels that there is a big future for skateboarding. “In the first place,” she says, “skateboarding is undeniably a lot of fun. Also, the competitions are getting better, and if people become safety-conscious, there won’t be the danger of it getting banned the way it was before. It would be difficult to ban it now, because everybody’s doing it, but if kids skate with proper protective clothing and don’t skate in traffic, skateboarding will go a long way.”

Source: Laura Torbet, The Complete Book of Skateboarding (Funk and Wagnalls, 1976), p. 101

Laura Thornhill
Laura Thornhill