Erica Jacobs: How She Opened the Skateboarding World to Anyone & Everyone
Erica Jacobs – Founder of 100% Skate Club
Jacobs has been apart of the skating world for 20+ years. Entering the skating community she noticed the imbalance in representation. Since the beginning, Jacobs’ goal has been to make the environment more inclusive and welcoming, so she founded 100% Skate Club.
100% Skate Club is a place for women, girls, trans and non-binary skaters. The club is committed to creating a safe skate space for Black, Indigenous, People of color, LGBTQ2+ and people with disabilities.
When did you start skating?
I picked up a skateboard at 20 years old, it was a hand-me-down skateboard from a friend. It was springtime and I just finished a season of snowboarding. I felt learning to skateboard would help keep my snowboard skills sharp while in the offseason, so I canceled my vehicle insurance and started skateboarding to work every day. My goal was to live as close to the largest skateboard park in North America, so I rented an apartment 3 blocks from Millennium Skatepark, it became my local hangout.
Do you have someone that inspired your skating style?
My friends were influential in deciding where and what we skated. Everyone liked different features at the park, but the main hangout was the Clover Bowl. We rolled there with music and skate fuel and sessioned the Clover bowl for hours. At the Clover Bowl, I learned to slash coping, find fast lines, and air in between the transitions. My skate style developed from skills that I could later translate onto the snow, so I liked to grab my board, touch the concrete, and go fast.
Is there a trick or style of skating that you are still working to achieve?
Now that I’m in my 40’s I continuously work to maintain my bag-of-tricks, which are the signature tricks that I can do at almost any session. I now skate within my ability level, in my 20’s my goal was to learn a new trick every time I skated. My focus has shifted many times in my 20+ years of skating, my main goal now when skating is to create an inclusive safe space for women and non-binary people to feel welcome at the skatepark.
Has the skating community welcomed you and other women skaters with open arms? Were there any skeptics? If so, how did you handle that?
From the day I started 100% Skate Club the men that I knew and skated with for years were supportive. They would see me weekly hosting sessions at Millennium park building up the community. Many commented they were happy to see more female riders.
There has only been one skeptic I can think of, someone who commented on our Facebook post, he said something like “skateboarding is not a team sport”. In his own uncertainties, he felt we were taking over or taking up too much space. Thankfully, it was easy for me to handle as I thought his crappy attitude is the reason why skaters have had a bad rap, and just because he’s a salty prick doesn’t mean that he gets to scare us away from showing up as a supportive group. I used his comment as ammunition to push forward.
Do you have a favorite trick? If so, how long did it take you to learn?
My fav trick is the invert. To me, it is super fun, because I feel like I am doing a one-handed cartwheel on my skateboard. It’s taking me years to learn it and I am still working on perfecting it.
When you just can’t nail a trick or skill, how do you deal with that frustration?
Not being able to do a certain trick you are working really hard on can certainly be trying, I usually don’t get hung up on it. There are thousands of skateboard tricks to choose from, if you can’t do one, there is always another trick you can do. Plus skateboarding is so creative that you can make up a trick, that no one is doing and bam you now have your own unique trick! And that is super rad!
To learn more about the #HerForShe movement to empower women by Hershey International, click here!