Action Sports’ Most Influential Women: Cara-Beth Burnside, Professional Snowboarder/Skateboarder

At the top of the list of things synonymous with “girl power” stands the name Cara-Beth Burnside. If you’re unfamiliar with this power-house force in the female skateboarding world, it’s time to get familiar.

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Born with an innate love for skateboarding, the sport has always been her main passion in life, however, when opportunities were limited for girls to get involved in the sport, she saw an opportunity in snowboarding and worked hard to pursue a very successful professional career in that sport.

While she continued to snowboard she never stopped skating and through the exposure she got as a professional snowboarder she was able to gain exposure as a skateboarder as well, “All the exposure opportunities I had with snowboarding usually crossed over with my skating,” says Cara-Beth. “I took my skateboard with me on all my snow travels and adventures and most of the time found places to skate. I would get pictures of me skating all the time in snowboard magazines especially with the foreign magazines.”

As her career developed she was able to focus more on her skateboarding as a profession which resulted in myriad accolades including a signature skate shoe for Vans, her own character in the Tony Hawk RIDE video game, a gold medal from the Summer X games to add to her gold medal from snowboarding in Winter X,and most importantly the creation of Hoopla Skateboards with Mimi Knoop and Skate One. “Hoolpla is a skateboard brand that helps support girls in skating,” explains Cara-Beth. “We have a team of nine girls now and we are still growing and expanding worldwide. I also helped cofound the Alliance, a non-profit organization of professional female skaters, with Mimi Knoop and Drew Mearns. We made great changes at X Games with prize purse parity for men and women at all X events. This helped better not only girl’s skateboarding, but all X Games events including motoX, snowboarding, skiing, et cetera.”

As much as Cara-Beth has established herself as a successful professional skateboarder, she shines light on the fact that there are still more barriers than doors in the way for women trying to make it big in the skate industry despite the fact that female participation is up and ability level continues to rise. With high hopes for the future of females in the sport of skateboarding Cara-Beth adds, “It is only going to help the skate industry to support girls because they bring a whole new market and interest to the plate. Girls love to spend money on things they love to do so it only makes sense from a business standpoint to support the girls. So who is going to be the first company to really open that door?”

That sounds like a challenge to me…