The History of Girl Skateboards - How it started, the name, the logo, the videos, and much much more.
14 Things You Didn't Know About Girl Skateboards
In this article, we'll visit the 4 friends that founded Girl, how they got their name and logo, the videos, the team, and much much more.
RICK & MIKE:
Mike Carroll: Mike gets into skating cause of his older brother Greg and ends up going pro for H-Street Skateboards. Ternasky leaves H-Street to start Plan B Skateboards. Mike goes to Woodward with Danny Way and Mike Ternasky, they add star-studded Plan B team. He goes pro for Vans and even gets a signature Mike Carroll Vans shoe.
Rick Howard: Moves to California from Vancouver. Starts his career with Blockhead, later moves to Plan B where he becomes close with Mike Carroll. He ends up riding for DC as well. Both guys end up riding for Plan B and becoming good friends.
Danny Way, Rick & Mike after skating at Powell Peralta skatepark end up chilling in a hot tub. They talk about being bummed on all the skate careers being so short and pros being replaceable. Rick and Mike call up Danny later, he says he was just venting and isn't interested in leaving Plan B. The idea stays on Rick and Mike's minds going forwards. Mike Carroll is only 17 yrs old at the time.
Mike Carroll & Rick Howard were both riding for Plan B (under the World Industries Umbrella) and had talked of doing their own thing (a little before Plan B Virtual Reality was edited).
They were upset at how short pro skate careers were becoming as new riders replaced people, and wanted to do their own thing focusing on fun.
Rick brought it up as a conversation among their friends Megan Baltimore and Spike Jonze at a party (who were roommates that both worked at World Industries skateboards at the time), and they both wanted to be involved, the seed was planted.
Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, Megan Baltimore, Spike Jonze wanted to start a company based around the idea of having fun and not taking themselves too seriously.
Girl Skateboards started in August 1993. The brand originally shared distribution with ExtraLarge, which was one of the first-ever streetwear brands.
Fun fact: The first-ever girl team manager was Peter Sullivan who went on to start Supra distribution in Canada.
At the start, the company was kept secret to stop the wrath of Steve Rocco (owner of World Industries). They wanted to keep the brand secret to keep him from trying to stop it from happening. Plan B was under the World Industries umbrella. When they started everyone at World Industries camp was really pissed off.
With this the World Industries guys black-listed them from woodshops and distributors, threatening them with legal action and telling woodshops if they made Girl Skateboards, that World would stop ordering from them.
World Industries even starts Bitch skateboards, an obvious attack on Girl Skateboards. The boards launched attacking all of the Girl riders, Rick said it struck a nerve when they attacked Meaghan. Interestingly the brand Bitch got sold off and is still around in Japan.
To launch the brand they went on a huge Plan B trip, where everyone who is about to quit and ride for Girl is wearing Girl shirts on the tour. It was a powerful marketing move and had lots of kids talking about Girl and what exactly it was.
At the Back To The City Contest Mike Ternasky (founder of Plan B) was the first person they told they were leaving, Carroll said Ternasky was cool with it, but when Rocco found out, he exploded. He called all the companies he could to block them from using woodshops and distributers. The woodshop making the first run of Girl boards bailed on them midway through and wouldn’t make any decks.
At the end of the day, shops were stoked and that’s what mattered. The boards were selling extremely well and orders were coming in fast. Mike Carroll also mentioned in an. interview that Fausto Vitello (Founder of Thrasher Magazine) was always super supportive, and let them know he had their back.
Girl left on their first tour and Chico was left behind cause there was no room for him. They literally drove off while he sat there with packed bags. They decided to start Chocolate Skateboards in April of 1994 (under the Girl umbrella) to make room for more friends who wanted to join the brand. They added all their friends that didn’t fit on the crowded team at Girl.
The original Chocolate skateboards team was Keenan Milton, Chico Brenes, Daniel Castillo, Paulo Diaz, Richard Mulder, Shamil Randle, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Ben Sanchez.
Other notable Chocolate riders over the years included Mike York, Marc Johnson, Jerry Hsu, Gino? (was he OG), Justin Eldrige, Stevie Williams, Scott Johnson, Anthony Pappalardo, Elijah Berle, Vincent Alvarez, Kenny Anderson, and Chris Roberts.
FUN FACT: Kareem Cambell and Shiloh Greathouse were supposed to be on the original team, but everyone wasn’t seeing eye to eye so it didn't work out.
Over the years the team has been a Hall of Fame in the skateboard world.
The original Girl skateboards team was: Mike Carrol, Rick Howard, Jovontae Turner, Sean Sheffey, Tony Ferguson, Jeron Wilson, Rudy Johnson, Eric Koston, Guy Mariano. (Tim Gavin wasn’t on but got on a little later on tour) (info from Route One part One).
Other notables & Ex-Girlfriends:
Brandon Biebel: While filming for Modus Operandi with Ty Evans, Carroll & Howard make friends with Biebel and add him to Lakai & Girl. He goes pro in 2002 and releases a standout part in Girl 'Yeah Right' a year later.
Jereme Rogers: Jereme is added as a young kid from Boston riding for Coliseum skateshop. After getting the first part in PJ Ladd's Wonderful Horrible Life video, he's officially added to the AM squad. He comes out to California at age 15 to stay with Mike Carroll and couch surf, he never returns home.
In 2005 he goes pro for Girl & wins Transworld Skateboarding's Rookie of the Year award.
He leaves on bad terms and is complaining he’s not getting proper royalties. This can be taken with a grain of salt because at this time he also ends up on TMZ on the roof of his house on drugs claiming he's talking to god. In 2009 he retires from skateboarding to pursue his rap career, says he walked away from over $66k/month.
Paul Rodriguez: Paul is born to a famous comedian Paul Rodriguez Sr. He drops out of high school and his dad gives him his blessing, saying he did the same thing to pursue his film and comedy career.
When he burst onto the skate scene he was riding for City Stars, they even had a pro board in the works, but he jumped ship and joined Girl. Girl gave him his first pro model board in 2002, after ruling the skateboard world, a standout part in TWS In Bloom, and exorbitant amounts of magazine coverage.
Fun Fact: Anthony Pappalardo said he tried to get Joe Castrucci to put Paul on Alien Workshop, but it never materialized.
Paul has a standout part in the Girl Yeah Right video in 2003. P-Rod ends up leaving to join the re-launch at Plan B skateboards, rumours were that there were some really big contracts being thrown around, he may have even got a small percentage of ownership in the company at the time.
Cory Kennedy: After standout parts in local Seattle videos and blowing up winning the Bang Yo Self contest at the Berrics he joins the Girl family. He gets a deal with Nike SB, and has parts in Pretty Sweet & Nike SB Chronicles.
Rick McCrank: Rick comes from Birdhouse to Plan B skateboards and ends up jumping ship to join Girl skateboards as well. He has a fan-favorite part in Girl Yeah Right, Es Menikmati, Es Especial, and many others. He still rides for Girl today and co-owns Anti Social Skateboard shop in Vancouver, BC.
Other notables team riders: Brian Anderson, Alex Olson, Mike Mo Capaldi, Sean Malto, Rick McCrank, Colin McKay, Robbie McKinley.
An original team rider and a massive part of the brand. You cant talk about Girl skateboards without mentioning Koston. Koston is a massive part of the Girl heritage. With a slew of magazine coverage and parts in Es Menikmati, Chomp On This, Girl Goldfish, Mouse, Yeah Right, and Nike SB Chronicles 3.
He is a character in the legendary Tony Hawk Pro Skater video games.
Fun Fact: Eric Koston is not his real name.
In November 2016, Eric Koston & Guy Mariano announce they are leaving Girl to start their own brand. Later that year they launch Numbers Skateboards, with the name being created off a conversation with Mark Gonzales.
Eric is co-founder of the Berrics with Steve Berra. He is also an investor in St. Archer brewery, Villager coconut water, and Ashland hard seltzer. He has also won almost every contest ever including Tampa Pro, Slam City Jam, Dew Tour, Van Doren Showdown, multiple X-Games, and Thrasher Skater Of The Year.
The name ‘Girl’ came from some long conversations between Mike & Rick. One of the original company name ideas was Muni, named after Muni in San Francisco. Andy Jenkins said the name Girl came from someone telling Rick Howard that he 'skates like a Girl', they thought it was funny and ran with it.
The Girl Skateboards logo was designed by Andy Jenkins who was the head of their art department (aka Art Dump) for many years.
Andy Jenkins was been the head of art direction in the Girl Umbrella for a very long time. Other notable Art Dump members include Geoff McFetridge, Evan Hecox, Andy Mueller, Kevin Lyons, and Hershel Baltrotsky. The Desert Twins, Tony Larson (Girl chair series), and Eric Anthony (EA Sports).
RICK HOWARD DAY:
In Vancouver, September 29th is officially Rick Howard Day. Bob Kronbauer, an artist who has worked for Girl in the past, is friends with the mayor of Vancouver, BC (Rick's old hometown).
Kronbauer got Sept 29th announced as Rick Howard Appreciation Day, as the mayor said "he was a positive ambassador to the City and Country" and awarded him with a plaque. The first Rick Howard Day lined up with a celebration of 20 Years of Girl celebration in Vancouver. Rick’s a modest guy and said it was all a little embarrassing.
Spike has been an integral part of creating Girl’s amazing brand identity. Spike began his career shooting BMX photos, he later became good friends with Gonz and started shooting photos of the Blind team. He eventually gets hired by Rocco to make a World Industries video. He gets handed a credit card and told to buy a camera, he makes Rubbish Heap for World as his first video, next he creates the legendary Blind Video Days.
In Video Days we get a glimpse into his love of skits and the video becomes a cult classic. Mark Gonzales gives a copy of video days to Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth at one of their shows. Gordon asks Spike to help direct one of their music videos and get skaters in it. Spike co-directs their video for the song 100% and the video features Blind skateboards rider Jason Lee (who later goes on to becomes a celebrated actor).
Spike goes on to do music videos for Weezer, Beastie Boys, Dinosaurs Jr, Bjork, Kanye West, Fatboy Slim, REM, Ludacris, JayZ, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, and many more. He also does commercials for Nike, Ikea, Levi’s Gap, Nissan & Apple.
He is also one of the creators of Jackass and gains critical acclaim for his films Being John Malkovich, Where the Wildthings Are, and his Oscar-winning film HER.
While his Hollywood career was taking off, he was also responsible for directing and creating many of the best scenes in Girl Films productions, because he had the contacts at these movie companies to do amazing skits and technical film productions like explosives or green screens.
GIRL FILMS INTERNATIONAL:
Girl has made some of the most iconic skateboard movies of all time. They also have possibly the biggest library of skateboard films of any skateboard company, they have made over 40 films under the Girl Films Umbrella. You can watch them all at girlskateboards.com/films
Girl Skateboards Videos:
-Harsh Euro Barge (2002)
-Yeah Right (2003)
-Yes We Canada (2006)
-See Habla Canuk Tour
-BadassMeets DumbAss (2007)
-Beauty & the Beast (2008)
-Pretty Sweet (2012) The highest-selling skateboard video of all time.
Over the years Girl’s brand has been established by their amazing video productions which is largely thanks to Spike Jones. Some of their more memorable movie skits include:
-throwing boards (Yeah Right)
-Skatetrix (Yeah Right)
-Green Screen boards (Yeah Right)
-Lakai explosions (Fully Flared)
-Skating through the forest
-Charlie Charpin Koston (Mouse)
-Carroll on Scooter (Mouse)
-Brothers from other mothers (Mouse)
Keenan Small (Mouse)
(pretty sweet) Special effects one take intro Willa Holland (OC/gossip girl)
As well as celebrity appearances from Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Will Arnett and others.
Over the years Girl has amassed a ton of amazing collaboration boards. Some of these include; Ian Ried, Sanrio x Hello Kitty (some of these were selling for lots of money on Ebay), Kodak, Sub Pop Records, RED, Sean Cliver, Drink Water, Thrasher, Marcel Dzam, Stef Mitchel, Spike Jonze photo series, Spitfire, Modern Chairs Series, Beastie Boys , Alife & Budweiser, Anti Hero, Jules De Balincourt, Beats By Dre, and many more.
Girl Skateboards headquarters features an office with a skatepark attached. They also release some pretty amazing interviews from the legendary Crail Couch in the office.
Modern Day Girl Skateboards:
In the early 2010s, the rise of small board companies came about and took out a lot of the big brand names. But Girl has been able to weather the storm and remain popular with a fantastic team and great new products.
Today Girl’s team is still stacked: Mike Carroll, Rick Howard, Sean Malto, Brandon Biebel, Mike Mo, Jeron Wilson, Rick McCrank, Cory Kennedy, Andrew Brophy.
With new faces. Breana Geering, Manchild, Griffin Gass, Simon Bannerot, Niels Bennet.
They have also recently launched their new Girl Pop Secret Technology Decks that have been super popular. They are 7-Ply's of maple decks with a layer of carbon fiber on top, making a board that skates like a regular maple deck but keeps its pop much longer. Read More On Girl Pop Secret Decks Here.