In 2012, Exposure Co-founder and Professional Skateboarder, Amelia Brodka, saw a gaping lack of support from within the skateboarding industry for women and was inspired to make a change. She created the documentary, UNDEREXPOSED, to explore the systemic problem of lack of support for women within the skateboarding industry. The documentary explores the root causes of this issue covering topics of major skateboarding competitions, such as the X-Games, removing women’s vert and bowl skateboarding events, and sponsorship and marketing support by skateboard brands. Although the population of female skateboarders was growing at the time of Exposure’s inception, there were not as many spaces for them to feel supported and encouraged to develop their skill as their male counterparts. The lack of competitive outlets for females meant less opportunities to compete for certain titles, connect with peers, and potentially win monetary prizes and accolades. Thus, the need for a new space within the sport was crucial for both professional female skateboarders and women looking to be introduced to skateboarding.
Exposure Skate Organization uses skateboarding to address the issue of lack of access and inclusion within females within skateboarding and, in turn, action sports. Our goal is to have our participants take the empowerment that is inherent in action sports and apply it to all areas of their lives to consistently grow, develop and lead healthy lifestyles. Our programs are inclusive to women and girls both locally in San Diego County and from all over the globe, with women traveling from as far as South Africa, Brazil, and China to compete in our annual competition. Each year, the events raise awareness throughout the community and EXPOSURE Skate donates a portion of their proceeds to local domestic violence shelters. The desire to spread EXPOSURE’s message of empowerment moved Lesli Cohen and Amelia Brodka to co-found EXPOSURE Skate, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Under its nonprofit moniker, EXPOSURE Skate began to spread its inspiring message through the education system by bringing exciting skate demos and talks to schools throughout the world. The same year, the nonprofit created the largest women’s skateboarding event. The event began with a $20,000 prize purse, drawing competitors from all over the world. With hard work and dedication, Exposure’s Annual Skate Competition has scaled into the largest all female-only skate contest in the world, offering a $60,000 purse prize for Professional and Amateur Skateboarders in 2018. EXPOSURE’s annual competition continued growth each year garnered support from the local community and brought some of the most prominent professional and amateur talent from across the globe.
We now have over 180 global entries from 15 different countries in our annual Exposure skate competition and in 2018, Exposure offered $60,000 in potential prize money for women spread between “Amateur” and “Professional” divisions. Since its inception, EXPOSURE has sought to expand its message of female empowerment by raising money for survivors of domestic violence for our local community partner, Carol’s House. We were able to see the inspiration of young girls and women that came from the competition and were strategically calculating how to expand into more comprehensive programs that would reach more women and girls. Today, Exposure’s small but dedicated team works with a group of passionate volunteers to constantly create empowerment opportunities for women and girls everywhere.
Amelia Brodka and Calli Kelsay, Founder of Skate Rising, joined forces in 2016 through a common passion of skateboarding, and the overwhelming desire to share the physical and mental benefits of the sport. Calli quickly recognized through her own daughters’ experiences with skateboarding that practice could be a powerful conduit in teaching life skills such as resilience, empowerment, and community on young girls. Their shared vision of female empowerment through skateboarding made the incorporation of Skate Rising under the umbrella of Exposure Skate Organization a natural fit. Skate Rising, which incorporates skating with service and self-empowerment components, now operates as the youth empowerment program of EXPOSURE Skate Organization. Skate Rising is an inclusive program, focused on girls ages 4-18, that holds free monthly events. Our mission is to teach compassion through service opportunities and empowerment through skateboarding. Each event, which is centered around a selected theme relating to empowerment or community service, incorporates an educational component or small service project to engage the girls, before the skate clinic. The program offers all safety equipment, trained coaches, educational supplies, partnership organization, and free raffles. We aim to have each girl walk away feeling empowered from overcoming their fears, feeling supported by a group of like-minded girls, and feeling a sense of responsibility for their community.
In 2018, Exposure also expanded to include Adult Women’s Clinics, making our programming inclusive across all ages and skills levels. Our Adult Women’s Clinics were created for women, ages 18 and up, so that all women can reap the benefits and enjoyment of skateboarding through our free and accessible programs! At each clinic, we provide personalized instruction with professional skate coaches, skate gear and safety equipment. Through our clinics, we have encouraged females to try something new, hone their skills and make new skate buddies! In 2019, we are continuing to pave the way for women and girls within skateboarding, by using the sport as a platform of empowerment creating opportunities for those looking to advance within the sport. Our 2019 Exposure Open Event on November 2nd at Vans Huntington Beach will be centered around elevating females skateboarders of all levels. We view this event as a return to our roots, providing broader opportunity and visibility to skaters to showcase their talent!