Exposure’s mission is to showcase the progression of women, trans and nonbinary skateboarders; to get new girls on boards; and to further empower individuals by supporting at-risk communities including victims of abuse, homelessness and poverty. Exposure’s programming includes international competitions, youth and adult skate & serve clinics, yoga clinics and mental wellness workshops and partnerships with health and wellness companies.
Exposure 2012 was inspired by the Underexposed documentary, created by Exposure cofounder and Olympian Amelia Brodka, which highlighted the lack of opportunity for female skateboarders. At the time, women’s divisions had been cut from all major skate events, and the best female skateboarders in the world were finding it difficult to secure supportive sponsors. Thus, the need for a new space within the sport was crucial for both professional female, trans and nonbinary skateboarders, as well as amateurs looking to be introduced to skateboarding. Hosting competitions in park, street and vert disciplines, Exposure started as an annual skateboarding competition inclusive to girls, women, trans and nonbinary people from all over the globe. As the event grew, skaters traveled from as far as Japan, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, and across Europe to compete in the annual competition, growing the initial field of 32 female competitors to 230 competitors by 2020. The prize purse also saw substantial growth, and by 2016, Exposure offered the largest prize purse in women’s skateboarding. Legends such as Tony Hawk, Andrew Reynolds, Steve Caballero and Christian Hosoi regularly show their support on deck.
MORE THAN A COMPETITION
The success of the inaugural event prompted Lesli Cohen and Amelia to turn Exposure into a nonprofit. In addition to providing inclusive competitive spaces, Exposure Skate is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit featuring year-round programming dedicated to youth leadership, service, and learn-to-skate-clinics; inclusive adult skate sessions; and college scholarship opportunities.
In 2016, Calli Kelsay founded Skate Rising to create an inclusive space for young girls to give back and gain confidence. She saw first hand the positive life lessons that came through skateboarding as her own young daughters learned to skate. Through monthly Skate Rising events, girls ages 4-18 learn an altruistic combination of skateboarding and community service. Each event includes a teachable moment where girls learn about communities in need, participate in a service project dedicated to alleviating that need, and enjoy a Learn-To-Skate Clinic taught by local and visiting Olympians and Pros. Nearly 100 girls attend each event, with each individual girl’s service project serving 1-3 individuals in need. As their passion for skateboarding and serving community aligned Calli and Amelia joined forces enabling Skate Rising to serve as the youth program of Exposure Skate.
In 2018, Calli took Skate Rising on the road on the Feed the Need tour with a goal of engaging community and feeding the unhoused along the West Coast. In a seventeen day period eleven Skate Rising events were held, over 1600 homeless supply kits were built and passed out, 330 girls signed anti-bullying pledges, and free community events were held in Australia, Canada, Florida, Oregon, Arizona, and California.
The adult Sesh(E) program addresses the need to make skateparks inclusive spaces by offering free skateboarding guidance to women, trans and nonbinary skaters age 18+ in exchange for goods donated to the local domestic violence shelter. Exposure provides personalized instruction with professional skate coaches, skate gear and safety equipment at every youth and adult clinic.
In 2020, Exposure introduced its two annual $5,000 College Scholarships for skaters who actively contribute to the wellbeing of their communities. Exposure has held community events in Sweden, Australia, Canada and San Diego; presented Skate Rising assemblies in schools; and has partnered with Dew Tour for amateur competitions. Exposure is always looking for new ways to collaborate with and contribute to the community.
In 2020 & 2021 Exposure partnered with Thrasher Magazine to create a first-of-its kind women’s video part competition, with a $50,00 prize purse (watch the 2020 winners and 2021 winners featured on Thrasher’s website). A field of 230 submissions from 23 different countries were judged by skateboarding legends Vanessa Torres, Elissa Steamer, Alex White, Mimi Knoop and Jamie Reyes. For the tenth anniversary of the flagship event, 2021’s Exposure X featured a red-carpet premiere of the video competition and an awards ceremony.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The inclusion of Women’s Skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics has created a rise of non-male participants and supporters in and around the world. 60% of the female-identifying or non-binary participants in the Olympic Skateboarding events have participated in at least one Exposure event and many female Olympians got their competitive start at Exposure.
THE FUTURE OF WOMEN, TRANS AND NONBINARY SKATEBOARDERS IS BRIGHT.
Join us as we continue to celebrate competition, camaraderie, compassion and service.