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Mother of all skating

August 27, 2004

Andrew Edwards

Watch out soccer moms -- the skater moms are riding.

Laguna Beach is home to its share of shredders, and the

distinctive sound of skateboard wheels rolling over sidewalks and

streets is a part of summer in towns across Orange County.

Skateboarding is often perceived as a teenage boy's domain, but in

Laguna, moms -- and daughters -- show that you don't have to be a

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dude to skate.

"I call myself a skate-at-home mom," Top of the World resident

Barbara Odanaka said.

The author of a children's book titled "Skateboard Mom," Odanaka

discovered skating when she was a child.

"I started when I was 10 when Santa brought me my Hobie Super

Surfer skateboard," she said.

She spent six month's on Hobie's amateur team but quit when her

track coach told her she had to choose between running and skating.

She spent about 25 years off a skateboard deck until her son Jack was

born in 1996.

"A therapist said to me, 'You need to find something that gives

you great joy and do it 10 minutes a day,'" Odanaka said.

Odanaka visits skate parks in nearby cities and often skates near

her Top of the World home, though she sticks to the smaller hills.

"I've never charged Park Avenue or anything like that, though I've

been tempted," she said.

She also skates inside.

"I keep the wheels clean," she said. "After all, I am a mom."

Looking for other moms to ride with, Odanaka founded the

International Society of Skateboarding Moms. The group held its first

Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama on Mother's Day, and though many are Orange

County denizens, women from as far away as Argentina and the

Netherlands, have signed on to the group, Odanaka said.

Her 8-year-old son has not become an avid skateboarder, though her

husband Paul keeps two boards in his car.

In North Laguna, riding is a family affair for skater mom Sunny

Elizabeth and her three daughters, two of whom skate competitively.

The family traveled to San Francisco to participate in the All

Girl Skate Jam over the Independence Day weekend, Elizabeth said. Her

youngest daughter, 9-year-old Caity, took second place in her

division.

Caity started skating when she was 3-years-old, after a

psychiatrist recommended to Elizabeth that Caity take Ritalin.

"I said, 'No way man, we're going to go skateboarding,'" Elizabeth

said.

Elizabeth skated as a teenager and got back into the sport when

Caitlin started. Elizabeth's older daughters, 15-year-old Carly and

17-year-old Vienna, took up skating around the same time.

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