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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Epicly Elissa

By Robin Fleming
ESPN.com

Elissa Steamer might be the most influential girl skateboarder ever.

For skateboard fans, "Epicly Later'd" episodes can bring back fond memories, lead to heated debates (and even settle some), and always make great topics for discussion at skate shops and online message boards.

"Epicly Later'd," spawned by skateboard photographer Patrick O'Dell and his eponymous blog epiclylaterd.com, is in the middle of it's third season on Vice.com. During the past few years, O'Dell has featured some of the most hidden stories within skateboarding with some of its most iconic skateboarders, like Eric Koston, John Cardiel and Andrew Reynolds.

Thursday, a new episode went up and the message boards are already heated, because for the first time "Epicly Later'd" is featuring a female skater -- Elissa Steamer. As O'Dell says in the introduction of the video, "I'm really excited because we've never had a girl pro skater as the subject of the show and I'm doing this episode, not really cause she's a girl, but that's a big interesting part of her story."

O'Dell goes on to credit Steamer with really opening the door for girl skateboarders, stating, "When she came out it was kind of unusual to see a girl skating. Where now, I think in part because of her influence, if you go down to a skate park there's gonna be lots of girls skating."

Episode 1 covers Steamer's first skateboard given to her by her father, her early years in Fort Meyers, Fla., her first box of product from a sponsor and filming her first video part in Toy Machine's "Welcome to Hell."

What also makes Steamer stand out (in addition to her skating) are her peers and friends and people she skated with, who have been some of the most important male skaters of their generation, and that she was never regarded as separate or other. Now, over fifteen years after they first encountered "the girl skater from the Skatepark of Tampa," legendary skaters Ed Templeton, Jamie Thomas, Mike Maldonado and Chad Muska are all chiming in about the early days and giving her praise.

Having just seen the first installment, Steamer said, "It feels nostalgic, I guess. It's nice to know that people have a nice opinion about you."

Look for Episode 2 next week on Vice.com.