Veterans of Vert - Ticia Weare
Ticia Weare is one of the original Vertical Roller Skaters of Venice, California. Ticia and her best friend Beth were some of the first women to represent the sport. Ticia was a stunt double in Roller Boogie and a sponsored skater for Venice Precision Roller Works, (later called Road Skates), Z-Flex and Ocean Pacific (OP). Despite pushback from the boys, this chick made a name for herself and quad skaters everywhere. Thank you, Ticia for being a strong, female roll-model for the next generation of skaters!
When did you first start roller skating?
I can't remember a time that I did not skate. When I was very young, my parents would bring me to a local rink, but just as I was reaching an age that I could go by myself, the rink closed in Jr. High, we would go ice skating in Culver City or skateboarding around the neighborhood. It was fun, but I always preferred roller skating.
How were you introduced to ramp/park skating?
I grew up in Palms, Ca about 6 miles from Venice. Venice was an exciting place, even before the skating phenomenon. My best friend Beth Graham's mom used to take us to the beach, and while Beth's mom was sunbathing at muscle beach, we would play paddle tennis, hang on the jungle gym or walk the boardwalk. When I was about 14, we started seeing people skating along the sidewalk. Soon we were bumming rides from Beth's mom, riding our bikes or taking the bus anytime we could skate in Venice.
When I was 15 and Beth was 16 we both got jobs at Venice Precision Roller Works (VPRW). VPRW sponsored a team that would go to area skate parks. Back then the parks were mostly inland so the store provided a van that would bring the team to the various parks. Suzanne Thomas, the part-owner in VPRW, pushed for Beth and me to be included in the trips to the skate parks and become members of team VPRW.
What did you enjoy about ramp/park skating?
From the very first trip to the Runway in Carson, California, I was hooked! I am very competitive, and the parks provided many challenges to be conquered. I loved the feeling of the big bowl at the Runway and how it felt like flying almost. I loved the atmosphere of the skate park too; often, Beth and I would spend all day at the Runway and later Marina Del Rey.
Were there many women who skated parks with you?
There were very few women in the parks, but I always had Beth, so I wasn't alone. I knew of a few other women. There was a girl named Dana and Becky Howe; I don't remember too many other girls skating vert at that time.
What was it like being a female in a predominantly male sport?
When Suzanne first put Beth and me on the team, there was a lot of pushback from the boys. They were adamant that the park was not a place for girls. There wasn’t a lot of encouragement from the guys, but this made us want it even more and made us push harder to prove we were just as good. I remember that Fred Blood used to call me Biff because I fell a lot but kept trying. I took it as a compliment, even though I’m sure he didn’t mean it as one. Duke Rennie is the only guy I remember who treated us like any other skater early on. He would go out of his way to encourage us. Eventually, they got used to us, and we were just skaters.
Who was your biggest inspiration?
This might sound corny, but my Mom. My mother has always instilled in me that sense that I can do anything. She did this by providing an example of what a strong woman can accomplish. My mother worked at TWA (Trans World Airlines) as a reservationist and began representing fellow employees when there was a grievance. She then became a union arbitrator, something that was unheard of for a woman at the time. She never let her gender define or limit her.
What were some of the highlights of that time for you?
I was a teenager living on my own (moved out at 17) and living on skates in Venice Beach in the late ’70s. I worked on skates; I ate on skates and most of my activities revolved around skating. About the only time I took my skates off was to surf or sleep. Life was good!
One of my favorite memories was a trip to the Runway in Benji Conn’s car. We were packed in like sardines (as usual) and on the way home Benji had to take his skates off to drive, but the odor was just too much for us, so he hung them out the back of the trunk to dry. Of course, we all wore the long socks back then so they were flopping around at the end of the car and we got pulled over. The look on the officer’s face when he took a whiff of Benji’s sock was priceless. My fondest memories, though, I think were of the spur of the moment skates to the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood, the UCLA parking lot or just a makeshift ramp in the pavilion.
Then, of course, there was the Roller Boogie movie. Initially, I was an extra on the film for the skate park scenes, but on the first day, I was approached by the director and asked if I would be interested in being the stunt double. I enjoy being able to add “Stunt Double” to the disparate list of occupations I have had in my life.
Do you still roller skate?
I live in Massachusetts now, and I occasionally skate on the Cape Cod Canal or a nearby skating rink. When I visit home (Venice) I sometimes bring my skates so I can skate the boardwalk with friends. I haven't skated a ramp or park in more years than I care to remember.
How would you describe the feeling of ramp/park skating?
I would say, like life, it feels best when you find just the right balance of letting go and staying in control.
How do you feel about the CIB movement?
I love Terry Caccia’s “Chick’s in Bowls” Facebook posts. It makes me happy to see girls advancing the sport and having fun. Keep up the good work!
Any last words or stories to share!
It seems a little like a dream, sometimes, looking back on those days, and has been bittersweet for me at times because I lost my best friend, Beth Graham to skin cancer at such a young age. I can't think about that time in my life without thinking about her, but there was a reunion of the “Original Venice Skaters” in 2013 that helped bring out the good memories from that extraordinary time in my life. I am grateful to have still contact with friends from that era (even though I am 3,000 miles away) to validate my memories.