Mimi Knoop at last year%uFFFDs Women%uFFFDs Skateboarding Vert competition at the X Games.

All Photos by Label Networks

ESPN X Games announced its canceling women’s vert skateboarding competition starting at the Summer X Games beginning July 28 in Los Angeles. In a horrifying decision for the industry, especially women’s sports, the decision was based on the following factors:

“We look for sports that have a solid year-round infrastructure, a growing participant base, an established annual competition schedule, rising youth talent pools, ample access to courses, low barriers of entry into the sport and myriad other factors,” a statement from ESPN X Games read. “After thoughtful discussions and evaluation of many of those factors, we have decided to discontinue the women%uFFFDs skateboard vert competition from X Games 17.”

What they fail to see is that by creating new heroes and having a competition to compete in, is how a year-round infrastructure can be started. Now, as gold medalist Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins pointed out, “So what the heck are we supposed to dream of now? As it stands today, we have no vert contests to look forward to. This, unfortunately, is going to end the growth for women%uFFFDs vert skating as we know it.”

In defense, X Games said, hey look ladies! We still have women’s street skateboarding, women%uFFFDs Moto X, SuperCross, and added this year, Moto X Enduro. (Why does this now sound like a straight-up ESPN TV show??)

Tony Hawk is pissed too: “I think it%uFFFDs a shame, especially with the amount of interest in women%uFFFDs skating and new talent lately,” he texted about the decision to drop women%uFFFDs vert skating.

In our Action Sports Report and Spring Youth Culture Study 2011, skateboarding and women in skateboarding is a growing category in terms of young women 13-25-years-old that want to learn. As a matter of fact, the interest in skateboarding among young women is higher than males in the same age range, and has been for the past 5 years. It also represents one of the greatest growth opportunities in terms of lifestyle apparel around skate, including footwear.

In tribute, here are some highlights from last year’s women’s vert skateboarding competition at the X Games. Clearly not boring.

Gaby Ponce winning the gold in 2010.

Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins%uFFFD handplant on the coping.

Young competitor pulling some difficult moves.

Gaby with Lyn-Z cheering her on. Great camraderie among women skaters.