By Tatiana Sanchez
The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Brighton Zeuner was cool and collected as she took on the bowl in black sneakers, skinny jeans and a “Vans” T-shirt. The 11-year-old has been skating for three years and said she travels around the world with her family to participate in skating competitions.
But Saturday she was able to compete on her home turf, at Encinitas Community Park.
She was among 100 or so top amateur and professional female skateboarders of all ages who faced off in a skateboarding competition at new 44-acre park on Santa Fe Drive. Organizers said many women signed up on the spot as the day wore on.
“This is my home bowl and I’m really stoked to see all these girls because I travel around the world with them to see their home bowls,” Zeuner said, referring to the skate ramp shaped like an empty swimming pool. “It’s really cool to see them at my home bowl.
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It’s really exciting.”
Zeuner participated in the 14-and-under age division. Her moves included 360-degree rotations and inverts, a trick where the skater grabs her board and puts a hand on the coping of the skateboard ramp so that they’re balancing on the “lip” of the ramp.
She finished off her performance with a round of high-fives from family and fellow skaters.
“It’s just a great vibe and community,” she said.
The event was hosted by Exposure, a group of volunteers with a mission to empower women through skateboarding. The group, which also runs the nonprofit, Exposure Skate, aims to spread awareness about domestic violence and donates a portion of its event proceeds to local shelters.
Co-founders Lesli Cohen and Amelia Brodka have said they want the event to be a premiere destination for women’s skateboarding.
“We have every walk of life and every age group (at the event). And it’s not just about women, it’s having the boys support,” Cohen said. “It’s about bringing everyone together to celebrate women and expose them, because they’ve been left behind.”
The group won city permission in June to host the annual event at the park for the first time.
Proceeds from the event went to Carol’s House, an emergency shelter in Encinitas for survivors of domestic abuse.
“A lot of these kids at the shelters are skaters, so it’s just a perfect fit,” Cohen said.
For the first time this year, the competition included street discipline — making use of items like benches and stair rails — alongside bowl and vert, or skating on an inclined ramp.
Attendees also participated in free Sambazon Yoga and learn-to-skate clinics.
An array of vendors sold skateboarding accessories, crafts and healthy food options.
Cohen said she and Brodka wanted to educate participants about healthier lifestyle options, whether that means eating healthier or caring for the environment.
David Acero of Fullerton looked on at the park’s skate plaza Saturday, where his niece was set to compete.
“We thought we’d come down and support her,” he said. “I just hope that this goes on so we can come and see it again.”