Despite sponsoring a skateboarding team since 2014, the giant apparel company Adidas has yet to officially welcome a female rider to its roster of pro skaters — until now. A momentous event for the global brand, Adidas welcomed Nora Vasconcellos to its professional team ranks just this past winter, minting the occasion with a superb documentary simply titled, Nora.
Showing off a detailed look at what makes her a force within the skateboarding world — as well as a bit of her background growing up — Nora paints a picture of a skater Adidas considers an icon. At just over 20 minutes in length, the documentary splices footage of Vasconcellos skating with interviews of other skaters largely singing her praise. Based on these sound bytes alone, it’s no surprise Adidas chose to make history by making Vasconcellos its first female professional skater.
“I think we still live in a day and age where, as a woman, the odds are stacked against you kind of in any industry,” Vasconcellos says in the film. “So, I think any breakthrough is just a step in the right direction. We’re here … we’re gonna to do this, whether you like it or not.”
Aside from applauding her skating prowess, many of the interviews touched on this very subject Vasconcellos mentioned above — the acceptance of female skateboarders. The producers behind Nora even managed to talk to Elissa Steamer, the woman who is known as the first female to achieve professional status, accomplishing this in the mid-1990s.
“People would say to me, ‘Oh, you’re a female skateboarder’ or, ‘The first female pro’ or some stuff like that,” Steamer says in the documentary. “I would always think in my head, ‘Why does it have to have that attached to it?’ But, things weren’t as diverse as they are now.”
As skaters like Steamer and Vasconcellos continue to serve as role models within an industry historically dominated by men, Adidas’ signing of its first professional woman skateboarder is earnest progress toward avoiding the sport’s past exclusions. With Webby Award-winning director, Giovanni Reda, behind the camera, the finished Nora product is a fascinating look at how one person can shatter decades of stereotypes with just one kick of a skateboard.
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