Author Archives: akila004

Guest Blog post from WIAS event 4/22 by Bryan Elliott, Chairman SoCal Action Sports Network

I attended the first group meet up of WIAS, Women in Action Sports last night. It was a good first showing and there were a lot of enthusiastic women in action sports there. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on the subject of groups and listening to comments from Linked In, Facebook and Twitter recently to try and get some perspective. Here’s a Tweet from someone I found today, @Votteri. His profile says: Location: Los Angeles, CA, Bio: Marketing consultant, action sports lifestyle &; film specialist, brand strategist &; part time chiller. Today, Thurs 4/23 @Votteri Tweeted, “Is the action sports community becoming the latest industry 2 have 2 many meetings? Can’t keep up w all the groups meeting. Please advise.” It’s a valid question. There are a ton of new groups popping up everywhere, especially in Action Sports. More and more people seem to be flocking to join these groups on social networks like Linked In and Facebook. Is it getting out of hand? I’ve found some of these groups to be a total waste of time and others that are pretty good. You have to do the research and find out if the group has something of benefit to you. Is it active or dormant? Does the group manager SPAM members or constantly try and sell them his services? Is the group an obvious trap to build someone’s Direct Mailing list? Does the group leader make you feel like she owns you and makes negative disparaging comments if you hint that you’re planning on attending a different group event? I could go on… The important question for this post is, do we need yet another Action Sports group and more meet ups? In the case of Women in Action Sports, my answer is YES! Here’s why… Let me first say that it’s true that the WIAS folks are friends of mine, but I promised them an honest opinion and recap of their event. Just blowing smoke doesn’t do anyone any good. I believe there is room for another Action Sports group and for meet ups, especially one like this. This group is special and dynamic. It was formed by women, for women and that is a special niche. Too many meet ups to choose from? I don’t think so. Are there too many action sports brands? No. My advice is to choose meet ups based on your needs and schedule. Since there is something happening locally almost monthly with various groups, you’ll never miss a beat. Choices are a good thing, especially for people searching for something new or to meet a need that isn’t being met. Women in Action Sports seems to be filling the need for women in action sports to gather and talk candidly about issues they are facing. I also observed their panel speakers and heard them talking about opportunities and practical advice about things like: How to get venture capital, How to start your own clothing company, Following your dreams, and other really great stuff. I will say that I felt a little out of place. First of all, the event was held in a great little space but it was a women’s clothing shop with racks of girly stuff for sale everywhere. Next, it was 10-1 favoring females and there were a lot of really bright women huddle together. It was intimidating to say the least but also hard to meet people since they didn’t seem interested in talking to a “male” like myself. I was really nervous when I found out they were doing door prizes based on the business card I dropped in a bag when I arrived. When it was time for the raffle, they pulled out a little black dress and a low cut scoop neck t-shirt! As they reached into the bag to randomly pull out the winning business card I made a white knuckled fist, saying in my mind, “nooooo, please God, don’t pick me.” Luckily, two happy women won. I enjoyed listening to some of the panel speakers who offered great nuggets of information. But some of the other panelists weren’t as strong and it was like listening to a 10 minute commercial. I cringed a little and felt uncomfortable when they talked about their experiences with men in action sports. They spoke about their struggles in a male-dominated industry and having to fight for their right just to skate or to do business. They mentioned dealing with ridicule and other adversity brought on by men or an industry that doesn’t offer many opportunities for women. So back to my point about supporting a group like this… I felt uncomfortable. So what? Duh! I’m male. No kidding I might have felt a little out of place with door prizes that come in size 4 and scoop necks. That’s my point. This group isn’t for everyone. It’s not designed for everyone. It’s for women, and for men who support women in action sports. This group is great. What do women in action sports need most? In my opinion, they need good men to support them for starters. These are talented, bright, driven women in business. Creative thought leaders with a special female perspective. They are motivating other women and trying to change the status quo. Let them do their thing. Let them gather where they want, wear what they want, complain and vent about a male-dominated industry, discuss issues, follow their dreams, shred, develop their talents and passion. There is always room for a passionate community with active members who are joined in unity in a cause for good.

~ Bryan Elliott, Chairman SoCal Action Sports Network


Oro Vecchio Special Offer

Hey everybody! Tomorrow is Earth Day (and our WIAS Kick Off event 🙂 Haha), and it only made sense for our ALL NATURAL, HANDMADE bath & body product partner ORO VECCHIO to offer you a 10% discount on your next purchase! Visit their site:, pick your products and contact Maria to place your order at Add in the subject line “WIAS”, so she knows you are a group member.

Espree Devora

Espree, founder of and co-founder of the WIAS networking group will be part of the panel at our kick off event. We asked her just a few questions to better know what drove her to start her own biz.

meet-up-pro-picAge: Recently 30 😉

Where do you reside? Santa Monica

Number of years involved in Action sports and how you were involved: 1989 When I met Tony Hawk at a Gleaming the Cube Premiere I became a fan. Then when I went snowboarding for the first time at 15 and every moto event I attended with my father I was sold on the industry.

How long have you been working in AS and what are your past experiences? Since 2003 – Its interesting how many women open doors and create opportunity in the industry that is run by men.
What made you want to work within the AS industry? The culture.

When did you start your company/organization? 2003 I conceived the idea (pre MySpace)

What would you say your motto is when it comes to business? Be true to yourself and grateful to all those around you.

Greatest accomplishment in life/business: Business – Raising money and creating opportunity for my team. Life – Finding what balance means to me.

Please tell us something interesting about yourself? I attended 10 colleges switching every few months.

Visit Espree’s website:

Marlise Elizabeth Kast

As an author and journalist, Marlise Elizabeth Kast, has had a lifelong commitment to writing. At the age of 21, Marlise became the youngest celebrity reporter to enter the tabloid world. As one of the industry’s most prolific celebrity journalists, she produced over 200 published articles for Globe and Star magazines in a three-year period.


Those experiences are chronicled in her memoir, Tabloid Prodigy. Since the book’s release, Marlise has been featured in thirty publications, on sixty radio stations and on twelve television shows including CNN, FOX News, CBN, CNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, The Insider and Entertainment Tonight.

After leaving the tabloids, Marlise traveled internationally as a freelance journalist. Her insatiable hunger for cultures outside her own has taken her to 60 countries as well as short-term residency in Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Spain and Costa Rica. A regular contributor to sports, travel and business publications, her articles have appeared in over 50 magazines including Surfer, Snowboard Journal, San Diego Magazine and Forbes. She has also served as a ghostwriter on several projects, including a Spanish language manual and a sports book to be released by Mansion Grove House.

Following the release of her memoir Tabloid Prodigy, Marlise co-authored seven titles for Random House which include Fodor’s 2009 Guide to the Yucatan Peninsula, 2009 Guide to San Diego, 2009 Cancun In Focus, and most recently the 2010 Guide to Mexico. She has also written Day & Overnight Hikes on California’s Pacific Crest Trail, to be published by Wilderness Press in late 2009.

Marlise recently completed a 13 month surfing and snowboarding expedition through 28 countries. Now based in San Diego, Marlise is currently working on her next full length manuscript.

Check out Marlise’s site:

Holly Lyons

This girl kicks ass. Period.

Holly has been involved in the action sports industry since ’93. She BS airwas first a pro snowboarder in the 90’s and then moved to Encinitas in 2002 to skate. She’s had her own signature shoe and pro model skateboard.  Her talent also led her to become the World Cup Women’s Champion in ’06.

She’s been involved in the industry in many ways as a pro athlete. Holly has worked as a skateboard stunt double on many TV shows, including Disney’s “Hannah Montana” and “That’s So Raven”. She was an MTV MADE coach, featured on USA’S Character Road Trip and has also been a co-host on a TV Show called “The Cage” and many episode of “GKA” for Fuel TV.

Holly_PoolIn 2006, Holly started Sk8Grl as a labor of love and a way of giving back to skateboarding and women in action sports. “If you have a dream than you have to follow it.  What else is the point of life but to live it?” Holly says. Sk8Grl is the premiere clothing company for girls who love skateboarding.

As a very inspirational woman, Holly is actively involved in the community and full of energy. She also loves metaphysics and learning to tap into higher realms of her self and consciousness.

Check Holly’s sites:

Alex Masterson

In 2006, Alex Masterson launched BitchBoards, a snowboard brand to be fully dedicated to all women.

After falling in love with snowboarding seven years ago, Alex quickly noticed the lack of selection available for women as well as the poor quality of the boards. She recalls, “I knew snowboarding was a male-dominated sport, but I was astounded at how male-dominated my choices were and, frankly, how ugly the boards were. My first women’s board fell apart after only a month of riding. That’s not right.”
It was then that she decided to bring quality, style and design to women’s snowboards. “My dad basically told me to stop bitchin’, and do something about it!” she says. So, she created BitchBoards®.
As a photographer, designer, and artist, it was only natural to use her creativity in developing the original photographs for each snowboard design. The designs are feminine, empowering, and unlike anything the snowboard industry has ever seen before.
Only 3 years later, in January 2009, Alex and her company BitchBoards won the esteemed and internationally recognized ISPO BrandNew Award for BitchBoards snowboard design. ISPO’s BrandNew award is regarded as the barometer of future trends and aims to give young entrepreneurs a stage at the world’s largest sporting goods show where they’re able to introduce themselves and their products to the sporting goods industry.
Every year a specialized top-class jury of 20 international experts from the sporting goods industry, marketing firms, sports press and technical engineers evaluate the 280 entrants for innovation, design and market potential. Only one winner is selected for each of the eight categories and BitchBoards was the proud recipient of the Thermolite® Style Award this year.

Check out Alex’ Site:

Shaney Jo Darden

Shaney Jo Darden is a mastermind of sorts. She attributes fashion design, fine art know-how and philanthropy as many of her honed & natural talents. Her belief is to throw on something simple and edge it up with a punk-rock flair. She doesn’t believe the hype and nor should you. Shaney Jo is the real deal and this is where she began….

Sewing as a little girl was always her favorite past time. Evolving into the reconstruction of dresses during high school and selling them in La Jolla boutiques was her path. Always knowing she wanted to be involved with clothing was a naturally early realization for her. She has designed some of the most influential clothing collections in the skate industry, Altamant, Etnies, Emerica, DC, to name a few…and has come out the other end with a knack for design and an appreciation for luxury.

Her entrance into the fine art world kicked off back in 1998 where she co-founded Modart, a small artist collective based in San Diego that took off into the international world of culture. Hosting art exhibitions globally earned Modart an avante guarde badge of honor, being the first ever collective stemming from the skate, surf and street art realms. Modart now hosts an international magazine based in Germany some 9 years later.

Modart naturally led her to co-found The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB), a non-profit charity organization that raises awareness of breast cancer through fine art. Taking plaster molds of women’s (and men’s) torsos, these casts are given to fine artists to paint, shown in art exhibitions then auctioned off with all proceeds to KAB and other breast cancer awareness organizations. It is a unique foundation, traveling with The Roxy Jam, The Vans Warped Tour, and South by Southwest, to name a few. Shaney Jo was honored by Yoplait as one of their champions in 2006.

Shaney Jo introduced Lewsader with the FALL 07 collection as she wanted to combine her skills of fashion with her artist collective ways of fine art. Seeking something that supports the fine art world, through fashion, where the artist is the HERO, she wanted to make the world a better place, one tee at a time. A great way for art patrons to wear art, the collection is all limited edition rotating with 6 different fine artists per season. Lewsader has launched their first season for FALL and is ready to take the art and fashion realm to a whole new, premium level. Shaney Jo is the mastermind behind selecting the chosen artists, working with them during the design process and overseeing the production of the line. She is “laying down the canvas, and picking up the hoodie.” Lewsader is a beautiful universe for all to exist.

Check out Shaney’s sites: