Donate & support Vanessa’s recovery: https://www.gofundme.com/vanessas-acl-rehabrecovery-fund
In 2002, legendary skateboarder Vanessa Torres, took a leap of faith at the ripe age of 16, by leaving her family’s home in Modesto, CA and moving to L.A to pursue her passion. Within a year, she began her professional career with Element Skateboards in 2003. She became the first female to win XGames Women’s Street gold that same year. Vanessa appeared in Gallaz’s (former Globe shoes brand designed for women) “AKA: Girl Skater,” “Elementality,” “This Is My Element,” and “Getting Nowhere Faster” skate videos. She inspired an entire generation, and paved the way for the future of women’s skateboarding.
In the years that followed, at the height of her place in the limelight, she was heavily influenced down a path that was destructive to her life and career. Vanessa’s dependency to alcohol resulted in losing all of her paid sponsorships, and reserved spots in “invite only” contests, which only caused her drinking problem to worsen. She had fallen off the face of skateboarding for several years, and there was no motivation to do much of anything beyond skating a skate shop mini ramp. Many fans didn’t think she even skated at all.
In May of 2015, after several failed attempts by friends and family to aid her into sobriety, she made the decision to quit cold turkey, and take control of her life on her own. She developed a whole new lust for life, and made a full comeback. She regained a list of sponsors, began filming again, and got reacquainted with the contest podiums. (XGames, Street League, Kimberly Diamond Cup, and Wheels of Fortune) In July of 2016, she turned 30 years old, and her career was at an all-time high.
In mid September, during the final days of filming her part for the Quit Your Day Job video, she experienced a freak accident while skating a steep handrail in the streets. She had the misfortune of completely tearing her ACL and meniscus in her knee. On the upside, she had enough footage to complete the ender part that she calls, “the part I worked the hardest on, and am most proud of.” But on the downside, the severity of the injury called for her to undergo ACL Hamstring Reconstructive surgery and meniscectomy (removal of meniscus). Vanessa has handled this situation like a champ, and is very optimistic that she’ll make yet another comeback, but she needs our help! During her estimated 9-12 month recovery time, she of course can no longer compete and earn what has been the majority of her income. Her medical bills and cost of living, is much more than she can afford, so we set up this gofundme to assist her financially, until she can get back on her board.
We would like to thank you in advance for reading her story, and any contribution you can make.
– Monique O’Toole
Video: Erik Sandoval