after a selection of team riders from the World Industries distribution company decided to found their own brand—the main figures are Mike Carroll and Rick Howard.
Howard explained in a 2000 interview:
Part of the reason we started Girl was so pro skateboarders would have a future. Take Royal, for instance. When Guy Mariano and Rudy’s Johnson legs don’t work anymore, at least what they’ve done for skateboarding and their ideas can continue with something they can fall back on. All the Girl Distribution companies are based around people who have helped Girl get to where it is today.
Howard and Carroll revealed in 2013 as part of the company’s 20-year anniversary commemoration that the majority of the skateboard industry at the time was acrimonious towards the new enterprise. Carroll stated that a particular woodshop was threatened by another company and consequently severed ties with Girl, but that industry figure Fausto Vitello assisted Girl in numerous ways. Carroll explained that Vitello “he always just, kinda, let us know that he had our back.”
In addition to Howard and Carroll, the original Girl team consisted of Jovontae Turner, Guy Mariano, Rudy Johnson, Tim Gavin, Tony Ferguson, Sean Sheffey, and Jeron Wilson. The company has evolved into a distribution company that distributes skateboard hard goods, skateboard videos and films, and soft goods. The Girl logo is similar to the symbol on women’s bathrooms and was designed by Girl’s in-house artist Andy Jenkins, who remains with the company as of August 2013. Named the “Art Dump”, the design department of Girl is overseen by Jenkins. Artists such as Geoff McFetridge, Kevin Lyons, and Hershel Baltrotsky have contributed to the aesthetic of Girl through their work for the Art Dump.
In the period leading up to the year 2000, Carroll and Howard were filming for the TransWorld SKATEboarding video Modus Operandi and their filmer, Ty Evans, invited a young unknown skateboarder named Brandon Biebel to accompany them on filming/skateboarding sessions. Biebel had moved from Chicago, US to California, US and had met Ty previously in southern California. At the 2000 premiere of the video, Carroll asked Biebel to join the Lakai skate shoe team, followed by an offer to join Girl several months afterwards. Biebel was assigned professional status in 2002 and stated in a 2012 interview: “Girl, Lakai—that’s a dream come true. I ‘aint never leaving that shit.”
During the mid-2000s, Girl recruited new amateur riders Mike Mo Capaldi, Sean Malto, and Alex Olson, and established amateur Jereme Rogers was assigned professional status with the company in 2005, the same year that he was awarded the “Rookie of the Year” award by TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine.Rogers left the company in 2007 due to his dissatisfaction with his royalty payments, while Capaldi, Malto, and Olson were assigned professional status the following year.
Rogers later explained his issues with Girl in an October 2012 interview:
I was getting my cheque, just not my actual royalties. I got a three thousand dollar guarantee a month, which operated as a minimum; meaning I get that no matter what, but if I sell over the minimum, I get the extras – royalties kick in … So what had happened was, they were letting my royalties fall back into the company to cover their overhead, which helped keep a boat afloat that had some leaks. For two years I apparently didn’t break my three thousand dollar minimum … Don’t forget, we’re taking about Girl here who sells all around the world … So I inappropriately blurted out at Tampa 2007, after getting second to Koston, who had a flawed run, against mine which was flawless, that all I wanted was my royalties, when Rick Howard asked what I wanted after doing so well. The following month I got a six thousand dollar cheque… The first time I broke my three thousand dollar minimum, “apparently”, and on top of that, it was April; tax time. Coincidence… Sure.
A statement from Girl was not released in response to Rogers’s claims.
After winning the “Bang Yo’ Self 2” contest, held by the Berrics website, in April 2009, Cory Kennedy was recruited by Girl and was assigned professional status in mid-2011. In regard to Kennedy’s victory, the Berrics wrote: “Today, April 2nd, 2009, is the beginning of Cory Kennedy’s tyranny over skateboarding. May God have mercy on our souls.”Kennedy was unaware of his promotion, as he was deliberately informed by the company that a filming session was occurring at the North Hollywood skatepark; however, 20 of Kennedy’s inaugural signature skateboard deck were given to random people at the park who skated on the decks, together with Girl team members who were also using the deck, while Kennedy remained unaware. After 20 minutes, Kennedy eventually realized that his name was written on the decks.
In May 2013, longtime Girl team riders Brian Anderson and Olson announced that they had parted ways with the company as a board sponsor. Anderson explained that he would be pursuing a creative venture of his own, while Olson did not disclose a subsequent sponsor and stated: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help and motivation of Girl.” Following the announcement of Anderson’s own skateboard deck company “3D Skateboards” and the recruitment of Olson (who left to form his own brand shortly afterwards), the former Girl team member affirmed that his departure was not due to dissatisfaction:
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way things were going with Girl. That’s why it was hard to go through with everything because we’re all really close friends and I love those guys so much. I just felt like I wanted to do something for myself, instead of in a few years realising that I can’t jump down stairs when I’m 45, and I kinda wanted to have my own thing started by the time that happens. I have a few Girl tattoos, and I’m happy I have them because it’s great memories of fun trips and great years.
When asked to comment on the departure of team members in August 2013, Carroll stated, “When people quit for other companies for just more money, or something, that’s stupid. But, if someone quits because they don’t feel right on a team, or something, then, and for another company, that makes sense.”
As of August 2013, the Girl brand has existed for 20 years and Howard explained his perspective on the longevity of Girl in an interview with Route One magazine:
We’ve grown up together doing this, so, yeah, we’re just lucky to work with our friends, you know? And all share the same things in what we do here, so … That’s how we started and that’s what we do to this day. This is up for everyone to have fun with, you know?
A beer collaboration between Girl and the Saint Archer Brewing Company was announced at the beginning of September 2014—Girl team members Koston and Malto are co-investors in the latter company. The product, described as a “Hoppy Pilsner,” became available only throughout Southern California, U.S., in September 2014.