“If somebody told me I would be skateboarding when I was 50, I would have told them they were insane,” she said. “I lost 70 pounds, and I’m healthier now than before I had the transplant. I can’t attribute it to anything else but my skateboard.” Today, the Simi Valley woman plans to celebrate Mother’s Day by going to Orange County to participate in the Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama. The event at the Laguna Niguel skate park is expected to draw about 50 women from around the nation who are members of the International Society of Skateboarding Moms, the event’s sponsor. “I really believe I owe my life to skateboarding,” she said. Barb Ludovise Odanaka is the founder of the International Society of Skateboarding Moms, which she said involves about 400 women skateboarders across the nation and in some foreign countries. “I surfed as a kid and got my first skateboard when I was 10,” said Odanaka, who grew up in Panorama City and Newport Beach and was good enough to get on an amateur skateboard team. SIMI VALLEY In 1993, Maureen Foster had just undergone a liver transplant because of autoimmune hepatitis. Her condition made it difficult for the sedentary mother of four to stay physically active, so she mostly drew pictures and played the guitar. Bowling was the closest she came to athletics. Skateboarding was the furthest thing from her mind. Then she started fooling around on her husband’s skateboard to stay active. Because she took a liking to it, he bought her one for her birthday. But she stopped skateboarding when she started competitive running and went away to Kansas State University on an athletic scholarship. Through the years, she watched as skateboarding changed from a mellow pastime associated with surfing to the edgy suburban activity it is today. When her son was 6 months old and she turned 35, her husband bought her a skateboard for her birthday. A journalist, Odanaka used her experience with skateboarding and her son to write a children’s book called “Skateboard Mom.” “My book came out on Mother’s Day of 2004, and I decided to have a skate party to launch my book. Nineteen moms showed up. I started getting e-mail from moms around the country, women who would say, `I can’t believe I’m not the only mom (who likes skateboarding).”‘ Tamara Mordue, 34, of Canoga Park knows Foster from the Skatelab indoor skate park in Simi Valley, where they both go regularly. She’s also skating at the Skate-O-Rama. She started skateboarding because her 14-year-old son got into it and she was looking for things they could do together. Her son likes to skate with her – when his friends aren’t around. “It’s a bonding thing with us,” she said. “But he gets a little embarrassed when his friends flirt with me.” She, Odanaka and Foster said they get mixed reactions from teenage boys who see them at skateboard parks. “For the most part we get looks, especially from the teenage boys, like, `Hey, I came here to get away from my parents,”‘ Odanaka said. “We give them their space. I’ve had many young boys come up to me and say, `I wish my mom was a skateboard mom.”‘ Foster said she has grown to love skateboarding so much she goes out five days a week, frequently to the Pedlow skateboard park at Victory Boulevard and Louise Avenue in the San Fernando Valley. “I think I shamed them into skating,” she said of her 10-year-old son and daughters, who are 12, 14 and 21. “Now they think it is cool.” “A lot of kids come up to me and ask, `How old are you?”‘ she said. “I’ve actually never met a nicer bunch of people than skateboarders.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!