GRO's Courtney Payne Taylor chat's with Coping Block!

            "GRO's" Courtney Payne Taylor chats with Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine

Where did GRO come from?
For the love of Skateboarding, and the lack of girls in skateboarding.
You said that where you come from people didn't wear pads, were you big time skating back then?
No, I just started skating in 2004, I'm relatively new to skating, I was twenty- two when I started skating. So, It was a late found love. My deal is I skate for me, I skate for fun, it's more about GRO reaching out to the other girls and getting them active, the ones that are out there killing it, they got the young starts that are trying to make things happen,  where here for them.
I've seen you at a lot of skate events, is GRO a one woman operation, are you doing  this alone?
 So for me, I travel with the stuff, I basically bring all the stuff to the city and then we bring the girls from that area. Because, that's what matters in that area, the girls there. That's the best place to grow a team from, grow information amongst the young girls there with the girls that they are going to see continually where they live. I'm on my own in between the spots, but when I'm in the spots I have all the girls in that area that work with GRO, so I'm never really alone.

                                   Young girls are invited to join the Girls Riders Organization.

I like your shameless GRO plugs.
Lol, I can't help it, it's all I do man, I need a break, Lol!
Where's your home base?
Bloomington, Indiana, that's where I was born and raised.
So, you are a mid-west girl.
Yes, proud!
You know, every skater I've met from the mid-west seems pretty laid back and nice.
It's definitely a different world there, everyone knows there neighbors, everyone say's hi. It's a good time, I like it there.

                                     The Girls Riders Organization supports Longboarding!

 Tell me about the event you have coming up this year for the girls, how that came about, where it's going and what do you want to see it grow into.
The GRO Am series that were doing this year, well, up to this point, there hasn't been a way for girls to actually qualify and do an event like X-Games or Maloof where they have a girls category contest. We want to change that, we want to give an opportunity for girls all around the country to get a chance to be seen and earn their way and place into that world. So were doing nine qualifiers around the U.S. including Florida, Texas, New York, and Chicago. We need to give these girls a spot light and bring these girls out.
Is this going to be mainly street, ramp, or bowl?
For now where going to keep the focus on street this year, if we have success in the Am Series with the street, then we'll extend it out into the bowl, into the Vert. But for right now this is going to be street focused, and the girls will be qualifying for that event.
How do girl skaters that would like to get involved and compete or participate get in contact with GRO?
They can go on-line, our website is, all of our contacts are on there, you can get in touch with us and ask whatever questions you have about this event or anything. You can also find out all the dates for the
 tour on-line and the registration will be up next month.

                     Women like Patti McGee helped to inspire other girls to try Skateboarding.

You said earlier that you started skateboarding at the age of twenty two, what was your inspiration to get involved?
My home town got a skate park, and I had a meeting with the ex-parks director, so they thought that it would be convenient for me to meet with them at the grand opening because they would be there anyway.  So, I ended up at a skate park. I was going about my business, I  had on sandals, a business khakis skirt, I was there for a business and someone asks me if I skate, I said no, and they asked me if I'd like to? I said sure and that was that. I rode a across the skate park in my skirt and flip flops and never quit.
Who else does GRO partner with?
Grind For Life, Women of BMX, GRO Snow, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and all our events are always free so come on out and enjoy our events. We will also be starting GRO BMX.
You have a great energy about you, your passion for getting girls involved in typically male dominated sports is unduplicated. What drives Courtney to do all of this?
Like anyone, my passion comes from my own experience. So, from my experience, what skateboarding has done for me, in my mentally, courage, belief in myself, and my physical strength. But what comes from skateboarding mentally has meant so much to me, that that's what we want to share. Anyone who skates knows this already, but giving someone fresh a chance to experience it is what it's all about. They need to be introduced to the love as well.

                                      Skateboarding isn't just for the guys! Girls shred too!

How often are you in SoCal?
All the time, there are so many events there, we have a crew in Orange County, our GRO Van is there.
The fastest growing segment of skateboarding is Longboarding, is GRO working in that segment of the sport as well?
We support Longboarding, but I love how people distinguish a difference between Skateboarding and Longboarding, to me it's all the same. There’s subtle differences, but it's all riding a board with four wheels on a hard surface. We support all of it, we love it, the Longboarding scene is huge! Girls are very into it on the transportation side outside of the skate parks, riding their Longboards to class and down hills. This is the Girls Riders Organization, what ever they ride, we support.
There was a Push Culture event in Miami full of girl riders hitting parking garages, and distance skating. Mike Dallas of Bustin Boards New York told me that there are some really skilled lady Longboarders down there. Are you all actively pursuing any of them to your organization?
We can right now, Longboarders get a hold of us, find us at, we need leaders in each area, so as soon as we have someone that's ready to come on board and focus on Longboarding were ready to do more.


                                               Picture yourself  just cruising along enjoying the ride.

Did you go to college?
Yes, I went to Indiana University and got a Business Degree. 
As I suspected, there's a sharp business mind behind those natural good looks.
School is definitely great, I love that I went to school. I learned a lot of things that made a lot of this possible. A lot of our team riders and the girls that are out there today shredding, even the ones that are top notch are going to school and going to college. It's good because not only do you have a back up plan, but no matter what your plan is it's all going to help you out along the way. It's going to make you a better all around person. It will help you get done what you need to get done. So I do support School.
What does your family think about your involvement in GRO?
When I started this organization my Dad told me it was bad, it was a waist of my time, that I was over it, and then about two years ago he was trying to give me some fatherly business advice and he said, "You know, I don't know what your business attire is, but make sure when you go to events you wear the proper business attire for Skateboarding." But now they've seen what's been happening, they are supportive, just like everyone else, they see that girls are getting more and more into it and involved. I've convinced my parents and now I have a few more parents out there to convince.
What about skateboarding really makes you smile?
How do you I explain the love of skateboarding, ah, it's plain and simple but impossible to explain, It's freedom, it's fun, the people you meet in skateboarding are top notch souls. If you're a girl and want to get into skateboarding, get a skateboard and come skate with us, how do you explain falling in love if you've never been in love. It's something you have to try and that's what it's about and it keeps me smiling.
 "It's plain and simple but impossible to explain? "Do you mind if I use that on a shirt?
Be my guest.

There are some skateboarding companies producing female specific products do you think that this is necessary?
There's no difference in the decks. But female branded items are cool, but do we need a different physical board? I think that's something that needs to be researched for sure because we have a different body set up, our hips, knees, and ankles work differently.
I think women have an advantage because you move smoother than the guys.
We have a grace for sure, look back at the seventies and women were skating next to the guys in freestyle and the differences were even more noticeable. It was almost like a dance, an art. It was all about the beauty of it, the creativity. Laura Thornhill and others were very graceful. GRO wants to bring the history of female skateboarders to light and we will have a series of interviews of the greats like Patti McGee available to read.
Any thanks at this time?
Skate Park Of Tampa, they've supported our efforts and brought GRO in, Etnies for being with us from the beginning, all the skate parks that work with us, all the girl skateboarders, all the moms that let their girls skate, my folks, all those that support us, if you want to help us please go to our site and make a donation.