By day, Katherine Beattie is a television writer whose name graces the credits of big hits like NCIS: New Orleans and Californication. But when she’s not shredding up her keyboard, she’s shredding up something else—skateparks. And she’s promoting using a wheelchair.
Katherine Beattie isn’t just known for her work in television. She’s also an experienced WCMX star, recognized as being the first woman in the world to complete a backflip in a wheelchair.
And her involvement in the budding sport doesn’t stop there, either. Beattie is deeply and integrally involved in the development, growth, and advocacy of WCMX, using her writing talent to help pen the rulebook itself. And now, she’s teaching young up-and-coming WCMX competitors the ropes as the sport inches toward someday earning its rightful place in the Paralympic Games.
Beattie had a chat with ABILITY’s Nancy Villere at a skate park just outside San Bernardino, California, where they were joined by two other WCMX figures—one a budding young star, the other an experienced wheelchair Rugby gold medalist who, like Beattie, is helping build the sport—to discuss both the roots of WCMX and it’s future.
Katherine Beattie: Today we are at Fontana Skate Park in southern California. This is one of the most wheelchair-friendly parks in the country, really. A group of us come out about once a week and ride on our chairs and drop into bowls and run rails and just have a good time.
Nancy Villere: You drop into bowls? Like salads?
Beattie: (laughs) These concrete things behind me. You just wheelie up to the edge and push off. That’s really how we get all our speed. It sounds scary to a lot of people, but it’s pretty much the most basic thing we can do in WCMX. It’s all about getting speed and maintaining it. We don’t have legs to pump like a skateboarder, so we’ve got to take what we can get at the beginning and then just ride it out from there.
Villere: What was it like for you the first time?