Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story review – sad story of a trans athlete

August 11, 2022
Romey Norton 0
Film Reviews, Netflix, Streaming Service


A documentary film showcasing the real, true story behind LGBTQ skater icon Leo Baker.  

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A documentary film showcasing the real, true story behind LGBTQ skater icon Leo Baker.  

Netflix documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story was released on Aug 11, 2022.

Netflix has released the documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story where we follow the skating icon Leo Baker, also known as Lacey Baker, as they try to make space for themselves in the gendered world of pro sports. Trying to influence and build a more inclusive skating culture, Baker does things that seem impossible and unimaginable, like having a split life, having to be two people for their sanity and career. 

The film is from executive producers Drew Barrymore, Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD), Ember Truesdell, Marisa Clifford, and Thomas Benski. With a running time of one hour and twelve minutes, this film gives viewers a candid insight into Baker’s life, leading up to the 2020 Olympics.

The stakes are high in his life with the pressures of having this amazing experience and chance to go to the Olympics. The struggle is not the kick-flips, the constant traveling, but trying to find their place in a gendered world of sports. In exclusive footage, we see Leo’s raw, honest emotions, as he battles how he sees himself and how the world sees him. 

Skateboarding being in the Olympics for the first time in 2020 was a huge achievement and historical event for the sport. Something that people can only dream of being in, so who would want to miss the opportunity and the chance to represent their country and win gold? Baker was a dominant force in women’s skateboarding, a legend.

Baker admits he can’t watch footage of themselves between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, which is so sad to hear but obviously was an emotionally overwhelming time. Openly admitting that being trans, they found it hard to fit in, and wanted to, this time in their life was filled with extreme highs and lows. Marketing instantly branded him as a pretty girl to sell the product of skateboarding, pasting his birth name Lacey Baker everywhere and asking them to wear dresses.

A huge emphasis on being a female skater, which was uncomfortable, but this was his career, so at a young age, went along with everything. You can see that this has had a huge mental and physical impact on Leo, and at twenty-seven at the time of filming, is still finding his feet.

There is footage from Baker skating as a child, and modern-day clips going through his house and seeing all the old T-shirts his mum has saved from all his competitions. He felt financial pressure to win more competitions — I feel like he’s had a lot of pressure throughout his life, and one of the main ones is being trans, being open about it, and still being able to skate.

He also feels pressure of what it will do to his relationship when he does have surgery. As well as these personal stories, we also have short interviews with pro skaters Neen Williams, Tony Hawk, Vanessa Torres, and Alex White, discussing tricks, style, their experience of the sport throughout the years, and the energy and determination Baker had and still has. 

This whole documentary is a journey of self-discovery for a trans athlete in America, trying to find their place and balance as sports are gendered, and for trans people, this can be a very difficult area to be themselves in. A sad, eye-opening watch, I really hope this helps and inspires other people going through similar things, and hope Baker finds peace and space to be themselves and have everything they deserve. Baker talks about a queer skating industry, and I am excited to see how this progresses in the future. I highly recommend watching if you’re a fan of lifestyle documentaries, skateboarding, and/or other sports.

What did you think of the Netflix documentary film Stay on Board: The Leo Baker Story? Comment below.

You can watch this documentary with a subscription to Netflix.