The History of Skateboarding SPECTRUM 2012- 2013
Early Skateboards • Skateboarding was first started in the 1950s. All across California surfers got the idea of trying to surf the streets. No one really knows who made the first board -- instead, it seems that several people came up with similar ideas at the same time. Several people have claimed to have invented the skateboard first, but nothing can be proved, and skateboarding remains a strange spontaneous creation.
History • The first skateboarders started with wooden boxes or boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom. • A lot of people got hurt in skate boarding's early years! It was a sport just being born and discovered, so anything went. • The boxes turned into planks, and eventually companies were producing decks of pressed layers of wood -- similar to the skateboard decks of today. • During this time, skateboarding was seen as something to do for fun after surfing.
1963 • In 1963, skateboarding was at its peak of popularity • Companies like Jack's, Hobie and Makaha started holding skateboarding competitions. • Skateboarding was mostly either downhill slalom or freestyle. • TorgerJohnson, Woody Woodwardand Danny Berer were some well known skateboarders at this time, but what they did looked almost completely different from what skateboarding looks like today! Their style of skateboarding, called "freestyle", is more like dancing ballet or ice skating with a skateboard.
1965 • 1965 - skate boarding's popularity suddenly crashed. Most people assumed that skateboarding was a fad that had died out, like the hoola hoop. Skateboard companies folded, and people who wanted to skate had to make their own skateboards again from scratch. • People still skated, even though parts were hard to find and boards were home made. • Skaters were using clay wheels for their boards, which was extremely dangerous and hard to control. • 1972,Frank Nasworthy invented urethane skateboard wheels, which are similar to what most skaters use today. His company was called Cadillac Wheels, and the invention sparked new interest in skateboarding among surfers and other young people.
1975 • In the spring of 1975, skateboarding took an evolutionary boost toward the sport that we see today. In Del Mar, California a slalom and freestyle contest was held at the Ocean Festival. That day, the Zephyr team showed the world what skateboarding could be. They rode their boards like no one had in the public eye, low and smooth, and skateboarding was taken from being a hobby to something serious and exciting. T • The Zephyr team had many members, but the most famous are Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta.
Dogtown • Dogtownis an area of West Los Angeles - the poorer, slum area on the south side of Santa Monica that covered Venice Beach and Ocean Park Beaches. Throughout the 1970's, the surfers in Dogtown were aggressive and antisocial. They fit into the stereotype of the time that surfers were poor dropouts. For a lot of these young people, surfing was all they had.
Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions • In 1972, Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig Stecykstarted up a surf shop called Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions right in the middle of Dogtown. Jeff Ho hand crafted surfboards, and pushed the limits and ideas of surfboard design. He was unique, cutting edge, and a little crazy. Craig Stecyk was the artist who designed the surfboards' graphics. Most surfboards at the time used soft, rainbow images or calm, pretty island scenes. Craig pulled his graphics from local graffiti, and made Zephyr surfboards reflect the area that they were made in.
The Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop also started up the Zephyr surf team. Dogtown was full of young surfers who had nowhere to go, and who were hungry to prove themselves and gain an identity. The Zephyr team provided just that. A lot of what went on in the shop was sketchy at best, but these kids came from broken and messed up families, and the Zephyr team provided a home.
The Zephyr Team (Z-Boys) • The Zephyr team had 12 members: Shogo Kubo Bob Biniak Nathan Pratt Stacey Peralta Jim Muir Allen Sarlo Chris Cahill Tony Alva Paul Constantineau Jay Adams Peggy Oki WentzleRuml
The Zephyr Team • While surfing is what pulled the Zephyr team together, skateboarding would be what would pull them apart. But not before they changed the world forever.
From Past Time to Passion • The Z-boys enjoyed skateboarding as something to do after surfing. The activity grew from a hobby for the Zephyr team into a new way to express themselves, and to show what they were made of. Style was the most important aspect of skateboarding to the Zephyr team, and they pulled all their inspiration from surfing. They would bend their knees deep, and enjoyed riding the concrete like they were riding a wave, dragging their hands on the pavement like Larry Burtleman. Burtleman would touch the wave as he was surfing, dragging his fingers across it. This move in skateboarding became known as a Burt and is still in skateboarding language today to refer to dragging fingers, or planting a hand on the ground and turning around it.
The skateboarding of the Zephyr team was unique and powerful. At the same time that they were sidewalk surfing, skateboarding was growing in popularity in other areas of the US. For the rest of the country, skateboarding was slalom (riding down a hill back and forth between cones) and freestyle. Freestyle skateboarding is mostly dead today, but back then it was a huge part of the sport. Imagine ballet on a skateboard, or mixing ice skating with skateboarding. Freestyle was supposed to be graceful and artistic.
Changing Skate Boarding Forever • While the Zephyr team had nothing to do with freestyle skateboarding, they were familiar with slalom. Bicknell Hill ran down from the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop, and the Z-boys loved to set up cones and practice Burts and slalom on the hill. The Zephyr team also had four grade schools in the Dogtown area that they would skate at. These schools all had sloping concrete banks in their playgrounds, usually because the school was built into a hill, or had water drainage issues. For the Z-boys, it was a great place to skate. It was in these places that each skater developed his or her own style. But they still had further to go - in the hands of the Zephyr team, skateboarding would be changed forever.
The Birth of Pool Riding • California had a record drought in the 70's, which caused a lot of people to empty their swimming pools. The Z-boys saw opportunity, and they dove right in. They would sneak into people's back yards, skate as long as they could, and then run when the police showed up. First the team would just ride the pools, enjoying the flow, but pool riding evolved quickly. Each day each skater would try something new. They would push themselves and each other. They were always looking for a fresh new pool to ride. They even went as far as to bring pumping equipment and pump any remaining water left in some of the pools they found. They also defended each pool from outside skaters with the same ferocity as they defended the Cove.
The Del Mar Nationals • The Del Mar Nationals • And then in 1975, the famous Del Mar Nationals were held in California. Skateboarding had risen back in popularity enough that a company called Bahne Skateboards held the first big skateboarding competition since the 1960's. The Zephyr team showed up in their blue Zephyr shirts and blue Vans shoes, and changed the world. The Del Mar Nationals competition had two areas - a slalom course and a platform for freestyle. The Zephyr team mocked the freestyle competition, but they entered anyway. The crowd loved thier low, agressive style, Burts and inventiveness. They were like nothing anyone had ever seen.
Dog Town Articles • Also in 1975, Skateboarder magazine re-launched. In the second issue, Craig Stecyk began a series called the "Dogtown articles" with his first article called "Aspects of the Downhill Slide". These articles told the story of the Dogtown team. Craig's photography was even more inspiring than his surfboard art, and his articles fanned the flames of the skateboarding revolution that had started at Del Mar.Only a few short months after the Del Mar nationals, the Zephyr team was ripped apart by the fame and popularity that they had won. Skateboarding was on the rise, new skateboarding companies were cropping up, and more competitions followed with even larger cash prizes. Everyone wanted a piece of the Zephyr team, and Jeff Ho couldn't compete with the money his team was being offered. The Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop closed down soon afterward.
The Zephyr team did get together for a while at a place they liked to call the Dogbowl. This was a large pool on a huge private estate in the rich area of North Santa Monica. By that time, they had all gone their own ways, but there at the Dogbowl they were able to hang out together, one last time. • Each member of the Zephyr team moved on, some to bigger and better skateboarding, some to other things. A small group of outcasts from the slums of Dogtown had changed their own lives, and the world, forever.
Freestyle Skateboarding • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeRMmdmw4qc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmpWc7qppTg
Down Hill Skateboarding • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOaTOC6onwE