December 19, 2014

Denny Riordon: Bridging the 70's and 80's

Early on in my skateboarding life, I fell in love with the Denny Riordon "People in My Head" graphic as advertised in TWS in 1988. I still consider it one of the great bits of skate art, though -- regrettably -- I have no idea who actually did the graphic. Here was the ad in question:


Denny's original sponsor was Kryptonics and later Toxic. Whenever this deck comes up on collector forums, the response is always the same: there is a strong positive response to the deck art as a strong bit of skate art very indicative of the 1980's period. Riordon's deck came in both a full sized street model and a smaller freestyle model. Here are a few variants of the Riordon "People in my head" model, coming from both Kryptonics and Toxic:


Denny was an East Coast skater who skated freestyle, ditches, pools and pretty much whatever else he could find to skate. He saw action in both the 70's and 80's eras of skating, skating against and with the likes of both Stacy Peralta and Rodney Mullen.

I recently came across a great interview with Denny. Here is an excerpt:

So what other things were there to skate? You mentioned backyard pools. Were there any because I never had any when I was growing up?

Well there were a couple of things that happened. There was always two weeks in the spring time when the pools would get drained for cleaning. Like Town and Country pool on Cranbrook Road, we would go in there and dry it out and make sure it was good. We’d ride those pools for two weeks straight. We’d go from one community pool to the next. It got to the point where sometimes there would be 30 guys in there in the shallow end and cops would come and we’d all scatter. Twenty minutes later, we’d all be back. Another one of our not so smart ideas, that we did anyway, was we would look for newspapers piled up in front of houses and if they had a pool and we’d drain it.

[LAUGHTER]

We had a pump system and we would literally drain pools and skate them until the people came home. That was pretty much what was going on, it was the whole Dogtown thing. We were doing the same thing, just on the other coast.

To read the entire article, see: Going Home Again: A Journal of (Re)Skateboarding.

As a little bonus, here is Denny's second freestyle run at the 1989 Savannah Slamma:

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