June 24, 2014

Ride It Sculpture Park, Detroit

Photo: Joe Gall Photography
Relatively speaking, I am not too far from Detroit. It is only a couple of hours away. Whenever I have gone to Detroit, I've always been quite amazed by the sight of the abandoned homes, commercial buildings, even multi-story buildings that have no windows. I have a friend who is from there -- born and raised -- and so he's taken me through some of these areas more than once. It's quite a surreal thing admittedly, and yet at the same time, you can also witness some absolutely glorious pieces of architecture peeking out from behind some of that -- the classic example perhaps being Michigan Central Station. When you see that, you both get an echo of what Detroit was, and also a sense of what it can once again become.

I mention all of this in relation to an initiative that has recently come to my attention by way of the @TonyHawkFoundation and the @RideChannel. It details a skatepark success story in Detroit, one which the Tony Hawk Foundation has been a part of, and which Tony Hawk himself has visited. Take a watch. Be inspired.

June 23, 2014

John Moyaert's Work "Goes Pro" (Via Jeff Grosso)

John Moyaert's work has already been shared here only recently but I wanted to just share a bit more. There has been a great response to John's woodburning works both here and elsewhere online, but what may not be as publicly known is that John's work has not only attracted the attention of the skateboard collecting community, it has also caught the attention of certain pro skaters themselves.

One such pro skater is Jeff Grosso who saw John's work somewhere online and commented upon it. John then in turn contacted Jeff and what resulted was a collaboration with Grosso sending John two blank decks so that John could do up a couple of Jeff's boards. Here was the result, with Jeff Gross himself showing off the boards.

June 20, 2014

Rodney Mullen: Skater, Thinker, Creator, Teacher

Rodney Mullen has always struck me not only as an immensely talented skater (obviously) but also as extraordinarily talented individual generally. His brilliance in skateboarding comes across through his skating of course, while his obvious intellectual gifts come across through his speech and through his ideas.

I remember seeing a video shot of him (I'm not certain where, it may have been the Bones Brigade documentary) when he was in his later teenage years (or possibly early 20's) and there he was in the video, shown working on his studies, holding a copy of René Descartes Meditations -- Descartes was one of the primary philosophers of the Enlightenment and his Meditations was one of his core writings. As one who loves both skateboarding and philosophy, I took great pleasure in seeing this -- but it also didn't surprise me one bit, particularly in Rodney's regard.

So what's the point in all this you might ask? In the first instance, I find it personally interesting and, in the second instance, I believe skaters are often wrongly perceived by outsiders in a very stereotypical, one-dimensional way. Ask your typical person on the street about their view of the kind of person who is a skateboarder (or even just interested in skateboarding) and my own sense is that they'll likely come up with all sorts of images, but I am betting that very few of them will relate to skaters as innovators, creators, or thinkers. Well this is not the skate scene that I know. Skate culture is by its very nature extraordinarily creative, packed with creative thought and creative impulses. People need to think more deeply about skating, skate culture and skateboarders.

Rodney Mullen has certainly been an excellent ambassador in this regard, speaking at least twice at the famous TED Talks. For those who are unfamiliar, TED is a non-profit organization which is focused on the spread of ideas; it is focused upon thought, culture and the life of the intellect. Here are Rodney's TED talks.

June 19, 2014

Two Great Skateboarding Photo Sets

There are some pretty great Flickr groups out there and I wanted to share a couple with you today that I've found particularly edifying to go through.

First, there is the Santa Cruz Skateboards group.

This particular group is, as the name suggests, dedicated to the skateboards of one of the great company names in skateboarding. It includes everything from Santa Cruz decks, stickers and apparel to skaters who have skated with Santa Cruz.

The second Flickr set I wished to share is not a group, but rather the Flickr set of a particular user "sreptone" who has amassed quite a collection of decks, including some that you do not see particularly often.

Check them out -- but be prepared to spend a little time!

June 18, 2014

Jay Adams: Dogtown Legend

While these aren't newly released videos, some skaters are such legends that it really doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned. Their stuff is worth seeing and seeing again, and worth sharing and re-sharing in case anyone missed it the first time or if they are only now just coming back onto the skateboarding scene.

Jay Adams is a legend in the skateboarding community; one of the original Dogtowner's. As I said recently to a friend, he's one of the guys that puts the "O" in "OG". Jay was born February 3, 1961 in Venice, California and was one of the original Z-Boys. Of him, Tony Alva said that while "some kids are born and raised on graham crackers and milk, he was born and raised on surfing and skateboarding."

For more information on Jay Adams, see his Wikipedia article. Now, the videos:

Jay talking about growing up in Dogtown:

Jay on the history of Venice:

Jay skating now:

Jay skating then:

(Photo source: Tracker Trucks)

June 17, 2014

A Sneak Peek at "Agents Provocateurs"

"Agents Provocateurs" from Gingko Press is a forthcoming publication which I only recently mentioned. It is a book whose focus is upon controversial skateboard graphics that pushed the boundaries of skate art as they stood by the time the 80's has passed. Skate art has often had something of a street or rock edge to it, be it the original Dogtown boards with their local street/graffiti type of art, or the various skulls and bones of Powell Peralta and the reaper or iconic screaming hand of Santa Cruz. Somewhere around the early 1990's, associated with the advent of companies like World Industries, skate graphics took yet another turn, this time one which was more cartoonish in style on the one hand, but one which also pushed the limits of skate graphics further than they had been up to that point.

Now that said, a little caveat before I go any further: while rightly recognizing the fact that the limits were indeed pushed, as well as acknowledging the contributions of those artists and companies who helped to push them, I do want to be careful to not over-emphasize this point too much -- as though I were suggesting that the skate art prior to this time was somehow lacking in these general qualities of edginess, etc. I would instead propose that we should understand it as a case of an evolution in skate art which built upon what had already come before, which, in its own right, was itself more shocking at the time it was first produced. This has, in fact, been a typical pattern within the world of art more generally -- at least in modern times. What was once considered edgy, breaking new boundaries, suddenly becomes normal and routine by way of familiarity; newer forms are then adopted to restore that edgy, shock value. Picasso's cubist pursuits were, for example, rather shocking in their time when the edgiest matter to that time had been the weighty strokes of Cezanne's still lives and landscapes, or the light experiments of the Impressionists -- each edgy and ground breaking themselves in their own time and in their own way.

Left: Picasso's "Aficionado." Right: Cezanne's "Mont Sainte-Victoire." The Cezanne was ground-breaking at its time but, compared to Picasso's analytical cubist work on the left, is tame. Picasso's work was, however, influenced by and built upon Cezanne's own work.

The dadaists then took this further -- making Picasso himself look rather tame in many regards -- with their anti-art movement, producing the likes of the Marcel Duchamp's urinal as art. On the story goes. Similarly, when street style graphic art began appearing on the Dogtown boards, this was a big deal compared to boards where only company names and logos were all that were seen on them. Many of us can likewise remember a time when the skulls and bones of the 80's scene were considered quite edgy and rebellious -- never mind even the name "Natas" as (mis)interpreted by the over-eager, devil-seeking crowds of that time who looked for demonic subliminal messages in records played backwards or for whom D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) was a satanic corrupter of youth.

As I have already said, none of this is to deny any of the edginess or value of the 90's skate art of course (nor is it, incidentally, a commentary on the book in question as I haven't yet read it!), it is merely a caveat intended to not to lose sight of the edginess and "punch" of earlier skate art in its own way and in its own time. Art is often a progression which builds upon what came before and I think it fair to say that skate art is no different. So while the skulls and reapers of the 80's had perhaps become familiar to many by the time the 90's rolled around, a 101 Natas Boom -- a deck whose art was a clear and recognizable reference to an iconic photo of the NASA Challenger disaster of 1986 -- certainly had not.

Media photo of the Challenger disaster (original source unknown). Inset of 101 Natas Boom deck.

It is within that context that we approach Agents Provocateurs, a book which is focused on another "boom" in skate art, a kind of Cambrian explosion of new skate art and skate artists who were prepared to push the limits yet further and in new and different directions.

Skate Culture is pleased to be able to provide to you, courtesy of Gingko Press, with a preview of a few of the pages from within this book. (Click on the images to make them larger.)

Seb Carayol
Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skateboard Graphics
224 pages, Hardcover
8" x 10" (254 x 203 mm)
130 color illustrations, English
ISBN: 978-1-58423-527-9

June 16, 2014

The Dogtown Big Boy

Dogtown needs no introduction (and if it does, well...). I saw today that Dogtown Skateboards have announced that they have now gotten in their Big Boy Pool boards. The Big Boys measure 9.375" x 33", have a 16" wheelbase, a 6" nose and a 7" tail.

I'm loving the design of these, especially the lighter one on the right:

It's not clear to me yet, but it looks like it might sell for $69.00 USD. Keep a watch on the Dogtown website if you're interested in one. (I know I will be.)

Whether you're skating pools or not, imagine cruising around on one of these. For a long while I debated whether to go "pop" or old school for a rider, then I realized it didn't need to be an either/or but could instead be a both/and. In view of that, while I have a newer shaped board to ride, I'm also on the lookout for something more old school; something like what I had back in the '80's. The Dogtown issues always capture my attention in this regard and this particular issue is is no exception.

Of course, Dogtown Skateboards have other really interesting old school type offerings:

While you're at it, make certain to head on over to their Facebook page and give them a like.

June 14, 2014

"SK8FACE" Documentary on History and Evolution of Skate Art

Given that this site is itself focused on skate art and culture, the following documentary really caught my attention. Many of you have likely already heard of it, but for the sake of those who perhaps haven't, it's a documentary that is currently in production under the direction of Matt Bass, coming out of (where else) Venice, CA. called SK8FACE and it deals with the history and evolution of skate art. The makers of @SK8FACE note that they have interviewed over 60 skaters and skate artists, including the likes of Sean Cliver, Mark Gonzales and Neil Blender, have travelled to numerous art shows around the world and collected together a significant amount of archival footage and photos.

Here is a summary of the documentary:

SK8FACE is a documentary feature film about the History and Evolution of skateboard art. The documentary spans 5 decades and features over 60 iconic artists.

Where did skateboards come from? How did they evolve? Meet the masters who changed the face of Art History and Skateboard Evolution. If you like grip tape, paint markers, pens, pencils, curbs, ledges, concrete, plywood, power tools, sawdust, grinding, art, design, photography, music, film, video, xeroxes, silk screening, spray paint, urethane, sealed bearings, going fast, old school, new school, making stuff or skating stuff, you have arrived.

There are two videos which you really need to watch if you want to get a sense of things.

If you want a bit more of a taste, they have created a number of micro-movies all around 30-40 seconds in length which you can watch. Here are just a few of them.

While the filming is essentially done for this film, it would appear that they are still in need of backers to help fund the final completion of it. If you're in a position to help them, please do. This is about the history of skating, skate art and skate culture. It's worth it.

Make sure to check out their Facebook page and give them a like as well and spread the word.

June 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Mr. Mountain

Who can forget the very first Bones Brigade Video Show where recent Skateboarding Hall of Fame inductee, Lance Mountain, pops out of the chimney, skates off the roof and down onto the street? It is an iconic scene in skateboarding history, tied to the words "Good Morning Mr. Mountain." Well today we wish Mr. Mountain a very happy 50th birthday!

To celebrate Lance's 50th, Thrasher Magazine has put together this fantastic video. Once again, happy 50th birthday @LanceMountain and thank you for your humour and for all you've done as an ambassador for skateboarding over the years. Many more years to come.

June 12, 2014

Slave Skateboards, Ben Horton and the Tradition of Skate Art

The symbiotic relationship between skateboards and art has been such a quintessential part of the skateboard scene for so long now that it may be difficult for many of us to imagine any situation otherwise. Still, at one time, boards were such that their design was often limited to the logo and branding of the particular skateboard maker, with little else in the way of art to be found on them. Moving into the 1970's things changed and the 1980's and 1990's saw a great flourishing of skate art with some of the most iconic examples of skateboard art coming from those eras -- names like Wes Humpston, Jim Phillips, Sean Cliver, Marc McKee along with others will quickly come to mind here.

But what of the contemporary era? I quite often hear the lament made that skateboard art has taken a downward turn in present times. Whether that is the case I really have no position -- and personally, I would prefer to avoid generalizations. Besides, to even form such an opinion I would need to take some time to consciously sit down and look at the different contemporary offerings and for the most part I find my attention primarily focused on the aforementioned eras instead. That being said, there have been some contemporary boards which have indeed caught my attention art-wise and in a very positive way; that I can say. I wanted to share one such example today coming from $LAVE Skateboards.

$LAVE Skateboards is under the art direction of Ben Horton. Ben, speaking in an interview on Memory Screened in early 2012 on the subject of skateboard art commented that while skate art can carry a message, "...I don’t think it’s necessary. Every graphic doesn’t need to be profound. Some ideas are just silly and meaningless, which is great. Skateboarding should always stay free. It’s an environment/Industry that has few restrictions on graphics and a great place to voice your opinion if you have one." This commentary struck a chord with me, for as one who has been involved in the art world more broadly with paint and brush, I can speak from experience that while some art does indeed carry an in depth message and meaning, at other times it is much simpler than that, more "merely aesthetic." To some extent I believe meaning and message in relation to art is as much a matter of private interpretation as anything. We bring our own experiences to the table and from that derive some sort of personal meaning. In other instances we may simply determine we "like" something with little understanding beyond that. But I digress.

The particular series which I wished to share from $LAVE is their "Wasted" series of boards:

Whether there was any particular message intended here in the art I know not. What I do know is that the deck art here strikes me and is of the sort which, I think, is firmly rooted in and an extension of that great tradition of skateboard art I have already mentioned. In part it is the use of color, in part the use of the entire board, but also just the overall design and composition, as well as the nature of the contents which have a certain edge to them. Here is a closer view of the Allie Oil Spill deck:

$LAVE Skateboards actually has a number of other offerings from different series which are well worth taking the time to take a look at. As just one example, here is the Anthony Schultz Howlin' Wolf Deck:

Do head on over to their site for a browse. They have some great stuff going on there from what I can see and what I've shown you here is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Skater Profile: Spidey De Montrond (and his new pro model)

Most of those who read this site will be more than familiar with Spidey De Montrond who skated with Santa Cruz Skateboards from 1983-1989 and who presently skates with Pocket Pistols Skateboards. For the benefit of those generations who may not be as familiar with Spidey, or for those who are just interested in knowing more about him, Skate Culture recently asked him if could provide a short summary of his skating career which we could publish in this article. Here is how Spidey summarized his skate career for us:

"My first time on a skateboard was in the summer of '73 in Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, California. It was a Black Knight, which would very soon be dated technology as it was in the winter of '74 that I saw some guy on a board that made none of the noises that clay wheels made; this would be my first urethane experience and it was mind blowing to say the least. It changed my skate world but the bug had yet to bite me. I will tell you this though: the moment I stepped on a skateboard I knew I had something that was special.

"In Cabrillo Beach I honed basic sidewalk surfing and started speed-bombing hills. In the summer of '74 we moved to Monterey Park, Ca. and it was there, in 1975, that I got my first real skateboard with Chicago trucks and Stroker loose ball bearing wheels on a non-kick tail fibreglass deck. I continued on sidewalk surfing and bombing hills, wearing out my right Vans tennis shoe in the process. While hanging out at the local 7-Eleven I became turned on to Skateboarder Magazine and in 1976 a new skate-park would be built in nearby Montebello. I went to Montebello to skate but was caught forging my mother's signature so, consequently, I was only able to skate it after it had closed down.

"August 1976 would become a defining moment for me. We moved to the hideousness of El Monte, Ca. This place felt to me so removed from anywhere remotely good or desirable that this became the deciding moment when I was hooked on skating. I focused all my time, dreams and energy on skating. Almost immediately I started building crude ramps to ride. It was in El Monte that I manifested my dream of becoming a pro skater. I entered every bike shop parking lot contest doing slalom, high jump, freestyle and most 360’s. Then I found ways on the streets, by way of moped, to skate the now closed down Montebello Skatepark, as well as every ditch, reservoir, pool and school yard that was good (which was slim in El Monte). There was a spot I’d heard about (sort of a legend), the V Bowl, and it was not easy finding this gem but I did. Eventually I found the bus system and travelled to the skate-parks around which were Wild Wheels in Covina, CA, Marina, Upland Pipeline, New Wave Skatepark (Poman Pipe & Pool), Lakewood and Whitter SkateCity which would become my home park. All through '76-79 I entered every contest I could and did well again. In late '79 I had injury which would take me out for part of the winter and spring 1980, but I still skated with my cast on and by 1981 I was ready to enter the ASPO series. That year of 1981 was a landmark year as I was in most of the top two spots in my age group. Then in the Fall of 1982 Paul Schmitt of Schmitt Stix sponsored me at the Whitter Turkey Shoot in November of that year. In January of 1983 I received a call from NHS Inc./Santa Cruz Skateboards and I was offered full sponsorship. Then in fall of 1985 I was offered a model and turned pro at the Capitol Street Style. I rode for NHS until January of 1989 as well as Quiksilver, Converse and Rector. Currently I ride for Pocket Pistols Skates, Indy, PI Wheels, Bones Swiss Bearings, 187 Killer Pads, and S One helmets. I am very humbled and grateful to still skate and to enjoy my huge skate family all over the world."

-- Spidey De Montrond

Spidey always took a great deal of personal, active involvement in his own art direction, be it his boards, his stickers, his advertisements and so forth. The classic Spidey deck has, in the collector market, become one of the most sought after decks on the market, with prices reflecting this -- one sold on eBay within the past year or so for approximately $4000.00 USD.

The classic Santa Cruz Spidey deck. Image source unknown.

One of the other iconic graphics that Spidey became known for was his Spideybuck sticker. This particular graphic has been translated in an updated form to a new deck put out by Pocket Pistol Skateboards:

Here is Spidey in the present day, skating on his new pro model deck:

Spidey's new pro model is 9.625" x 33.5" with a 6.625" nose and tail and is hand screen printed in seven colors. It can be purchased for $54.99 USD from PPS Skateboards.

June 10, 2014

Burnt Tributes: The Work of John Moyaert

Those who browse Facebook collector groups such as World Wide Skateboard Collector will already be familiar with the work of John Moyaert, but for those who are not, you're in for quite a treat I think.

John has taken the concept of a "tribute deck" to an entirely different level by creating reproductions of classic decks, not in the typical sense of making a copy which looks as much like the original as possible, but rather by re-creating them using his wood-burning skills; the finished product is an utterly unique tribute that, on the one hand, cannot possibly be mistaken for the original product, but on the other hand, is exacting in terms of capturing the essence of the design in question.

John at work on a Tony Hawk Chicken Skull

Most recently, John shared his wood-burnt replica of a Steve Caballero "Dragon n' Bats" board. While his work is always impressive, for me, this one took the cake:

Here's just a little sampling of some other work by John.

June 09, 2014

Book Review: Skateboard Stickers

While this is not a newly released book, my thought is that any good book related to skate culture is worth a review.

"Skateboard Stickers" was put together by Mark Munison and Steve Cardwell and published by Laurence King Publishing. It is, as the title clearly suggests, a book about skateboard stickers. Now anyone who has been around the skate scene for any time will know how fundamental skate stickers have been as part of skate art and culture. Skate stickers extended the creative impulse that saw art put on the bottoms of skateboards by the likes of legends like Wes Humpston and Jim Phillips. Some of the most iconic graphics in all of skate art can be found on skate stickers and in an era where OG decks from the 70's and 80's are skyrocketing in price, some have turned to skate sticker collecting as a more affordable way to reconnect with their skateboarding past.

"Skateboard Stickers" collects together, in full colour, 350 different skate stickers from different eras and includes many of the most well known classics and some others which you might not have seen before. On the plus side, I was very pleased to see stickers such as Denny Riordon's included in the book. I was, however, a little disappointed that such iconic stickers as the Tony Hawk chicken skull, the original Caballero chinese dragon, the Rodney Mullen chess board or the Santa Cruz Slime Balls were not included. My main thought here goes toward that individual who wants to have a book of classic skate art, and of course, those are particularly iconic in this regard (and also happen to be amongst some of the more expensive stickers to buy if you want an original).

That said, whatever disappointment one might feel at those stickers not being included, there are indeed a number of absolute classics that will certainly please. With a few exceptions, most of these are stunningly reproduced within the book.

One of the big pluses in the book is that it is not only comprised of pictures of skate stickers (though that is what it primarily is of course), but also includes some short chapters by pre-eminent skate artists Wes Humpston and Jim Phillips. Skaters are also represented in other short chapters and numerous short quotes throughout the book, all on the subject of skate stickers or skate art more generally. These add a layer of depth to the book that make it more than a mere 'picture book.'

If you choose to get this book -- and I would certainly recommend it if you are at all interested in skate stickers -- you are not only getting a fairly broad survey of skate stickers, you are also getting a brief introduction to skate art more generally. There are, of course, other books about skate art, but this book sits nicely alongside those, with the particular benefit of focusing itself on skate stickers specifically, all for the reasonable price of $10.95 USD on Amazon.com.

June 08, 2014

The Devil's Toy

The National Film Board of Canada has made this interesting little film available, "The Devil's Toy." It's an interesting and fun watch. Here's the synopsis:

This short 1966 documentary dedicated "to all victims of intolerance” depicts the dawn of skateboarding in Montreal. A new activity frowned upon by police and adults, skateboarding gave youngsters a thrilling sensation of speed and freedom. This film - the first Canadian documentary ever made about the sport - captures the exuberance of boys and girls having the time of their lives in free-wheeling downhill locomotion.

Give the film a watch. It falls into the "skateboarding is not a crime" category.

The Devil's Toy by Claude Jutra, National Film Board of Canada

June 07, 2014

Lance Mountain's Comments on the July 2014 Issue of Thrasher Magazine

So here is an example of where old school meets new. Enjoy the always entertaining Lance Mountain taking us on a tour and commentary on the July 2014 issue of Thrasher Magazine:

June 06, 2014

Book Notice: "Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skate Graphics"

Gingko Press is perhaps best known amongst the skate crowd for its publication of Sean Cliver's books, Disposable I and Disposable II (the "Bible"), but it has recently announced that it is coming out with another new book related to skate art, Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skate Graphics. They describe the book accordingly:

Skateboard graphics took a quantum leap in offensive potential after the sport was reborn aesthetically and otherwise in the ’90s. Artists such as Marc McKee, Todd Francis, Mike Hill, Michael Sieben, Ed Templeton, Sean Cliver, Moish Brenman, Fos, Ben Horton, Alyasha Owerka-Moore, Eli Morgan Gesner, Jeremy Fish, Brice Raysseguier, Johnny “Mojo” Munnerlyn, Alex Kramer, Todd Bratrud, Winston Tseng and others brought dark humor and politically incorrect topics to the forefront of their illustrations.

These artists intended not just to decorate and sell skateboards, but also to raise serious issues and skewer values, deliberately evoking reactions from viewers.

Agents Provocateurs asks new questions of this boundary-pushing artistic genre and its place over the years. Did it save skateboarding? Is it still possible to address such controversial topics twenty years later? What’s left once all the envelopes have been pushed? These 100 boards and the artists behind them will form a clearer picture.

Looks like a very interesting offering to say the least. One can simply look at skateboard art like one might look at any other art: just for its surface value. At this level, it can certainly be interesting in its own right, or others might be tempted to write it off or condemn it out of hand. More interesting, however, is to move into the realm of the artist, skater or skate company who commissioned the work to find out what they were precisely trying to say with their graphics in the same way that one might explore the philosophy of a particular abstract artist, moving beyond simple aesthetic considerations to deeper one's. For those that already appreciate this work, it will only add to it, while for those who condemn such works, they might find that such things might just change their perspective.

Seb Carayol
Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skateboard Graphics
224 pages, Hardcover
8" x 10" (254 x 203 mm)
130 color illustrations, English
ISBN: 978-1-58423-527-9

June 05, 2014

Natas, Lance at the Skateboarding Hall of Fame

Recently the Skateboarding Hall of Fame (and Museum) in Simi Valley, Ca. inducted Natas Kaupas and Lance Mountain into the same -- an honor that certainly both are more than deserving of. Here are their acceptance speeches (I would have loved to have heard Skip Engblom's introduction of Natas.)

June 04, 2014

Christian Hosoi Personal Rider Sale

Christian Hosoi has just announced on his Facebook page that he is selling off some his own personal boards that he rode back in the 1980's -- completes as well as decks. He instructs interested collectors to go to his Instagram account to keep up with what he has on offer from day to day.

Image source: Christian Hosoi

A great opportunity here to own a real piece of skateboarding history!

What It's All About?

The thought had crossed my mind to write up a few paragraphs of text which tried to get at the core of what I am hoping to accomplish here. Then it dawned on me: a picture is worth a thousand words:

Thrasher Magazine, September 1984, cover detail

(Alright... well maybe just a few more words!) The photo, of course, is taken from the September 1984 issue of Thrasher Magazine and famously shows Natas Kaupas riding off a wall as photographed by Craig Stecyk in Santa Monica, CA. (In fact, I think it was this wall on Ocean Park Blvd., though, if so, the mural changed since that photo). From what I'm given to understand, that was the first time that trick was shown and it blew people away. Many apparently wondered if it wasn't the equivalent of "photo-shopped" for its day.

So why is this photo what it's all about here? This photo is first of all located in that part of the world where skateboarding became what it is. Second, it shows a skater of the sort and from the period that I intend to feature heavily. Third, it was photographed by an eminent skate photographer, himself a legend, one who is attached to the Dogtown scene and era. Finally, it features the kind of creativity that is inherent to skating, both in terms of the physical creativity of manipulating one's board, but also artistic creativity. (And finally, it's just a great shot!)

Why Another Skateboarding Site?

Well, why not? The internet and social media are all about sharing, and I will quite happily be looking at those sites and linking to them from time to time. But that being the case, I also hope to make some original contributions. That could take the form of book reviews or movie/documentary reviews related to skateboarding, it could be original photography or original thoughts and writings.

Sites like this also work best when readers contribute their own things they find interesting. In view of that, if you find an interesting bit of skate art, an interesting deck, old skate photos showing you in action, or if you want to contribute your own skate art, skate photos or the like, please do send them my way!

I'm looking forward to the ride.