7.28.2004

Surf/Skate
In the 70's skateing had a huge revival. All the kids were cruising around on skateboards in a very 70's sort of fashion singing pop hits by Forgiener, Boston, and even the Beach Boys. We did not realize that our unkempet hair and our shoeless feet was to be thought of 70's fashion, we were just doing it, so only in hindsight were our actions in a 70's sort of fashion. Our toughskin jeans, cut off shorts, our wide variety of colors on our Gap cords, and our corny t-shirts were just what we wore...not a fashion statement that the Indy Rockers of today have adopted, what they are saying I do not know. At this point in time the homemade skateboard was as common as the store bought skate. Kids were still riding wooden planks with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. The equipment varried.....metal wheels were lesser than clay, and clay were inferior to poly urathane. There were those with the roller skate mounts holding the wheels and then people who were riding store bought boards with actual skateboard trucks, the wider the cooler. Those of us with older brothers or sisters were lucky enough to score some outdated hand-me-down equipment. Maybe a BANZI Board, or a Kryp-Stick, or a Logan Earth Ski....shit....a Nash board would have been better than handmade wooden plank red with racing stripes that I was riding....well, I stole from my sister and then sent it down the gutter and into the sewer.....I said nothing/pretended it had never happened....lucky for me that same sewer had the magnatism for skateboards that certain trees have for kites and when someone when down there to pull out their board, they came up with sister's board. It was returned. Oddly she did not beat my ass for this incident, got lucky and caught her in a good mood, but I doubt I was bold enough to borrow it again.
In downtown Bethesda there was the Sunshine House...the local surf and skate shop. It was a small free standing house painted a god aweful yellow almost as bad as the schoolbus yellow I recently painted my garage...the sidewalk out front was covered in wax. Cool guys worked there....cool guys hung out there. I was too young and too uncool to hang out there.....I made a few passes through there but was overwelmed by the cool atmosphere.  I was not even cool enough to own a Sunshine House t-shirt until late in the game. An 8th grade girlfriend gave me my first and my sister gave me some hand-me-downs shortly after...some of which were once the property of her cool muscle car driving skater/surfer somewhat sketchy boyfriends. Sketchy in an old school way, not in a jaded modern day way, they were more like the bad boys of the day....marybe more like Jeff Spicolie from Fast Times or Moocher from Breaking Away.

The late 70's faded and skateboarding was forgotten by most. But in the 80's skateboarding had a revival, at least subculturally within the fringe punk scenes. Ramps were popping up in suburban backyards everywhere.  The equipment evolved. Boards and trucks were wider, there were adaptations to aid in the new tricks of the changing sport. Rails on the base of the board to aid in grabs, curb slides, and Rock and Roll slides. The bird was a nice little adaptation that mounted on the rear truck to aid in protecting the rear truck's kingpin for going up and down curbs. There were tail savers and nose bones, and even little pieces of plastic that mounted on the trucks so that when you grinded you were grinding the plastic and not the metal trucks.  Status was achieved not just through the riding, but how "thrashed" each part of the board became. Wheels were worn from carving turns, trucks were worn to the axle from grinds, and the decks themsevled got battered and bruised from countless crashes.  Ramps added vert, vertical that is. They added vert, vert, and more vert. The guys catching air went higher and higher....as for me....I was a land dweller. Never mastering the domain of the ramp, always more comfortable on the street doing bonelesses and kickflips, or just getting wacky with an old bicycle inner tube wrapped around the board held tight in my hands.....holding the board snug to me feet as I leap up over curbs and obstacles.

During this same 80's era snowboarding was also evolving. Burton had come out with an evolution of snowboards. Each model was too expensive for me and my needs. But there was always some one who showed up at the local sledding hill and was willing to share. There was the Burton Backhill, the Performer, and the Woody. None of which worked all that well. Either the hill was not steep enough, the snow was not deep enough, or their were too many people running up and tackling you as soon as you started down the hill. As amazing as the invention of the Snowboard may have been, there was as much ignoracy as genius in the creation. Durning first ten years of snowboarding the creators failed to look to its snow loving cousin the ski for advice. The downhill ski has a metal edge, the snowboard had a metal fin or a piece of metal bolted to the side, but never a metal edge. All I can think of is how stupid it would have been for the mountainbike to try and start from a clean slate and not to borrow from the road bike, the cruiser and the motorcycle. Had they not borrowed from that technology the wheels could have easily been square for the first 10 years.

enough with this rant
it is more of a walk down memory lane for me
no direction
no meaning
if I only had some images to tell the tale
guess these will have to do

 




Dogtown and Z Boys
Riding Giants




 

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