O’Mahoney Mondays – 1974 – The United States Skateboard Association

O’Mahoney Mondays: 1974 – The United States Skateboard Association

WORDS BY JAMES O'MAHONEY

1974…. The skateboard is the most basic travel tool you can ride. When they get the anti-gravity ones from “Back To The Future” things will change. Now that we can ride anywhere, the cement safaris leave every day, searching out drainage ditches, empty pools, spillways or any hard surface that aims downhill. It’s sort of like the gold rush with a strike just a block away – anywhere. We can see the writing on the wall; the skateboard is here to stay.

In the early ’70s, there were a few pee-wee contests in the wind and everyone was so stoked, it was uncontainable. Surfing had a similar stoke, but the amount of dues to pay took a long time. If you lived at the beach, “bitchin,” but 99% didn’t.

Skateboarding was instant gratification, but you had to hold back or beef. That was the lesson learned, right? Anyway, when you are young, you’re made out of rubber, plus, the road rash was the badge that made you in the club.

In 1974, we realized that we were the pioneers of a Cali-based phenomena, plus, we were in the position to organize the sport and to try to steer it in a safe and professional way. We got our license and registered business name, The United States Skateboard Association.

What do we do first, now that are the NFL of the sport? Standardize competition with rules, define the areas of competition (like ice skating and ski racing) tricks and speed. We sanctioned our first contest at the Santa Barbara City Skateboard Championships and started to fine tune rules.

Let the contest begin. Tom Sims was using ski poles in the downhill slalom, not okay… No push sticks. Stevie Monahan brought a table as a freestyle prop to skate off. Okay.

The two-day contest was a success and the news spread. Cities were lining up for their own gigs and we were swamped, so we sat down and created the first skateboard contest kit. This was a standardized set of rules and regulations that enabled any city, Parks & Rec, etc, to put on a safe skateboard contest with both venues: freestyle and slalom. Competitors take your marks!

 

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JAMES O'MAHONEY 
INTERVIEW BY DIBI FLETCHER
PHOTOS BY JAMES O'MAHONEY,
SUSANNE MELANIE BERRY,
TERRI CRAFT, DAN LEVY
AND SCOTT STARR.

A TOUR OF "THE MUSEUM" 
AT THE SANTA BARBARA SURFING MUSEUM
WITH JAMES O'MAHONEY. 
VIDEO BY DAN LEVY

JAMES O'MAHONEY 
SKATEBOARDING HALL OF FAME
ICON AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
FILMING BY DAN LEVY
FILMING BY VANS DAVEY.

ABOUT JAMES O'MAHONEY
Here are just a few of James O'Mahoney's 
vast and admirable accomplishments...

1965- WON THE CITY SKATEBOARD SLALOM EVENT -ASPEN CO.

1974-UNITED STATES SKATEBOARD ASSOCIATION-FOUNDER

1975- WORLD SKATEBOARD ASSOCIATION – STANDARDIZED THE RULES FOR SKATEBOARD COMPETITION WORLD WIDE

1975- SKATEBOARD MAGAZINE-PUBLISHER

1975- FIRST SKATEBOARD TRICK BOOK- PUBLISHER

1975- SKATEBOARD HANDBOOK – PUBLISHER

1975- FIRST MT BALDY ASSAULT+WALDO AT MT BALDY THE MOST PUBLISHED SKATEBOARD PICTURE IN HISTORY OF THE SPORT -1ST TO SHOW YOU COULD GET PAST VERT. FEATURED IN OVER 50 BOOKS & MAGS

STEVES SOUTH BAY X CALIBER SKATEBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS

FIRST WORLD INVITATIONAL-LONG BEACH ARENA

FIRST SKATEBOARD TOOL-ELEPHANT BRAND-CO DESIGNED

FIRST SKATEBOARD SHOE-UNIROYAL-DESIGNED

FIRST BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS-RUNWAY SK8PRK

FIRST VERT CONTEST-RUNWAY SK8PRK

FIRST PAST VERT CONTEST-SUPERBOWL 1 so. bay

FIRST BANK FREESTYLE-RUNWAY SKATEPARK

FIRST BANK SLALOM CONTEST-RUNWAY SKATEPARK

FIRST CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS-CHARLOTTE

FIRST CITY CHAMPIONSHIPS-HUNTINGTON BEACH, SANTA BARBARA, VENTURA, LONG BEACH ETC.

GUINNESS BOOK WORLD RECORD-SIGNAL HILL SPEED RUN-4 YEARS

GUINNESS BOOK WORLD RECORD-SKATEBOARD HIGH JUMP

GUINNESS BOOK WORLD RECORD-SKATEBOARD BARREL JUMP

GUINNESS BOOK WORLD RECORD- 360’S

DERBY DOWNS SPEED RUN-AKRON OHIO

FIRST SKATEBOARDING RONALD MCDONALD-I WAS THE 3RD RONMC

FIRST SKATEBOARD FOR ICE-MADE

FIRST WORLD MASTERS INVITATIONAL -NEW YORK NASSAU COLISEUM

EAST COAST SKATEBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS-CHARLOTTE N.C

CBS CHALLENGE OF THE SEXES- ROBIN ALAWAY VS CHRIS CHAPUT

CBS CHALLEENGE OF THE NETWORK STARS-GRIZZLY ADAMS VS CHRISTY MC NICHOL

FIRST SKATEBOARD SAFTY FILM- WITH RAPHER JOHNSON-OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST

FIRST SKATEBOARD SHOE-UNIROYAL -KEDS

SKATEBOARDING AS AN EVENT IN THE ITA PRO TRACK TOUR(OLYMPIC MEDALIST). THIS WAS THE FIRST PRO SKATEBOARD SLALOM

ADDING SPARKS AND SKYROCKETS TO SKATEBOARD-LIFE MAG 76 YEAR IN PICTURES

1975 FIRST TO SKATEBOARD THROUGH THE TUNNEL OF FIRE

UNDEFEATED AT DEL MAR

2004 FIRST WORLD RECORD WALL RIDE ORGANIZER WITH THE U.S.S.A. / W.S.A. FOR THE GUINNESS WORLD BOOK OF RECORDS

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JAMES O’MAHONEY INTERVIEW BY SUSAN MELANIE BERRY, TERRI CRAFT, C.R. STECYK III AND SCOTT STARR

“O’Mahoney is one of the most interesting people on the planet. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting “O”, consider yourself charmed. For those who haven’t, allow me to summarize… James O’Mahoney is ornery, sarcastic, incredibly intelligent, unique, witty, reserved, charming, understated, humble and respectful. He is a surfer, skateboarder, hang glider, pilot, collector, photographer, race car driver, stunt man, safari survivor, patriot, adventurer, competitor and a world class waterman. “O” is also one of the first skateboard media moguls, the keeper of the great Pete Peterson surfboard, king of the U.S.S.A., proprietor of the legendary Signal Hill, proud owner of the “Apocalypse Now” surfboard and a rebel with too many causes. He’ll tell you a story so fanciful and outrageous, that you’ll never forget the lesson contained within. He reminded me that the handing down of history and tradition is a vital and important duty. Here’s to “O” – a true hero.” – WORDS BY TERRI CRAFT

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JAMES O’MAHONEY INTERVIEW BY DIBI FLETCHER

“James O’Mahoney is a fascinating person to talk with. Whether it’s about his vast range of endeavors or fearless pursuit of pleasure, you’re instantly caught up in his enthusiasm for life that’s extremely intoxicating. As a life long collector of anything that caught his imagination, you get the feeling when talking to him that he’s gathering information from you as he would on a scavenger hunt as you scramble through the memories of more than half a century. Every time we speak it’s like discovering all over again a unique unexpected pleasure in someone that’s managed through all the ups and downs to really stay stoked and maintains the free spirit that most of us lose along the way. His myriad of accomplishments and the images that he’s captured over the years are a stunning affirmation of living life on the edge, and that’s something to be admired.” – WORDS BY DIBI FLETCHER

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