In the mid 1970’s, skateboarding finally got a foothold and didn’t let go. The urethane wheel, sealed bearings, and the kicktail were the answer and skateboards haven’t changed since. In 1975, I published “Skateboard Magazine” and promoted the magic rolling board in every way possible. We ran the United States Skateboard Association and held every type of competition you could imagine, including the Signal Hill Speed Run. The events were freestyle, slalom, speed run, bowl riding, vertical, past vertical pipe, bank slalom, high jump, barrel jump and wall ride. These we featured in the magazine.
The next was what else can we do on a skateboard? We went through a tunnel of fire, launched with a hang glider, put on ice blades, attached a sail, put a skyrocket on the bottom, drilled holes in the axles and glued lighter flints in the holes so you could grind and spark, put a bungee to go over your feet so you could get air and take the board with you, etc.
I skateboarded before I surfed, and most surfers skate or have at one point. The body positions are the same, the bottom turn, cutback and go to the nose, sidewalk surfing.
Next, we made this combo unit to unite the two sports (a ’70s single fin pintail and 28-inch kicktail Kanoa skateboard). The spot was Royal Palms in San Pedro, the site of one of the first Katin Team Challenges. The first rider up was the reigning world skateboard champion at the time, Russ Howell, but he was unable to make the transition. The next was local, hot, goofy-foot Dwane Forester who finally did the deed and documented the marriage of the sports.
– WORDS AND PHOTO BY JAMES O’MAHONEY