VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SK8 WALL OF FAME

INTERVIEWS WITH AARON ‘FINGERS’ MURRAY, BART SARIC, BOB BINIAK, C.R. STEYCK III, CESARIO ‘BLOCK’ MONTANO, CHRISTIAN HOSOI, CHUCK KATZ, CRIS DAWSON, DANNY BEARER, DOUG SMITH, ERIC ‘TUMA’ BRITTON, ERIC DRESSEN, GEORGE WILSON, GER-I LEWIS, JAMES MUIR, JEFF HO, JOEY TRAN, JOSH ‘BAGEL’ KLASSMAN, LANCE LEMOND, MARK MUNSKI, JAY ADAMS, JEF HARTSEL, JESSE MARTINEZ, KELLY JACKSON, PAT BAREIS, PAUL CONSTANTINEAU, PAUL HOFFMAN, PEGGY OKI, RAY FLORES, SKIP ENGBLOM, SUSANNE MELANIE BERRY, TIM JACKSON, WENTZLE RUML IV, and WES HUMPSTON.

INTERVIEWS BY TERRI CRAFT AND DAN LEVY
INTRODUCTION BY DAN LEVY
PHOTOS BY DAN LEVY, C.R. STECYK III, CHUCK KATZ, BLOCK, TONY FRIEDKEN, BART SARIC, LANCE LEMOND, WYNN MILLER, TED TERREBONNE, GLEN E. FRIEDMAN…

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME VENICE SKATE WALL OF FAME

Dogtown is where skateboarding was born and raised. Many of the innovations in skateboarding were brought to the spotlight and pushed to the limits on the streets of Venice and the walls of the old Pavilion. With the roots of surf/sk8 style indigenous to Dogtown, Venice is home to multiple generations of amazing skateboarding talent. Over the years, Dogtown has become a name recognized all over the world, yet Venice has never had a real skatepark, until now.

“Both the skateboard industry and the methodology of modern surfboard building were largely developed in the general vicinity of the proposed Venice skate park. It is ironic that there never has been any formal recognition of these achievements. Establishment of a public skatepark would provide both a much needed recreational resource as well as pointing out how instrumental the Venice region has been to the evolution of these sports.” – C. R. Stecyk III

From the beginning, the fight for a skatepark in Venice Beach, California, was riddled with enormous roadblocks and triumphant victories. In 2000, The Venice Pavilion (also known as ‘the Pit’) was destroyed. The Pavilion was regarded as one of the most historical skateboarding landmarks in history, and its demise signified the end of an era. Skateboarders from all over the world felt like a piece of their own home had been taken away. This emotion provided the fuel to begin the fight for a concrete skatepark to be built on the newly-leveled sacred grounds.

Local skaters began to organize. Spearheaded by Ger-I Lewis and Jesse Martinez, the VSA (Venice Surf and Skateboard Association) began to raise awareness of the need for a skatepark in Venice. Generations of Dogtown skateboarders were ignited and united in their determination to get the skatepark built.

On October 3, 2009, the hard work of many will come to fruition with the opening of a multi-million dollar, 16,000 square foot, world-class skatepark in Venice. The Venice Skate Plaza, referred to by the locals as the Dennis ‘Polar Bear’ Agnew Venice Memorial Skateboard Park, is a long-awaited dream come true. A great deal of respect and gratitude is due to those who never gave up the fight to bring a proper concrete skatepark to Dogtown. We’d like to give a special thanks to Jesse Martinez and Ger-I Lewis who fought, from start to finish, to make this skatepark happen. This is not just another skatepark. This is the beginning of a new era for skateboarding in Venice.

The Venice Sk8 Wall of Fame is our dedication to the legacy of skateboarding in Venice and to its future.
VENICE WALL OF FAME…
THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR SK8BOARDING

This is a list of skateboarding legends, photographers, skatepark builders, media and the local skate community that helped to bring recognition to skateboarding in this area, plus the folks from the City of Los Angeles and the L.A. Recreation and Parks Department, and sponsors of the V.S.A. that facilitated the building of a skatepark in Venice. We’d thank them all for their ongoing efforts in the name of skateboarding. If we left any names off the list by accident, we apologize, and we thank you, too.

AARON MURRAY
Murray is the quintessential example of how aggression can translate to art. If pool coping had a natural predator it would be the trucks of Murray’s board. He has and always will be a soldier for the neighborhood and his legacy continues on throughout generations to come. A proud father, husband, and businessman he remains an inspiration to skaters worldwide.

JIM MUIR
Owner of one of the longest running skate companies in history, Dogtown Skateboards, Jim is a celebrated surfer and skateboarder. He was pioneering the limits of what was possible on a board since the ’70s. Known in the neighborhood as ‘Red Dog’, James Muir is a cornerstone of the skateboard culture and is heavily respected by the skateboarding family.

CHRIS “COOKSIE” COOK
Skateboardings’ very first pirate on a board, Cooksie will roll into a session and take control. If you look across the coping and see Cooksie getting ready to drop in, he is going, so just witness and learn. A prominent ripper from the legendary Alva team Cooksie continues to skate hard and fight for skateparks all over the world.

BOB BINIAK
Faster than a speeding bullet, Bob Biniak pushed boundaries on what was possible early on in the formative years of skateboarding. One of the most competitive skaters of the early ’70s, you better bring your best to every session with Biniak, and because of this many of his friends became better skaters just to keep up. Biniak knows how to push it to the limit.

ERIC ‘TUMA’ BRITTON
With style, for days and an uncanny ability to throw down anywhere anytime, Tuma is simply amazing to watch and skate with. Eight months ago, Tuma’s first son, Taj was born and Taj already seems to share his father’s passion. From shredding the Pavilion walls to flowing the new skatepark in Venice, Tuma has remained true to his Venice roots.

CHRISTIAN HOSOI
One of the most naturally talented skateboarders in history, Christian Hosoi is nothing short of amazing every time he rides. Style and power are intrinsic, yet Christian is not shy when it comes to adding flare to his repertoire. Probably the first skater to have an entourage everywhere he goes, Hosoi continues to progress and blow minds all over the planet.

JEFF HO
Jeff Ho is a godfather of skateboarding and surfing. A master surfboard shaper and skateboard builder, Jeff’s original Zephyr Surf Shop team revolutionized skating and paved the way for what has become legend today. Jeff continues to be a staple in the industry and has made a long-lasting impact on skateboarding and surfing worldwide.

CRAIG STECYK III
C.R. Stecyk III showed surf-style skating to the world through his outstanding photographs and essays. The rebirth and progression of skateboarding could very easily have gone unknown, if Craig had not been there with a camera in hand. Skateboarding simply would not be what it is today without C.R. Stecyk III.

SKIP ENGBLOM
Surfer, artist, shaper, actor, and proverbial godfather of Dogtown, Skip embodies the competitive spirit of Venice. He is known as one of the original founders of the Zephyr shop, along with Jeff Ho, and Craig Stecyck III. Owner of Santa Monica Airlines for over 30 years, Skip cares about surfing and skateboarding, and it shows with his lifelong dedication to our culture.

WES HUMPSTON
An artist with an attitude, Wes defined a generation and a culture with his methods. If you tried to surf P.O.P. back in the day, you may have met him, after you got something thrown at your head and he was staring down at you laughing. Sarcasm and wit are his driving force and his artistic contributions to skateboarding in Venice and Dogtown are invaluable.

CHUCK KATZ
Chuck Katz’s contributions to the Venice skate scene are priceless and it is safe to say that Venice skaters would not be where they are today without his work. He single-handedly kept Venice skateboarding on the map in the ’80s with his photography in Thrasher. Not only a great photographer, but also a world class camera operator for major motion pictures, Chuck has the ability to push skaters to their highest level with an entire neighborhood backing his play.

CESARIO ‘BLOCK’ MONTANO
There are many facets to what makes up the one and only Cesario ‘Block’ Montano. Many describe him as the underground Mayor of Venice. Others know him as a world renowned photographer and documentary filmmaker, but his friends know him as someone they can always rely on. Owner of Venice Originals skate shop, Block has done more for this neighborhood than anyone will ever know.

BABY PAUL CULLEN (R.I.P.)
Baby Paul was born and raised a surfer and skateboarder. His number one priority throughout his life was always getting a wave, whether it be water or concrete. He would always be the first to say yes to a session, no matter what. He came up through the neighborhood ranks by developing his own style and tricks, and he will not be forgotten. R.I.P. – B.P.C.

JEF HARTSEL
A modern day poet with an old soul, Jef Hartsel brings the heat to the session. His contagious, positive energy pushed him to the spotlight in the ’80s when he was riding for the infamous Alva posse. Hartsel has always represented for the neighborhood, even while living the aloha-spirited life in Hawaii, and continues to create art on and off his board.

DENNIS ‘POLAR BEAR’ AGNEW (R.I.P.)
Regarded around Venice as one of the most influential skater/surfers of his time, Polar Bear was not only an influence on his board, he was an inspiration off as well. Although he left this world, Polar Bear will live forever through the hearts and minds of all that knew him. The new Venice skatepark is the Dennis ‘Polar Bear’ Agnew Memorial Skatepark in honor of his legacy.

JAY ADAMS
Jay Adams is one of the most spontaneous skaters on and off his board. You never know what is going to happen when you hang with Jay, but you will never forget it and you will have fun. He pushes the limit in every facet of his life and is in many ways the epitome of what skating and surfing are all about, complete freedom. 100% skateboarder for life.

TONY ALVA
Aggressive, flowing and innovative, Tony Alva’s surf style of skating continues to hold an unrivaled aesthetic appeal. From the Del Mar contest in 1975 to the backyard pools of 2009, Tony has truly made a name for himself in skateboarding. Tony Alva is undeniably a master of his art, and continues to skate backyard pools daily all over the California coast.

JESSE MARTINEZ
Jesse is the man in Venice. The Mess is one of the most amazing skaters on earth to watch ride. His all or nothing approach every time he steps on his board, coupled with raw aggression, puts him at the top of many skaters lists of all time best. Jesse’s skateboarding legacy and continuing efforts brought the skatepark in Venice to reality and all respect is due.

NATHAN PRATT
A man of mystery, Nathan lurks behind the scenes in skateboarding only showing face when the moment is necessary. His work at the Zephyr shop back in the day primed him with both street and business smarts, while he learned how to shape a surfboard or two as well. Under the tutelage of Jeff Ho and Skip Engblom, Nathan picked up the best tips on surf/skate style.

PAT BAREIS
Pat is all or nothing every time he rides. He stands out in a crowd in the water or on the concrete. Another pioneer from the old school way of riding, Pat has pure style in all he does. Add to this his antics on stage when he is performing with his band, and you have the epitome of the surf/sk8/punk Venice lifestyle. Pat is always down for a session and will always give it 100%.

MARTY GRIMES
Marty is a charger on his board. His ability to draw what seems like impossible lines in pools makes him an innovator every time he rides. Completely humble by nature, Marty has the uncanny ability to push a session without having to say a word. His skating speaks much louder. Marty is always a guy you want on the scene. He just makes everything a little smoother.

STACY PERALTA
Stacy was one of the few lucky skaters back in the ’70s who traveled the world and introduced skateboarding to the masses. Stacy helped keep Venice and Dogtown in the spotlight with his award-winning documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys. Still skating, he continues to document and create history through the many outlets he has access to.

PEGGY OKI
Peggy was told she could not compete with the girls in some contests back in the day because she was better than most guys. Her style and grace on a board set the highest standard for what other female skaters could aspire to. A well known artist with a heart of gold Peggy is one of the greats. Her ongoing enviromental efforts are just one example of her committment.

JOSH ‘BAGEL’ KLASSMAN
Surfer, Skater, photographer, and musician Bagel can do it all. Always down for his friends and always there in times of need Bagel is part of the glue that holds the Venice scene together. He was there from the beginning, skating at the Pavilion and the walls at the beach. When he wasn’t skating, he was taking photos of the boys and documenting radical sk8 history.

KELLY JACKSON
Kelly was making it happen during the ’80s era of Dogtown when new tricks were being invented on the streets daily. His ability to learn and perfect new tricks very quickly made him a player in the game during one of the most progressive eras in skateboarding. His musical ear is as astute as his skating ability, whenever he is DJing a club and his perservering attitude is contagious to all. Kelly is also a true skateboard historian with hundreds of stories to tell. This Jackson bro can throw down on a board and his one-of-a-kind style sets him apart from the majority.

ERIC DRESSEN
Eric Dressen is simply a powerhouse. Eric’s grinds are a nuclear explosion with sparks flying and a deafening sound. He possesses a limitless bag of tricks and he will not hesitate to throw them down anywhere he sees fit. Eric displays what natural talent looks like on a skateboard. From the early days of pool riding, turning pro at age ten, riding Marina Skatepark, and then turning to the streets, Dressen was on fire, no matter what the terrain. Not only is he a World Champion many times over, Eric D. is one of the coolest cats in skateboarding.

SHOGO KUBO
Style oozes out of Shogo whenever he is on a board. His ability to make the most impossible looking maneuvers look the easiest was unrivaled by anyone in his class. From the Z-Boys days, through the Marina Del Rey Skatepark era, Shogo made an impression on his bros and the younger generation of skaters that were right there watching him through the fence and dreaming of the future. A true innovator and all around humble guy, Shogo changed skateboarding history with his one of a kind approach and smooth surf/sk8 style.

PAUL CONSTANTINEAU
P.C. is one of the early originators of the surf/skate lifestyle. He had it down. Surf when there are waves. Skate when the waves are flat. Enjoy the down time as much as the riding time. He never worries about things in life that most people stress about on a daily basis, P.C. has the care-free attitude and at the same time he gets things done. His energy and good spirits keep everyone around him in a good mood. A true artist and inspiration, he is the guy you want at any session. He brings the flow and the aggression to every block of coping. Everytime you skate with PC it’s an adventure, and there’s never a dull moment along the way.

SCOTT OSTER
To this day, Oster’s style stands out above and beyond most modern day skaters. He has this amazing ability to snap at the coping, tweaking and twisting his body in a way that is simply artful. Oster has traveled the world in the name of skateboarding and his influence is still being felt to this day through the next generations of skaters. He has the best G-turn in the history of skating hands-down. He is an all around skater and still completely rips to this day. He is one of the best to come out of the area.

TIM JACKSON
Tim Jackson, OG, ripper, mind blower. Mr. Jackson has tricks up his sleeve that most would not even be able to imagine. Tim’s adaptable style of skating was born on the walls of Venice where the attitude of skate anything and everything was born. A father of three, Tim’s kids know he holds it down in all situations of the shredable variety. Tim represents Venice in every way. His aggression on his board and his loyalty to his neighborhood and his bros, makes him a local favorite. Tim Jackson is the real deal.

GEORGE WILSON
When George would hit the coping in a pool, it was like watching an explosion of style and power. He is literally surfing concrete like it is the biggest wave he has ever caught, fully committed on every run. He is not the type of skateboarder who jumps off his board. He rolls away clean or he takes the slam. His influence over the generations that followed are invaluable to the surf/skate style of Venice. George is an all around nice guy that’s always looking out for his bros. Future generations of surf/sk8ers have yet another mentor to emulate and learn from.

RAY FLORES
Ray Flores is walking skateboarding history. One of the first pool skaters in the area, and one of the first skaters on the Pepsie team, this Dogtown native has been an integral part of skateboarding since the very beginning. Flores’ shop, The Board Gallery, is the place to go for a lesson in skate roots, and a look at a real skateboard museum in the making. At the age of 57, Ray continues to skate hard and enjoy all aspects of his lifelong passion. He’s always down to tell you a good Dogtown story, if you’re down to show the proper respect to the neighborhood.

PAT NGOHO
Pat Ngoho’s skating is smoother than a freshly sauced up coping block. Consistency, style and neck-breaking speed are at the top of Pat’s performance resume that he so gracefully projects to the world anytime he steps on a skateboard. Still progressing at the age of 47, this legend is unstoppable. He’s an all terrain skater who will take it to the limit at any pool, pipe, ramp or bowl you can find. Pat makes his art happen on canvases and on his skateboard, and he’s rad to hang with and skate with any day of the week.

JOHN THOMAS
One of the early innovators during the street revolution of skateboarding, John Thomas was one of the first to boardslide down the concrete rail on the back of the Pavilion. He was one of the guys who took the power and aggression out of the pools and translated it to tricks he did on the streets. His style and committment to pushing the envelope pushed other Venice skaters to take it to the limits. J.T. not only excelled on his skateboard, he also became a top-notch graphic designer and artist. His passion for life and skateboarding fuels everything he creates.

JOEY TRAN
A true street skater, Joey had the ability to learn how to ollie into tricks very young that led him to be able to take tricks to obstacles that seemed impossible. His style of skating is spontaneous and controlled at the same time. Like most of the surf/skaters in Venice, Joey has a seek and destroy attitude on his board. He is always fun at any session as his personality is such that he does not have to say a word and his friends will look at him and smile, knowing something funny is going to happen at any given moment.

UHURU HIGHTOWER (R.I.P.)
The truly unique and special skateboarders are amazing on their skateboards as well as off. Uhuru was a super nice cat to call a friend. He always looked out for his bros and continued to represent in Venice by skating there daily. Some of his last years of skateboarding in Venice went down during the final era of the Venice Pavilion. He’d clear the roof gap with ease and then land and roll up onto a wall and just shred it up. Uhuru was an inspiring dude to skate with because of his endless supply of energy. He has left the physical world, but his style and spirit live on in Dogtown skateboarders for life.

JEF HARTSEL
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Most of the tricks, style, mentality, and attitude of modern street skating and skaters was first created and introduced to skateboarding here. Period. Venice… it’s where the city meets the beach… Ghetto by the sea… Gnarly by nature.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It will give them a better place to skate, develop, and elevate towards being, and becoming, a world class skater.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Dogtown is where all of our dreams and skate adventures either departed or arrived. We were just trying to have as much fun and get as gnarly as we could. We were so lucky, there was D.T. O.G.s like Jay Boy, Polar Bear, Red Dog, Ancell, Skip, Alva, Ray Flores, George Wilson, Cahill, Grandpa…always around us. They broke us off a piece of something that was rare and genuine, a part of skate history and our culture.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
This is a tough one for me… but I’m going to have to say Jay Adams. Jay Boy has been skating and surfing Venice since the very beginning and will continue to do so… He’s the O.G. Vato Sk8rat that’s put Venice on the skate map since forever.

RAY FLORES
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
If you had to pick a place that personifies and epitomizes skateboarding, it would have to be Venice. There is no other place like it. Venice is very unique in skateboarding because there are so many varieties of styles of skateboards that people ride. You don’t just see street boards. You see slalom boards, downhill boards, and so many kids are riding old school boards. There are so many kids now that want to ride clay wheel boards. They think it’s cool. I don’t think you see that anywhere besides Venice. There’s a huge amount of individual style. I think that’s what’s unique about Venice. Everywhere else, everyone is skating the same, acting the same, looking the same. In Venice, everyone is different.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
At one time, Venice was known for boxing arenas on Abbot Kinney. Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray used to go there and train when they were really young. Venice was really well known for boxing because they had all these boxing coaches and arenas right there to build these future boxers that became world champions. It’s the same thing now with the skatepark. We have this skating arena and that’s where people are going to train. There are going to be some world class skateboarders right there. You can go skateboarding and when you start sweating, then grab a surfboard and go straight out to surf. That alone is going to make for a more unique style, a more relaxed Venice surf style of skateboarding.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
In the ’70s, I remember just cruising down to the Pavilion and there would be all different kinds of ramps set up. People were doing monster wall rides. It’s always changing. All of the bums would burn the ramps for firewood in the winter, so we’d get there some days and there would be no ramps. The Pavilion was the birthplace of gnarly street skating because you’d go there one day and there would be ramps and the next day it would just be ashes in the corner. You’d have to skate the benches and walls or whatever. That’s how it evolved.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
My favorite skateboarder from the area would have to be Paul Cullen. He epitomized Dogtown. He was such a little surf/sk8 rat. The reason I loved him so much was because he wasn’t just a skateboarder, he was a really good surfer as well. He was such an enthusiastic person, always ready to surf or skate. I like Tony Alva because he’s such a smooth innovator and a great natural skateboarder. Christian Hosoi is the greatest skateboarder that ever lived as far as pure natural talent. Timmy Jackson was just Venice hardcore all the way. The way he rode the walls and his Venice style was amazing. Jesse Martinez is so smooth and he can make anything look so easy.

GEORGE WILSON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice had a major influence on the early days of street skating. Guys like Jesse Martinez, Eric D. Aaron Murray, Tim Jackson and Scott Oster. They started doing things that seemed virtually impossible. Wall rides, blasting huge airs off jump ramps etc. Everybody who was anybody wanted to and skate in Venice. There has always been a mystique to the place.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Any time you have a local park, all the local kids naturally get better. It also gives them a positive place to burn their energy. I can attest to the fact that having a local skatepark can be a positive force in your life, and help keep you off the streets. Venice is an easy place to get caught up. This park is so over due.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Just hanging with all my friends, I’ll never forget some of the killer ramp to wall sessions. Jof’s ramp in Venice had some memorable sessions.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Polar Bear was the best skater to ever come out of Venice. A testament to what a local park can do was having the Marina skatepark. I witnessed P.B. progress to a peak that was untouchable. He was hands down one of the best in the world. No one could touch him in the Dog Bowl. I’m so glad I got skate with him every day. I will be forever indebted to him. Rest In Peace!

CHUCK KATZ
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
The biggest influence Venice had on skateboarding was the style the skaters introduced to the sk8 world. In the ’80s, it wasn’t the G Wagon Beverly Venice you see today. There was a heavy gang and drug influence. It created a much tougher environment and dictated the way these kids grew up. This ultra aggressive attitude took to the water and the concrete! I call it Fluid Aggression.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
This is like an Olympic Training Center for Skaters. The ultimate training grounds! There is a lot of history behind this piece of land and so I think the kids today not only want to make their peers proud, but also want to challenge each other, to out skate each other!

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
My favorite memory of skating in Venice is 1985 to 1990. I have a whole book full of memories, I can’t pick one that stands above the rest, but I could sit down and tell you stories for hours and hours about that period of time!

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
From My era in the ’80s that easy Eric D.,Tim Jackson and Aaron Murray, but the King Of Venice is and always will be Jay Adams!

MARK MUNSKI
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
The way we skated the streets was way beyond anything anyone had imagined. The O.G. innovators were so aggressive. We’d skate anything that looked like a wave. We’d get in these empty pools and slash under the lip. We weren’t doing above the lip tricks where the guys are standing straight, scarecrow stiff style. We were aggro-slash. We were trying to throw spray with the coping. It was super aggro with carving turns and making your wheels squeal. It was all about surf style and it was our aggression that opened up doors during that time. We were all about skate, thrash and having fun. Skate hard.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It’s going to advance all the talent that’s already there. It’s a great expression for all of the skaters that came from that generation. All of the Venice guys have kids now, and for them to come up and have a place to look up to their dads is pretty cool. You’ve got the sons of the lords of Dogtown out there. It’s a great place for them to grow up and be expressive. Some great talent is going to come out of that park. The kids are just ripping, like James Muir’s kid, Teague. These kids are coming up under their dads’ wings. I can’t imagine what they’re going to be doing.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I’d have to say when we had a ramp to wall set up against the Pavilion. Everyone was trying to see how high up the wall they could go. Aaron Murray and Jesse Martinez were getting the highest and most aggro. They were tearing it up. Jesse would go crazy when he wouldn’t make something. He’d start yelling and throw his skateboard across the grass. Some of the ramps we built out there with Hosoi, Masao, Cooksie and Jesse, we’d just go out there and do our thing and have a blast. Making the movie Thrashin’ was really fun, too. It was a blast to be skating and getting paid for it.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I would have to say Tony Alva. Tony is just an all-around great guy. I was just with him in Europe a few years ago and he’s still ripping. Christian Hosoi is a generation later, and he also opened doors that we never thought were possible to open. Between those two skaters, I think they were the biggest influences on skateboarding in the world.

ERIC DRESSEN
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
You had Tony Alva and Jay Adams who really influenced modern day skateboarding with their radical style of skateboarding. It was the whole style aggressive skateboarding. Venice influenced street skating by making something out of nothing. In Venice, we didn’t have nothing, but if there was something, we’d make something out of it and skate the shit out of it.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
I just think the Venice Skatepark is so good, the way they designed it. Some gnarly stuff is going to be going down there for a long time. The park was made so well and there are so many different ways to hit it that crazy shit is going to go down all the time. Hopefully, some local kids will come out of there.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
My favorite memories were in mid ’86, with Jesse, Aaron Murray and Christian, blasting off a six-foot jump ramp and busting judo airs at 20-feet plus. Another memory was on my 18th birthday, I bought myself a brand new Alva board and went to Venice Beach. This big Mexican guy wanted to try my skateboard, and I said, ‘I just bought it. I don’t want anyone to ride it.’ He was like, ‘Come on.’ So I gave it to him. He went off the side of the ramp and snapped my board in half and then laughed at me. That guy was Block. Little did I know that he was going to be one of my best friends for the rest of my life.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Definitely, the ruler of Venice Beach was Tim Jackson. He ruled the beach with his wall rides and stuff. He was doing stuff that no one else could do. He was definitely the ruler. He was street skating down there on the walls and stuff. Pretty much everyone down there was my favorite skateboarder. The guys that turned pro down there like Christian, Murray and Oster and the homies were all rippers. Everyone down there was a ripper.

DOUG SMITH
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice is a surf town and a lot of the kids that skated and influenced a lot of people happened to be from Venice or Santa Monica. There were other people in the U.S. that skated too, but Southern California had the swimming pools in abundance. That pushed it forward. When skateboarding left the schoolyards and went into the swimming pools, that changed it. Venice influenced everything. Once you go to Venice, it rubs off on you and sticks with you. It influenced everyone that skated there.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It’s going to be the proving grounds. If you want to prove yourself, and you’ve got the moxie, you can do it. That bowl has a lot of over vert and it can break bones. That’s the Bone Crusher bowl. In one bowl, it imitates half of a half pipe, where there’s a channel jump on it. It’s really innovative stuff. It’s going to be around for a long time. Just being in that park is unreal. You’re in another world, and to think, it was an old oil rig back in the day. No one ever thought it would be a skatepark.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Skateboarding for the guy that did the Muppets, Jim Henson. He came down one day and asked if we would skate in the background while they filmed the Muppets. I was like, ‘Yeah.’ I thought that was cool. I was in Fraggle Rock in the background.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
John Baum looked like he was surfing. His style was cool. I liked watching Jay Adams and Polar Bear a lot. Skating was just another part of their surfing. I liked Hosoi’s style. He was really relaxed on critical stuff. He was full of style.

JAY ADAMS
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I think it’s gay. [Laughs]. I think it was a thing of the past to begin with. Venice was an influence very early on in skateboarding. You had the Z-Boys and the Z-Flex guys. Then you had the Christian Hosoi and Scott Oster era. That era in the ’80s was a big influence. I haven’t been around there for 20 years, so I don’t know the influence now. It used to be in the magazines all the time. Venice was known for style. A lot of great surf style came out of Venice.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skatepark will change everything. Venice will become a big influence in the skateboarding world again. It will bring it back. Venice will have a big influence again, which it seems to have lost along the way, in the last few years. I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but I think I’m right.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
It was just going down to the beach with my surfboard in my hand, going surfing. I like learning how to skate as a kid. Every alley and every curb, and every driveway from Venice to Santa Monica, we pretty much knew them all. I spent so much time on my board as a kid. It was my only form of transportation. I didn’t even ride a bike. We just rode our skateboards around. We knew every inch of the area. That’s one of my best memories. Being a kid and living on your skateboard and knowing every little curb, ditch and everything there was to skate. We didn’t know every backyard, but we got to know the backyards with the pools in them.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
It was all of the Venice guys like Polar Bear and Froggy. Later on, it was Jesse Martinez and all the Venice Breakwater boys. We always had a real strong crew of guys. Polar Bear and Jesse Martinez were real strong influences of mine. If you consider Christian Hosoi from Venice, even though he wasn’t from Venice, he spent a lot of time there. Scott Oster wasn’t from there, but he spent a lot of time there. I’m including all of them even though they weren’t raised in Venice, but they were all Venice skaters. We had a lot of different skaters from different areas come to Venice and become Venice skaters. My favorites were Polar Bear and Jesse Martinez. Jesse was 100% skateboarder.

JESSE MARTINEZ
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice influenced skateboarding in many ways. Kareem Campbell came from here. Julien Stranger came from here. Venice put a harder edge on it. We impacted skateboarding with a lot of different styles that came out of this area. We had a fine variety of street pros in the ’80s and they all had different styles like Natas Kaupas, Eric Dressen, Aaron Murray, myself, Julien Stranger and Kareem Campbell. You had a really fine mix of guys coming out of Venice that influenced the next generation. With all of the wall riding stuff that we were doing back then, it’s still being done today in twenty different ways. I think we had a small to medium part in influencing what street skating is today. There were a lot of bay areas like San Francisco and San Diego and they all had innovators in street skating. Venice had a part in it with its unique street pros.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Well, you’re going to learn how to jump on things to be able to jump ramp like we did. We had a jump ramp, so we jumped. We had walls, so we learned wall rides. These kids today are different, so the park has everything they need to move forward. You have the snake run, thank God, because it will make you learn flow. You won’t be the one trick kind of guy, and just turn around and stop. The kids will learn how to flow. The street course has a lot of stuff they like, so I hope it works out for them. Between the pool, the snake run and the small bowl, it’s going to definitely help the kids in Venice, and produce some good pros in the next five years. It’s going to be a huge impact, for sure.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
That’s a tough one. I guess it would be the original VSA ramp at a friend of ours called Jof’s house. It was a good ramp. It wasn’t huge or nothing. It was eight or nine feet. It had some cool shit to it. It was just a major hang out spot when that ramp was there. They had some pretty wild parties that were quite nutso there. It spilled out into the street for various reasons. Some of my best times were at that ramp and skating our ass off and partying there.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Tony Alva, Jay Adams, those are standard, but there’s a reason for that. Shogo Kubo, Eric Dressen, really smooth, fast, on it. Julien Stranger was pretty reckless and gnarly. Kareem Campbell, back in the day, pretty much was one of the first guys to skate the way that all the street skaters skate today. He was the first guy to skate with that type of style. There are a whole bunch of other dudes. You had Christian Hosoi, Scott Oster, Natas Kaupas. They all stood out.

C.R. STEYCK III
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Historically, Venice was a major center of early surfing with George Freeth, Tom Blake, Pete Peterson, Tulie Clark, Cal Porter, Dave Rochlen, Dale Velzy, Dewey Weber and others being big influences. Makaha Skateboards, Jeff Ho, Zephyr, Dogtown, SMA etc. were all primary movers in how things later evolved. The advanced performance of the many great riders who emerged in the Venice scene is the ultimate proof of its’ primacy.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Give them a place to congregate and change things up.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Riding on the old Lick Pier.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Polar Bear.

AARON ‘FINGERS’ MURRAY
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice and DogTown produced many of the skaters that have undeniably originated, innovated, and influenced skateboarding altogether; throughout generations with its own culture and style… combined with Venice’s unique atmosphere creates an underground vibe to the skate scene here that’s always alluring to the rest of the world!

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The new skatepark on Venice Beach will give local talent in Venice and neighboring communities a great opportunity to improve, and excel their abilities; and be exposed to the inherent style that exists in the truest sense from the originals, and their disciples. The Venice Park should especially give the youngsters and small children an amazing opportunity to become the next great chapter of skateboarding in the history book of Venice Beach!

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
From rollin’ around as a kid, to representing as a pro; from racing thru pedestrians on the boardwalk, to eating asphalt drunk; from just messin’ around to conquering the Pavilion walls! My favorite memories of skating Venice were the days spent just ridin’ with the homies! The Beach is the spot where everyone gathers, skates, surfs or whatever… Back in the day there was the Pavilion and the walls we used to skate. Now we have a world-class skatepark, a stone’s throw from the surf. It’s a dream come true for a lot of people!!

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I don’t know how to answer that; I’ve admired so many things from so many people!

CHRISTIAN HOSOI
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice will always influence skateboarding culture because it’s got such history to it, with the Dogtown and Z-Boys. That was some of the first skateboarding that took surfing and went to backyard pools and ramps and then to skateparks. Venice is the birthing place of it. That’s why it has all this influence. I think it’s been lacking without a skatepark. They opened up a little skate spot, that was so small. It wasn’t up to par to a professional park. At least there were some street obstacles that brought some street skaters down there and it gave them the opportunity to thrive and push skateboarding, but there hasn’t been a really big influence on the competitive side of skateboarding coming out of Venice since back when we were all skating there. That’s when it was all pro skateboarders skating in Venice every single day.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
This new skatepark that Jesse Martinez went to bat for is going to be huge for the future of Venice. It will put Venice’s name back on the map for raising up the best skaters in the world. This skatepark has the pool, the street course, and a snakerun for the nostalgic aspect. I remember going down there with skate ramps on the back of my jeep and that was the skatepark. Venice is the birth place of street skating. Natas and Gonz were doing the first handrails. Eric Dressen was dominating the street scene and he was coming from the pool riding era. He was a pro when he was ten years old at Marina skatepark. I was looking through the fence going, ‘Wow. Look at this kid.’ The Venice walls are remembered as one of the places where street skating started, and now, hopefully, transition and pool skating, since the park is being opened.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Hanging out with Block and the VSA crew. We were down there every single day having the time of our lives skateboarding. We had freedom. We were young. We localized that place, and had so much fun. We had our own contests at the beach to see who could shred the hardest, and that pushed us to excel. There were so many guys that came out of there like Oster, Murray, Dressen, Hartsel, Cooksie, John Thomas, Natas, the Alva team and Jesse Martinez. Block was a big part of it. He’s the mayor of Venice. He’s a big influence on helping kids and keeping them on the right track. He grew up in a family where he was destined for gangs, but he went to art school, got into photography and traveled the world. He’s a famous filmmaker and photographer now, and that all comes from the hunger of the neighborhood. Venice drove us to be the best we could be.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
When I was 9 or 10 years old and Marina Skatepark opened up, I saw Jay and Tony skating the Dog Bowl at Marina. Then my dad ended up managing the skatepark. Marina Del Ray skatepark was the Dogtown/Z skatepark. It was the home of the Dog Bowl and we owned it. Shogo and Jay really took me under their wing. Polar Bear was a huge influence on my life. George Wilson was amazing. These are the guys I hung out with every day at the Marina skatepark. My first free board was a Z-Flex that I got from Jay Adams. My favorite skateboarders were Pat Ngoho, Tony Alva, Bob Biniak, George Wilson, Grandpa Davies, Marty Grimes, Jay Adams and Shogo Kubo. I would say J-Boy was my favorite. The biggest influences on my life were Shogo Kubo, Polar Bear, Block and Jay Adams.

TIM JACKSON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice has influenced skateboarding in a lot of ways. The #1 reason is style, but there’s clothing, tricks, and me wall riding. We took everything to its limit and beyond….

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skatepark will do a lot for the next generation of skateboarding. People from all over the world will come to show their tricks and Venice skaters will take it to a whole new level.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
My favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice was the crowds of people we would bring out riding the ramps, and the cheers of people making me push my limit on wall rides.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I would have to say Jesse Martinez or Murdog. They had true natural style, which made me create my own style.

PEGGY OKI
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
It was the birthing ground for a new cultural aspect of skateboarding.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It will provide new terrain for Venice skaters and an opportunity for kids to practice legally.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I liked bombing the super steep hill in Venice, Marine Street. That one was crazy!

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Jay Adams.

WES HUMPSTON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I think it carried on a no bullshit attitude and just rip it up surf style of skating.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Finding doobies and 714s on the boardwalk as we skated around looking at the girls! Hahaha!

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
The kids will now have a great park to ride and learn from the mentors.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Jay, TA, Biniak, B. Paul, A. Lake, Shogo, Muir, JP, Gary Rosa, Billy Z-Kid, Ray the Rat Bastard. Eric Dressen, Natas, Hosoi, Ngoho, Oster, Murray…

JEFF HO
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I think Venice was the epicenter. There were so many people that came from the area that made historical innovative changes to the world of skateboarding.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It’s a proving ground, a place where the young kids can advance the sport and carry on the tradition.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I used to spend a lot of time in the Pavilion. Back then, it was just freestyle stuff and maybe skating off the tables and benches. Landing it was a big deal.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Shogo, Baby Paul, Muir, Biniak the Bullet, Jesse Martinez, Paul Hoffman…

PAUL CONSTANTINEAU
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice influenced skateboarding by carrying on the radical tradition!

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skatepark will create a place to skate for up and coming skate stars.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
The wood ramps at the Venice Pavilion were the best jam sessions.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Jesse Martinez, hands down!!

ERIC ‘TUMA’ BRITTON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I think Venice made skateboarding cool! No, really.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skatepark is going to put the spotlight on the skateboard community and remind people that Venice is still producing aggressive, stylish rippers.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
The Omega Blast.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Aaron ‘Fingers’ Murray.

PAUL HOFFMAN
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice took the Cadillac wheel and made it really do something. Surf in Venice was not always A+, so skateboarding filled the cracks in the lulls and made legends like Jay Adams and Tony Alva.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Not much more than what we did on the flat in front of the Venice Pavilion and in back alleys of Brentwood. Still, these kids are 300 times better than we were.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Venice was was more of a home base to buy good dope in the ’70s. The ramps that we made in front of the Venice Pavilion were fun but, were only a diversion from the true fun at Paul Revere, Kenter Canyon, Dogtown, Devonshire, etc. Venice was a breeding ground for skate rats.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Polar Bear wins. He was the best skater at the Marina Dog Bowl and the kindest of souls (who was still great in a bar fight). Steve Picciolo,. P.C., Peralta, Jay Adams, Wentzle, George Wilson, Tom Waller, Cahill, Ray Flores, Marty Grimes, Peggy Oki, Mike Olivares, J.P., Muir, Biniak, Baby Paul, Arthur Lake, Shogo, Jose Galan, Cris Dawson, Jimmy Plumer. All of it’s due to Craig Stecyk, Skip Engblom and Jeff Ho.

SKIP ENGBLOM
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice today is mainly a destination, not so much a prime mover like it was.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The park will remake the area in a good way. It will serve as a training ground for the next wave of great skaters from SM/Venice and have a much-needed cash impact into the area businesses.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Being 12 years old and skating down the newly-paved street from above the Venice Circle to the Safeway market on my homemade skateboard.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I have none. I dig them all.

DANNY BEARER
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Stacey Peralta discovered the richest skateboarder in history, Tony Hawk, in Dogtown!

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Give them a place where they can improve on their professional moves.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
My photo shoot with the son of the father of the skateboard, Curt Stevenson.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Steven Picciolo, Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva with whom I skated and showed the best spots to ride in LA.

CRIS DAWSON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice is the birthplace for many underground movements (art, music, culture, and politics) through history. Venice took the price tag out of the word ‘influential’ and gave it back to the local people.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skate park will give a new generation of skaters the opportunity to blaze new trails, attain a higher level of efficiency and start a new list of heroes from Venice.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I was on the Hobie National Exhibition with Ray Flores, Tom Waller Windy Bearer, Coleen Boyd and Sue Rowland. In ’75, I was on the Zephyr team. Stecyk Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom acted as mentors to a new crop of skaters and watched them take our maneuvers to a higher level.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Paul Constantineau, Jay Adams, Wentzle Ruml, Jim Muir, Peggy Oki, Chris Cahill, Jose Galan, Arthur Lake, Shogo Kubo, Baby Paul Cullen (RIP) and Paul Hoffman. None of this would have been possible without Jeff Ho, Craig Stecyk lll and Skip Engblom.

KELLY JACKSON
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
The skaters in Venice had a reputation for being on the edge, at the peak of performance and style, and the whole world took notice. It was a full time representation of art, music, culture and it gave the world the 100% skateboarder. Venice was a place for skateboarders to visit. People saw it and came from around the world, and then brought the lifestyle home. Kids saw it in magazines and videos. It was different and it either appealed to you or not, but it effected everybody. When the Venice boys came around, fools had to step up their game.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
Finally, the beach community will have a local park to skate, If the environment reflects the traditional culture, it will be positive, and a good place for kids to be instead of in trouble. We had world champions come out of Venice without a park. I can’t imagine a limit to the potential.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Can’t really say there is a favorite cuz we had so many good times,. We had some of the best skaters in the world all skating together at times, I didn’t think about it too much at the time, but that is a cool thing and a blessed reality, not just a memory.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Jesse Martinez.

GER-I LEWIS
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
The Venice influence was surf and skate. Without the Venice skateboarders, the world of skateboarding wouldn’t be the way it is today.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
This park is going to be pumping out so much talent. It’s going to put Venice right back on the map again.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
We went to the contest in San Francisco called Back to the City. Sean Sheffey was ripping that day. Chris Cook got ripped off. He should have won. Afterwards, we were at a party, and there are a lot of hills up there, so we had a big race. Sean Sheffey, Julien Stranger, the Gonz, Hosoi… It was all of them. I piled in with a couple of other dudes, the stragglers. Jesse was hauling ass. He left more skin on the pavement than you could believe. You can’t keep up with those San Francisco guys on those hills. Jesse was a bloody fuckin’ mess. He doesn’t drink a lot, but I gave Jesse three beers that night.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
My favorite skateboarders were Polar Bear and Eric Anderson. They brought me into the fold. It sucked living on the other side of Lincoln because you’d get yelled at and socked up. Jesse Martinez and Tim Jackson, Sergio, the Shelp brothers, Dale Grant, Reed Anderson, Andy Hooper… There were a lot of skateboarders. There were so many people that came and went. Z-Purple couldn’t skate, but he was all purple. He had a hole in his heart and he was purple. Everyone who surfed skateboarded. It was all one in the same.

JAMES MUIR
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I think the main influence, historically speaking, would probably be the street evolution period, or argumentatively, it could be the bowl riding period. I think the street skating period with Natas, Eric Dressen, Jesse Martinez, Scott Oster, Aaron Murray and Mark Gonzales, when those guys were putting in the time in and around Venice, and the other street spots that arose during that time period, was probably the most influential period. The Venice Pavilion era was big. There was a huge progression of tricks going on at that time.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
I think what the skatepark will do for the future of Venice is that it gives it an epicenter for skaters to meet and develop their all around skate game. At the same time, they’ll be able to continue to build relationships with other skaters that travel here from different areas. They’ll be able to go out and compete at, hopefully, the highest level. There’s nothing like having a good bowl riding foundation to get you out there to perform all around skate tricks. I think you’ll see a lot of new talent coming out of our area.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I really can’t pick a favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice. We just did too much. There are too many generations and too much skateboarding. I’m a little biased because it’s my area, but I’d say the whole period of time has been pretty phenomenal. On second thought, I’d say my best memory is going to be at the skatepark opening and the reward of the hard work that Jesse, Ger-I and Lance and everyone else put into creating this park. That’s a pretty incredible feeling to have been able to have this actual park built in our area, with all the crap they had to go through.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I can’t start naming names. The list is too long. You guys are trying to turn me into a target. I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that it might incriminate me. (All of them are my favorite skateboarders.)

WENTZLE RUML IV
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice is, was, and will always be influential to skateboarding. How can it not be with the diverse crews and endless new talent on the sk8 scene? Instinctual talent meets style!

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It will provide them with a perfect venue, both as learning grounds and proving grounds!

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Jammin’ the boardwalk from Station 25 in S.M. all the way to the Pavilion, hitting every lipslidable, grindable obstruction along the way… grabbing chick-butt, knocking each other off our boards…. arriving at the Pavilion to try and do the impossible on the graffittied obstacles.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
George Wilson, Polar Bear (R.I.P.,bro), Jimmy Plumer, Shogo (most underrated sk8r of the era, ripped harder than any of us), Jay Boy, Tony, Billy Yeron, Solo… The last two decades, I’d say Jesse Martinez (hands down), Aaron Murray, Christian Hosoi, and a lot of others. Venice kicks ass!

PAT BAREIS
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice always had a more fiendish way of doing things, so that might have helped. My answer would be, ‘We are the home of the legends!’

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
We’ll see some real crazy skating go down at the new park. It finally gives the locals a chance to push their level to limits we can’t even imagine.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
There are too many to choose from so I’ll just say all of them, or any Gonzo sessions.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
That would have to be ME!!! If I had to say someone else, I’d say Pat Ngoho. Hey, what up, Pat?

BART SARIC
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Thinking outside of the box. With its raw style. It defined the essence of skateboarding and the lifestyles that came with that existence by the beach, in so many ways. The culture has literally been thicker than the U.N.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
They will once again have a true breeding ground to facilitate their skateboarding needs. It will open up opportunities for the generations coming up. A real skateboarding dojo on the beach. A tribute to what has always been and shall be. Represent!

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
The Venice Pavilion days. Random sessions. All the heroes ripping. The feats, sessioning the ramps, walls, etc. Then catching a glass-off surf, before the party. Good times.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Too many candidates. I’m gonna have to go with a classic ’80s line-up in honor, and no particular order: Christian Hosoi, Eric Dressen, Aaron Murray, Scott Oster and Jesse Martinez.

JOSH ‘BAGEL’ KLASSMAN
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice is the North Shore of Skateboarding. Venice gave skateboarding its style, aggression, dark side and grit. It gave it the kick in the ass that it needed to be cool and break away from that goofy ass shit fools were doing at other places like headstands and lame shit like that. Venice gave birth to radical skateboarding. Venice gave skateboarding its balls. Nowhere else influenced skateboarding like Venice, not even close.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The new skatepark will produce some bad ass future rippers, and bring some old skool rippers out of hiding and back into skating hard again. At least there’s a real skatepark here now and that’s long overdue, something us localz can all be proud of. It’ll be a positive thing for the area and for all the future local rippers. I gotta give huge Props to Jesse and Geri and thanks to the both of them for not giving up and making it happen.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I’d say just hangin’ out, skating and terrorizing with everyone all day and night long. Surfing all morning at the Break Water, then skating and taking skate pics all day at the Pavilion. Witnessing some of the best and most radical skateboarding anyone’s ever seen. Good and crazy times.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
That’s a long ass list… But if I had to pick one, I’d say Jay. He’s all about style without trying to be all about style. He just has that natural flow mixed with tons of aggression, that’s a killer mix.

CESARIO ‘BLOCK’ MONTANO
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
It changed the whole industry completely. It groomed a lot of world class skateboarders. The first guys that were successful in the industry, like Zephyr and Dogtown and gave us a plate to feed off of. We got to travel the world and it changed, molded and shaped our lives in a positive way through skateboarding. We’ve gotten to reach all outlets of society in different ways.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
It’s going to give birth to a lot of new radical skateboarders. They will have new transitions to develop their skills and a facility made for skateboarding to give them structure. We had Marina skatepark back in the day and people that were ambitious enough to find pools to skate. The park will give them a place to develop their skills. They have mentors to shape them too. It’s going to be a good thing.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
The Pavilion days were my fav days. We used to build quarter pipes and take them down here. We used to go down there and hang out and skate all day. It was fun for us. We had no worries or jobs to worry about. The Pavilion days were the funnest. Right after that, everyone started getting sponsored and started traveling. The Pavilion days were when we all skated for fun and not competition.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
I would have to say Jay Adams and Christian Hosoi.

JOEY TRAN
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
Venice’s influence on skateboarding was immense. It bred an undeniable style, attitude and culture, not to mention personalities that reached around the world and are still prevalent in sk8boarding today.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
The skatepark will breed a whole new generation of rippers hailing from the neighborhood.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
I can’t narrow it down to just one specific memory, but a general theme running through all of my memories of skating in Venice would basically be that it was fun. It was always really fun.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
That would be three people… Me, myself, and I… Haha! No, again it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite. All the boys ripped and I enjoyed skating with them all.

LANCE LEMOND
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
The biggest influence over skateboarding came from someone who wasn’t even known for skating. The way Craig Stecyk wrote about the Z-Boys really influenced how I felt I wanted to skate and live.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
There is no doubt that the media is going to want to photograph and film here. I think this park will give local skaters an opportunity for exposure.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Ask me after the park opens.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
There are so many great skaters and they all have their own style, but I’d have to say Christian Hosoi.

SUSANNE MELANIE BERRY
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
I moved around a lot and this area does have a distinct fearlessness, bravado, and camaraderie. Always taking it to the next level, pushing harder, and all reveling in their efforts. How can that not be admired and desired? How could that not be influential?

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
I’m not too crazy about parks on the whole. when they took away the Pavilion, they took away a huge resource for skating. These days Joe Public does everything he can to stop skaters from using existing resources so give us a proper park we can use. Kids need all the opportunities we can give them for positive outlets.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
A bunch of guys getting ready to take off on boards looking at me like ‘What are we going to do with the girl?’ Alva said I was going with them. When we took off they were watching me without really looking, right? When they saw I could skate, they took me right in the pack with them. A nice day with bonus props for a girl.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
Yeah, like I can pick just one. Each one has his own style, drive, extension, expression, how he pulls a line, presses himself, each with their own mesmerizing beauty. Alva, Tuma, Jesse, Stoney, Polar Bear, Jay Adams, and Hosoi are some I love to watch. Honestly though, every kid I see on a skate giving it a go is my favorite.

BOB BINIAK
How do you feel Venice influenced skateboarding today?
In so many ways, I believe we brought an entirely new style of skateboarding to the world.

What do you think the skatepark will do for future Venice skaters?
My hope is that it gives kids a great place to hone their skills, so that some of the next generations of great skaters will be coming out of the Dogtown/Venice area.

What is your favorite memory of skateboarding in Venice/Dogtown?
Living in Venice, for over 40 years, there are many. I’d say skating with Cahill, Jay, Wentzle, Muir, Shogo, Valentine, Wes, and P.C. at a spot where three hills converged at the heart of Dogtown. On these hills, I earned the nickname ‘Bullet’.

Who is your favorite skateboarder from the Venice/Dogtown area?
There would only be one way to answer that question and that would be, all of the crew, all of the Z-Boys.

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