JUICE MAGAZINE DOGTOWN CHRONICLES
INTERVIEW WITH PEGGY OKI
INTERVIEW AND INTRODUCTION BY STEVE OLSON
PHOTOS BY JASON EVERTS
Welcome to our series of articles about the Zephyr competition team and the “DogTown and Z-Boys” documentary. The first series of the DogTown Chronicles began in issue 52 featuring interviews with the original Zephyr shop owners, Jeff Ho, Craig Stecyk III and Skip Engblom. In issue 53, Juice talked to Zephyr team riders Stacy Peralta and Bob Biniak. Issue 54 featured Z-Girl Peggy Oki and Z-Boys – Wentzle Ruml IV and Jay Adams. Issue 55, Juice Magazine talked with Zephyr team riders Paul Constantineau, Tony Alva and Shogo Kubo, as well as DogTown documentarian Glen E. Friedman. Issue 56, Nathan Pratt tells his side of the Dogtown story. Issue 57, Allen Sarlo gives his perspective on the documentary and the classic style of The Z-Boys – the ultimate instigators of aggressive surfing and skating. This series of articles has generated plenty of controversy and proves, in fact, that history does repeat itself…
TWO FOR TWO, ONE FOR ONE, ALL FOR NOTHING OR ONE FOR ALL. DOGTOWN, FREE FOR ALL, THROW IT AT THE WALL, WHAT STICKS, STICKS AS I RECALL. IF YOU DON’T DIG IT, THEN OH WELL, SEE YA IN HELL.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Well, I grew up in west LA, and started skateboarding when I was a kid. I can’t remember exactly how old I was; it’s been too long.
You’re not that old.
Yes I am! I bet I’m older than all of you.So, you started skateboarding in like 1952?
No! I wasn’t born yet. I rode those little Fred Flintstone skateboards with the clay wheels.
“I DIDN’T REALLY THINK MUCH ABOUT BEING THE ONLY GIRL. I REALLY JUST HAD SO MUCH FUN SKATEBOARDING.”
The whole Black Night, Roller derby thing?
Yeah, so whenever that was; mid to late ’60s.
Did you skate with Danny Bearer and the Makaha team?
No, I wasn’t skating competitively then. That was just for fun, rolling around with those deadly clay wheels, falling.
You started skating for what reason?
Because it was fun. I’ve always done things that are fun.
How did you get involved with the Zephyr crew?
Once the urethane wheel came out, my brother was taking woodshop and he made me a little skateboard with Cadillacs so I started skating again since it was a little bit safer. Then I started surfing. Once I started surfing I thought I might as well skateboard, too. I saw the guys skateboarding over on Bicknell, so I started skating on that hill.
Who were the guys you saw skating?
I don’t remember. I just know that one day when I was skating there one of the guys came up, It might have been Jay, and said, “Hey, do you want to be on a skateboard team?” I said, “Oh, okay. I guess I’ll check it out. So, I went over to the Zephyr, Jeff Ho shop and talked to them. And then they asked me if I wanted to be on the team.
Did they think you were good?
I guess. I was slaloming the hill with everybody else.
Did they want you on the team so there would be a girl on the team?
That might have been a factor. I don’t know if it was for absolutely certain, but maybe.
What year was that?
Probably around ’74 or ’75 because that was right around the time that I was learning to surf.
Did you surf in the morning and skate in the afternoon like everyone else?
Yeah, and I was going to City College at the time. I’d surf, go to school, and skate with my friends.
So they said, ‘she skates, she rips, lets put her on the team’.
Yeah, I guess. There weren’t many other girls around that were skating.
But it wasn’t your typical team, not just blonde hair surfer boys.
I went to Venice High, and that area was such a melting pot. It was cool because there was such a variety of nationalities. It was a pretty good place to go to school. Fortunately, I was there after the rioting.
What were the riots all about?
I think it was racial, gang riots and stuff like that.
Was that like ’72?
That was before ’72. That was probably in the late ’60s because I graduated in ’72.
How was it being the only girl on the Zephyr team?
I didn’t really think much about being the only girl. I really just had so much fun skateboarding. Watching these guys and skateboarding with them, and going to the schools like Bellagio, Revere and Kenter. Kenter was my favorite.