Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dogtown & the Z-boys documentary

An Article in Skateboarder about the Dogtowners from April 2001

The dudes
Tony "Mad Dog" Alva, Jay Adams, Shogo Kubo, Bob Biniak, Jim "Red Dog" Muir, Wentzle Ruml IV, Paul Constantineau, Wes "Bull Dog" Humpston, Arthur Lake, Stacy Peralta, "Baby" Paul Cullen, Marty Grimes, John Palfreyman, Nathan Pratt, Allen Sarlo, Chris Cahill, Skip Engblom, Jeff Ho, C.R. Stecyk III, Billy Yuron, Dexter Greene, Steven Piccolo, Chris Dawson, Jose Gallon, Gary Rosa, The Kaisers, Ray Flores and Glen E. Friedman.

Founding fathers
Skip Engblom, Jeff Ho, and Craig Stecyk are the ones who popularized it, they ran the Zephyr Surf Shop. But Tony Alva and Jay Adams were the most prominent skaters.
How somebody got down
 It was a matter of being at the right spots at the right times and people either thought you were cool or they didn't. Had to have style. Hang out at the Zephyr shop. Mode of operation Search and destroy. Enemies The police and the kooks who were getting all the coverage in the magazines down south, but it was more media hype. Base of operation West L.A., Venice and Santa Monica

Soundtrack Ted Nugent, Hendrix, Aerosmith and Led Zep.

Timeline "75 to '79 were the peak years

Memorable moment
Hanging at the DogBowl was the perfect scan-a pool that you were allowed to skate in Northern Santa Monica, a rich neighborhood. Someone from the crew worked it out so they could skate. Totally tight, and no one could get in unless you were part of the crew. Other than that, they were used to being chased out by disgruntled property owners, with chainsaws, baseball bats and shotguns. Influence on skateboarding They were the first ones to go looking over the fences. Skateboarding would have become little league baseball without them. The first ones to get radical and terrorize-the idea of people seeing skateboarders rolling down the street and thinking they are rowdy, and no longer grouping them with bicycle riders, exists because of DogTown. Before them it wasn't looking to go in that direction. DogTown was like Hell's Angel's for people who were too young to ride motorcycles. Now everyone knows that if you have an empty pool in your backyard people will want to skate it, but back in '76 that was inconceivable. They would break into houses, skate their pool, steal their stereo, smoke some dust and leave. Brought the outlaw aspect to skateboarding. First rebel image that the industry failed to control. Also a multicultural group of people before that was a cool thing in other sports, there were Mexicans, Asians, blacks, Jews and whites all mixed together. A documentary chronicling the DogTowners is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year. They also invented Frontside airs and handplants.

Narrated by Sean Penn

67/72  Dogtown was Santa Monica down to Venice beach and was a seriously run down surfer area.

Venice of America was founded by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 as a beach resort town, 14 miles (23 km) west of Los Angeles. He and his partner Francis Ryan had bought two miles (3.24 km) of oceanfront property south of Santa Monica in 1891. They built a resort town on the north end of the property called Ocean Park, which was soon annexed to Santa Monica. After Ryan died, Kinney and his new partners continued building south of Navy Street in the unincorporated territory. After the partnership dissolved in 1904, Kinney built on the marshy land on the south end of the property, intending to create a seaside resort like its namesake in Italy

Over time the area became difficult to manage and in 1929 the area was taken over by LA.  By the 50's though it had been so neglected that the area became know as the slum by the sea.  It did become home to a vibrant creative community of artists, poets and writers which were to become know as the Beat Generation.  In 1958 CBS built the POP, Pacific Ocean Park an amusement and pleasure pier which after two seasons changed hands then started to deteriate until 1974 when it was de,olsided.  This was the playground of the Z-boys.

The original Z-boys surfing and skateboarding shop was and is still on Main St. in Santa Monica.

After the sixties surfing was perceived as anti social and just good for drop outs. Surfers in this area were infamous for their agressive localisim and outcast behaviour.  In 1972 Skip, Jeff and Stacey opened the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard productions shop to promote revolutionary Specialist design and avoid the mass media.  Proud to be anti-mainstream.  Unique identity. Pushed the boundaries of conventional skateboard design.
Craig Stecyk 'It was personalised stuff for the user to make something that wasnt a mass media garbage piece of junk that was designed in a factory for everybody else.'

A dead wonderland

The cove was a secret surfing spot which was very dangerous due to the pier and pylons falling down into the sea.  It was a local spot where no visitors were allowed.

Skip and Jeff initially set up the Zephyr surf team.  the kids used to hang around the store and work.  They were mainy from broken homes and the store became a place to go like a club house.

Brief history of skateboarding

50's  The after surfing activity. Make your own from a board and roller skates

1963 An alternative sport which started to reach national popularity

1965  The sport crashed in wave a bad publicity and was subsequently viewed a a kiddie fad until the mid 70's.  

Revolution in 1972 in technology the clay wheels were replaced by Polyurethane wheels, Cadillac Wheels.  they initially sold the wheels to surf shops in California.

More to Follow..

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