Category skateboarding

Larry Bertleman & Dane Reynolds

In the film Dogtown and Zboys there are references made pointing to the Venice crew essentially giving birth to action sports. They deserve massive kudos for introducing vertical lines in pools (building on what Herbie Fletcher had done prior) and a myriad of airs, grinds and slides that became the building blocks for modern skateboarding. But the skaters themselves, repeatedly, pointed to another person as their inspiration.

Larry Bertleman.

It’s hard to overestimate the impact Larry had on surfing, skating and eventually all of what is today labeled “action sports.”

Today, more than 40 years after the clip below was shot, Dane Reynolds feels like a parallel to Larry. Dan’e newest clip has the surf world buzzing, that video is here. From my seat I can’t help watching that jaw-dropping video without thinking of Larry Bertleman. I suppose we all build on what came prior.

The essence of style, innovation in real time, zigging while the world zags… Larry Bertleman in 1970.

Everything is a remix

Intellectual property is the new Lego blocks.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 2 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 3 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Cinematography and skateboarding

When I see a little trailer like this one I’m reminded of how deeply the arts have become a part of skateboarding culture. Perhaps I shouldn’t limit that to just skating… maybe it’s action sports in general.

Even if you don’t skate, this trailer is simply gorgeous.

Girl & Chocolate Trailer from Crailtap on Vimeo.

It’s a trailer from an untitled, upcoming Girl/Chocolate video. Directors include Ty Evans, Spike Jonze and Cory Weincheque.

Watercolor skating

The worlds of skateboarding and art continue to collide… over and over and over again. Here’s another installment. Skater Jason Dill goes under water.

Slightly outside the mainstream

Skateboarding was born into the mainstream.

In it’s earliest mutations skateboarding was synonymous with hula hoops and yo-yo’s.

In the early days skateboarding was just another fad.

But even in those earliest mutations it showed it’s roots. Skateboarding in the 60s tended to look like surfing… on sidewalks.

It took an odd twist in the mid 70s when the Zephyr team ripped the lid off the sport, threw conventional approach out the window and went vertical. This shift pushed skating further outside the mainstream.

It’s one thing to drift down a sidewalk and another entirely to break into a yard and skate an empty pool.

However in more recent years mainstream brands like Nike have entered the world of skateboarding with force. Longboard skateboards have become transportation options, portable alternatives to bikes, for people that will never even dream of grinding pool coping or ollieing a gap.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, what skating is today seems to have more in common with ice-skating than surfing. It’s evolved into a highly-technical sport in which skill levels are stratified by spin, flip and twist tricks. But… skateboarding isn’t ice-skating because skateboarding is still considered cool and lives a bit outside the mainstream.

I’m intrigued by that. It’s hard for me to think of other sports that commercially trade in mainstream circles but have a center of gravity that remains slightly outside the mainstream?

Army-guy skater by Steve Nishimoto.

It’s so round it’s ridiculous

Skating in pools. Um. Yea.

Painting the town red

Anyone that skates talks about lines. This is especially true when talking about skating in pools.

This is what they are talking about… kinda.

The sculpting eye of C. R. Stecyk III

I grew up absorbing Skateboarder Magazine in the late 70s.

Like most mags it was a rather bland experience… until Craig Stecyk arrived.

He did so much more than capture the early moments of vertical skateboarding. He sculpted the culture. In my mind more than any of the Z Boys it was Stecyk that captured my imagination.

Decades later he still does.

Luxuria, C. R. Stecyk III from MOCA on Vimeo.

Surfing begat skateboarding

Watching modern, technical skating it’s hard to trace the sport back to it’s roots.

Today skateboarding seems to have more in common with gymnastics or even ice-skating than it does with surfing.

Skateboarding was born from surfing.

In the early days that link was evident, celebrated… and beautiful.

Beautiful losers

When I was a kid my older brother broke his back. My parents moved to the west coast to care for him and left us kids alone.

I bought a skateboard.

My brother’s broken back changed his life, he decided he wanted to spend his life as a painter. That milestone also changed my life. Skateboarding taught me the simple yet massive value in the DIY approach. Skating led to punk rock which led to software which led to surfing which led the environmental movement.

If you want something that doesn’t exist … make it.

And so this film resonates deeply with me.