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[FILMS] Conflicts of Interests Between Jeff Ho/Zephyr & Dogtown & Z Boys

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  • madchinaman
    JEFF HO http://www.laweekly.com/ink/01/40/features-donnelly.php http://www.zboys.net/ Around the same time, a Culver City kid named Jeff Ho was apprenticing at
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 24, 2005
      JEFF HO
      http://www.laweekly.com/ink/01/40/features-donnelly.php
      http://www.zboys.net/


      Around the same time, a Culver City kid named Jeff Ho was
      apprenticing at Roberts Surfboards in Playa del Rey under the
      tutelage of Bob Milner. Milner was a bit of a local legend himself.

      "He was a crazy motherfucker. He used to ride his motorcycle up the
      hill outside the shop. In those days, dirt-bike riding was hill
      climbing. He had a crazy-ass view on life," says Ho. "He taught me
      how to build boards, to shape, glass, sand, repair, resin, the whole
      enchilada."

      Pretty soon the shortboard revolution was under way, and Ho was on
      the front lines, as both a shaper and a surfer. The surfing
      establishment, though, was late in catching on. Ho would take his
      boards -- prototypes of today's bullet boards -- to sanctioned
      contests and meet with either puzzlement or prejudice.

      "These guys couldn't comprehend it, whacking the lips and doing S
      turns," says Ho, talking from Hawaii, where he lives on the North
      Shore of Oahu. Once in frustration he entered the Santa Monica Open
      and almost won riding a shortboard blank, right out of the
      mold. "I'm laughing the whole time. I shaped the board with a claw
      hammer on the beach. That's when I decided contests were a joke."

      Ho found a more receptive audience at the pier, where his high-
      performance boards proved useful for dodging the pilings and other
      wreckage of Pacific Ocean Park. He earned a reputation as an
      iconoclast both in and out of the water. "I was into doing my own
      things and making my own boards and selling them to people on the
      beach and to some shops. I was a kid. I was like 18 years old," says
      Ho. "To me, making a couple hundred bucks was a big thing."

      While Ho had heard of Stecyk and Engblom, they had yet to meet, at
      least in person. They did, however, share the pages of Surfer
      magazine in 1968. Ho was captured in the center spread slashing a
      Hawaiian fatty, while Stecyk and Engblom published photos and a
      story on Santa Monica surfers like Mickey Dora and Johnny Fain. It
      was an early testament to the roots of the Dogtown vibe titled, in
      typically cryptic Stecyk fashion, "The Crackerjack Conspiracy."

      "All three of us were in the same boat because of the Vietnam War. I
      was 1-A from fucking day one. Any day, I'm thinking, I'm fucking
      gone," recalls Ho. "That whole thing you saw in Big Wednesday, I
      went through that. I was part of that. I had friends that went to
      Canada."

      Eventually the storm gave way to a blustery, ornery sunshine. Stecyk
      and Engblom went down to the beach to check on the surf. They parked
      in a flooded lot while the tail end of the storm blew through. When
      they could finally see out of Engblom's old Cadillac, they realized
      they had parked next to the '48 Chevy truck, the classic surfer's
      get-around, in which Jeff Ho lived. Stecyk told Engblom he should
      talk to the notorious outrider about going into business for real.

      "These two guys walk up to me and say, 'Hey you, you're Jeff Ho.'
      And I'm like, 'Yeah, what the fuck do you want?'" says Ho.

      They proposed starting up a factory to manufacture surfboards. It
      sounded good to Ho, who was in love with a white girl from high
      school whose parents didn't like his Chinese-American ethnicity or
      his surfing lifestyle.

      "Her parents hated me. They thought I was a lowlife," Ho says. "My
      motivation was to make some money to buy some land on the big island
      and marry this chick."

      They took advantage of their contacts and Ho's clients and started
      pumping out boards. Ho shaped new designs. Stecyk experimented with
      airbrushing techniques. They had imagination and a do-it-yourself
      attitude. Sometimes stunning progress was made.

      "[Stecyk] invented the airbrushed surfboard. That was his
      invention," says Engblom. "I don't care what anybody is telling you,
      he was making airbrushed surfboards a year or two before anybody was
      putting them on the market."

      They worked hard and played hard. They took surf trips. Stecyk sent
      pictures of them and their boards to Surfer magazine.

      "It was a fucking really good time," says Ho. "The outlook was that
      everything could blow up tomorrow, so everything we did, we just
      did. The goal was to make money to do more projects."

      Soon their production spilled over into another factory. It became
      clear they needed their own shop to keep up. Meanwhile, the girl for
      whom Ho was stuffing away money, "to buy her a left-point break on
      the big island," left him for family-sanctioned romantic seas. "She
      started dating some other guy who was actually going to college or
      something," says Ho. "Instead of buying the land, I bought the
      shop."

      Jeff Ho's Surfboards and Zephyr Productions would occupy the
      southeast corner of Bay and Main in Santa Monica, across the street
      from Sunrise Mission and next to Star Liquor. It was the heart of
      what they would dub Dogtown.

      SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THE SHOP opened, in a bold move for a 7-year-
      old, a blond-haired little grommet paddled up to an older dude who
      was ripping the P.O.P. pier and said, "Oh man, that was a really
      good ride. Who are you?"

      "I'm Jeff Ho," the guy answered.

      "You make surfboards, don't you?"

      "I do."

      "I wish I could have one of your boards."

      "Maybe you will. Maybe you will."

      In time, Jay Adams was riding one of Ho's boards as part of the
      Zephyr shop's junior surf team. In a prescient move, by the
      early '70s Ho and Engblom were sponsoring not only a men's surf team
      but also a junior division that would keep the next wave of top
      talent in the pipeline. Adams was one of the youngest members, who
      also included Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Nathan Pratt, Bob Biniak,
      Wentzle Ruml, Shogo Kubo, Jim Muir and others.

      To get on the team, the kids had to prove their mettle in the water
      at the Cove -- where guys like Engblom and Ho and Zephyr men's team
      members Ronnie Jay and Wayne Saunders ruled the waves. Before you
      could even get in the water, though, you might be required to do
      time on rat patrol. Rat patrol involved bombing interlopers off the
      beach with stones, bottles, wet sand or whatever else was at hand.
      This intense localism, which became a part of the Dogtown/Z-Boys
      ethos, was born in part from the need to keep kooks away from the
      dangerous breaks of the Cove, where local knowledge could mean the
      difference between catching a wave and becoming a casualty. But it
      wasn't just a safety concern. As surf spots go, theirs was small,
      gritty and barrio-like, and what little they had -- a block of
      shoreline and one good wave -- they had to protect fiercely.

      "We were aware of it because we'd go surfing in Leucadia or Santa
      Barbara, where everything was beautiful and the trees went down to
      the beach and there was no smog on the horizon and you didn't have
      to worry about getting your tires popped," says Stacy Peralta. "We
      went to the beach here, and there were certain streets you just
      didn't go down because of the gangs and stuff like that. It wasn't
      like that in San Diego or in the South Bay."

      Most of the Z-Boys came from financially stressed, broken homes, but
      the team "gave us a sense of family and empowerment," says
      Engblom. "We had an us-against-them mentality. It was so much more
      than just the business." The team was like a secret society, whose
      headquarters was the Zephyr shop. It was the kind of clubhouse a
      teenager could only dream of, chaperoned as it was by three barely
      adults.



      ================

      CONFLICT ISSUES
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0355702/board/thread/16893434
      Film Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/lordsofdogtown/

      Ok - I know people are just jumping to conclusions as to why Jeff Ho
      is not in this film (just as I admittedly did at first) so I am not
      going to get mad. But please listen because this 100% explains that
      aspect of it.

      I just came home from The Other Venice Film Festival tonight, where
      Catherine Hardwicke (CH), Stacy Peralta, & Tony Alva were all kind
      enough to sit down for almost two hours and do a Q&A session with
      the audience that viwed the Lords of Dogtown trailer (just the
      trailer, not the film).

      One of the VERY first questions was to the absence of Jeff Ho in the
      actual movie...the following is what they told us. They all
      DESPERATLY WANTED Jeff's character in the film, and they spoke with
      him on numoerous occasions, but he ultimatly could not commit to it.
      CH, Stacy & Tony all expressed their love for Jeff and how they told
      him it wouldn't be the same without the inclusion of him in the
      story as he was so instrumental in the whole dogtown movement, but
      at the end of the day Jeff did not want to sign his life rights for
      use in the film. They even called him THE DAY BEFORE filming began
      and begged him for one last shot at getting him in the movie, but he
      turned them down for his own reasons.

      Explanation: Just for those of you NOT in the film biz - you cannot
      simply put someone in a movie who is not already a reasonably famous
      person, without legally getting them to sign over their life rights.
      Otherwise it's illegal. And even if they are famous, there are still
      specific laws against it. So they could not have put his 'character'
      in without his direct permission. Stacy, Tony and Jay Adams all
      signed life-rights contracts, as per Stacy at the Q&A tonight
      mentioned.

      Now, Stacy said the very first draft he wrote Jeff agreed to be in,
      and things seemed good to go then. But shortly after, Jeff became
      less enthused about it and withdrew. With each draft, CH would call
      Jeff and say "I can make your chracter's part bigger, I can make it
      smaller, I'll do anything you want me to do to make you comfortable,
      just let me know" but he passed everytime not wantiing to be
      involved.

      Tony said something that made sense, he said (very fondly) that Jeff
      most likely did not like the idea of signing a big legal contract
      with SONY regarding his life-rights, that it probably made him
      uncomfortable even thinking about signing an imposing legal document
      such as that, and that he's a simple man who loves to build surf
      boards and didn't want to complicate things. As Tony said this (I'm
      paraphrasing, obviously, what he said) Stacy shook his head in
      agreement. So the deep respect they have for Jeff Ho was very
      noticable when this entire subject came up. They spoke of him (CH
      included) in the highest regard and had much regret that he is not
      ultimatily in the movie, but they respect his choice because they
      didn't want to force anyone to be portrayed in it that didn't want
      to be. And Jeff simply didn't want to be.

      That said, Peggy does have a character in the film, they spoke about
      her a lot tonight - she's just not on IMDB because IMDB is never
      totally accurate. As far as the rest of the z-boy crew, well, life
      rights cost $, and they did not have a big enough budget to get
      everyone's life-rights to be in the film.

      That's the scoop.

      ==============

      http://www.juicemagazine.com/juicehomenewsM.html
      History repeats itself. Let me repeat that. History repeats itself.
      The "Lords of Dogtown" film based on the story of the Zephyr
      competition team focusing on the life stories of Tony Alva, Jay
      Adams, and Stacy Peralta, is back in action with Sony Pictures
      footing the bill.

      Director of "Thirteen" (the teenage fellatio queen film) Catherine
      Hardwicke, has taken the driver's seat as the "L.O.D." director
      after said original directors Fred Durst and David Fincher moved on
      to other projects.

      ~ Jeff Ho, sole owner of Zephyr, at press time, had refused all
      involvement with the film after being given an ultimatum by
      Hardwicke to sign up by November 15th or be written out of the
      script. According to Ho, Hardwicke called him last week to
      congratulate him on being officially written out of the screenplay.
      Hardwicke, a lil' ole gal from Texas, has been re-writing Stacy
      Peralta's original version of the script.

      ~ The dispute between Ho and the filmmakers is not financial, as has
      been reported and at no point did Ho ask for a 23 million dollar
      deal. Instead, the conflict surrounds the rights to the Zephyr
      trademarks. The film's producers are insistent on obtaining the
      Zephyr brand for an indefinite length of time, which Ho's attorneys
      have stringently advised him to reject.

      In the world of movie making, merchandise is king... (There are also
      rumors of an old school surf/skate video game in the works) When we
      asked Jeff Ho, what was going on, he responded, "Let them make their
      movie. I'll be here long after this movie hype disappears, doing
      what I do - building boards."

      In the meantime, to fill the void left by the lack of Jeff Ho's
      endorsement, L.O.D. HQ has called on other board builders to
      manufacture rip-off copies of Jeff Ho's Zephyr surfboards and
      skateboards for the film. Can you smell the lawsuits building? Can
      the film even be made without similarities to the true life story of
      Jeff Ho and the Zephyr surf shop? Will they call it the Z-Boys Skate
      Shop?

      ~ Nathan Pratt seems to think so. He trademarked "Z-Boys" and plans
      to launch the new Z-Boys company with partner Jay Adams, once the
      film's production is underway.

      ~ In the meantime, Pratt has taken over as the new proprietor of
      Jesse Martinez' Z-Cult Skateboards.


      ~ Non-skater, Emile Hirsch has been cast in the role of Jay Adams.
      Word from "LOD" casting is that Madonna and Sharon Stone are
      interested in playing the part of Jay Adam's mom in the film. ~
      After a casting session at the Skatelab in Simi Valley, CA,
      Eric "Tuma" Britton has been cast to play Marty Grimes. Attending
      the casting were Tony Alva, Eric "Tuma" Britton, Dave Reul, Jesse
      Martinez and the Venice crew. ~ Sony offered the city of Imperial
      Beach, CA, $15,000 to improve their Coronado skatepark in trade for
      the "LOD" film to be filmed in the area. Filming is set to begin in
      March 2004. ~ You can get a look at Catherine Hardwicke's set design
      skills in the cult classic "Thrashin'" as Corey Webster wins the
      respect of Hook and The Daggers in better quality with it's latest
      release to DVD. The real life Daggers crew with ringleaders Dave
      Duncan and Eddie Rategui has been busy working on some wooden bowls
      for Bam Margera's "Viva La Bam" show for MTV.

      ============

      Zephyr News -
      Jeff Ho has announced the 2005 Zephyr Competition Team, consisting
      of Venice skaters Aaron Murray, Eric Britton, Alec Beck, Aerec
      Baker, Wes Tata and Nicky Richardson. A U.S. tour is in the works,
      followed by a tour to Japan. In related news, the feature-length
      film, "Lords of Dogtown" is scheduled to release this summer. Prior
      to its release, a book is set to arrive about the making of this
      film, featuring stories of the actors pretending to be skaters. Word
      has it there may be imitation Zephyr t-shirts and skateboards
      appearing in the movie and the book. Don't believe the hype. Jeff Ho
      is the sole owner of Zephyr and has been for the last 30 years. Jeff
      Ho has absolutely no affiliation with either the "Lords of Dogtown"
      movie or book. Authentic Zephyr skateboards, surfboards and apparel
      are available at www.juicemagazine.com. For the real story of the
      Zephyr competition team read the Juice "Dogtown Chronicles" online

      CONTACT INFORMATION
      Terri Craft
      JUICE MAGAZINE
      http://www.juicemagazine.com
      310-578-7575

      =============

      Lords of Dogtown (2005)
      Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
      Writing credits (WGA)
      Stacy Peralta (written by)

      Tagline: They came from nothing to change everything.

      Plot Outline: A fictionalized take on the group of brilliant young
      skateboarders raised in the mean streets of Dogtown in Venice,
      California. The Z-Boys, as they come to be known, perfect their
      craft in the empty swimming pools ofunsuspecting suburban
      homeowners, pioneering a thrilling new sport and eventually moving
      into legend.

      User Rating: awaiting 5 votes.

      Credited cast:
      Victor Rasuk .... Tony Alva
      Heath Ledger .... Skip Engblom
      Emile Hirsch .... Jay Adams
      John Robinson .... Stacy Peralta
      Michael Angarano .... Sid
      rest of cast listed alphabetically:
      Noah Abrams .... Agent
      William Alva .... Stoned Surfer
      Benjamin Anderson .... Long Beach Judge
      Steve Badillo .... Ty Page
      Jeffrey G. Barnett .... Valley Surf Boy
      Ned Bellamy .... Tom
      Shelley Burkard .... Rebecca
      Eddie Cahill
      Rebecca De Mornay
      Skip Engblom
      America Ferrera
      Mary Grace .... Hippie Girl
      Elden Henson
      Chelsea Hobbs .... Caroline
      Paulette Ivory .... Sandra Miro
      Tuukka Jantti .... Paramedic official
      Reef Karim .... Angelo Gamboa
      Johnny Knoxville
      Vincent Laresca .... Chino
      Samantha Lockwood
      William Mapother .... Donnie
      Allie McCulloch .... Party Girl
      Joel McHale .... Paul Moyer
      DeWalt Mix .... G&S team skater
      Benjamin Nurick
      Stacy Peralta .... 'Charlie's Angels' Director
      Laura Ramsey .... Gabrielle
      Camilla Rantsen .... Lotje Alva
      Nikki Reed .... Stacey
      Jeremy Renner
      Pablo Schreiber
      Jack Smith .... Del Mar Announcer
      Sofía Vergara .... Amelia
      Tarita Virtue .... Fan
      Eric West .... James Smith
      Shea Whigham .... Drake Landon
      Brian Zarate .... Montoya
      (more)

      MPAA: Rated PG-13 for drug and alcohol content, sexuality, violence,
      language and reckless behavior - all involving teens.
      Country: USA
      Language: English
      Color: Color
      Certification: USA:PG-13

      ======================

      The Ghosts of Dogtown
      A quarter-century later, the Zephyr Competition Skate Team still
      rules
      by Joe Donnelly
      http://www.laweekly.com/ink/01/40/features-donnelly.php


      If it wasn't for them, skating would have gone straight into
      Toys "R" Us. It was like roller-skating. There wasn't anything
      aggressive about it. They made it aggressive. They gave it that
      rebellious image.

      -- Aaron Meza, editor of Skateboarder magazine

      THEY PROBABLY DON'T KNOW THEY'RE ripping on holy ground, but it
      holds out the promise of something sacred for them just the same.

      "We're 27. We're too old to run from the law anymore," says the
      shorter of the two. Both are dressed in khakis, white tees and flat
      shoes -- standard gear for the practicing faithful -- and both are
      sweating after a few drop-ins each. "We come here so we won't get
      hassled."

      "Although we did get run out once by the park ranger," says the
      taller one, grinning.

      In this devotion, persecution is an honor.

      They don't know that Tony Alva used to come to this very same cement
      ditch in a not-to-be-named canyon in the Hollywood Hills. They don't
      know that he was photographed right here for Heckler magazine as
      recently as six years ago, captured on film being unmistakably Tony
      Alva -- aggressive, fluid, strong, stylish. But they do know who
      Tony Alva is. Sort of.

      "He was the guy who made skateboarding punk, right?" one of them
      says reverently.

      HE WAS ONE OF THE GUYS WHO DID, for sure. But did he make
      skateboarding punk, or did his skateboarding make punk punk? That's
      a chicken-and-egg question that could be argued into the night. One
      thing is certain, though: If they didn't start the religion of
      extreme sports, Alva and the Z-Boys were the ones who built the
      church in which the great mass of incorrigible young -- and young at
      heart -- now worship. The Z-Boys defined the language, made the
      idols, built the myths, established the canon, bled and bruised the
      sacraments, and in the end forged the aesthetic that skateboarding,
      and by extension modern youth culture, adheres to still.

      Currently there is a fundamentalist revival in full sweat. Pilgrims
      are returning to the source. There's a documentary winning awards, a
      feature film in the making, Web sites popping up on the Net, books
      in the works. All of it dedicated to the Z-Boys. It's like the
      theologians, after the blasphemy of the ages, are digging back
      through the relics, lies, politics, truths and half-truths to find
      the real gospel according to Jesus.

      Part of the interest is prompted by the surging popularity of
      skateboarding itself. Like the Beatles in their time, skateboarding
      is bigger than Christ -- with kids, anyway. It's the unsanctioned
      activity that ate America, that made mothers, fathers and civic
      leaders adapt to it rather than the other way around.

      How big is it? There are an estimated 20 million skateboarders
      worldwide, with half of them residing in the United States, and
      nearly half the U.S. skaters residing in California. Skateboarding
      is now a $3 billion-per-year industry, doing $1.5 billion in retail
      sales; California companies represent 95 percent of those sales.
      More than 800 skate parks have been built across the country in the
      past five years, many of them in California, including parks in
      typically overlooked communities like Lynwood, Bell Gardens and
      South-Central Los Angeles.

      How's this for a sign of the times: In a recent Los Angeles Times
      story, LAUSD police officer David Anthony enthusiastically supported
      after-school skating at downtown Berendo Middle School. "It's going
      to turn this site around because this right here is a hard-hit
      area," he said. "Why make outlaws out of them? Skating is the thing.
      The kids aren't going to stop."

      Twenty-five years ago, when the Z-Boys were one step ahead of the
      law (most of the time), no one could have foreseen this. But the
      cop's right, skateboarding is not going to stop. More kids are
      jumping on skateboards these days than are signing up for Little
      League baseball. While it used to bubble above ground and then go
      under depending on how many advertising dollars were available to
      support magazines like Skateboarder, it's too big to go underground
      again.

      Nostalgia also is playing its part in this revival. Those in control
      of the means of production are the same ones who were fucking shit
      up back when. Guys like Stacy Peralta, Craig Stecyk and Glen E.
      Friedman, all original Z-Boys, have grown up and teamed up on the
      documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys: A Film About the Birth of the Now,
      which won Peralta a best-director award and also picked up an
      audience award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Just as
      skateboarding's soul seems in danger of immolation by its own
      institutionalization, there is a groundswell desire to reconnect
      with what was real and pure. The Zephyr Competition Skate Team was
      and is skateboarding's pure soul.

      It could only have happened in Los Angeles. It could only have
      happened in Dogtown.

      WHEN SKIP ENGBLOM WAS A BOY, HE LIVED NEAR a roller rink on Sunset
      Boulevard where roller-derby matches were still held. He claims he
      was making crude skateboards out of old roller skates back in 1956,
      when he was 8. It was a Los Angeles that is hard to imagine today.
      His mom worked at the Farmers Market on Fairfax, which also hosted
      class-AAA professional baseball. The Dodgers, straight out of
      Brooklyn, were playing daytime games at the Coliseum. Back then, you
      could ride a trolley to the Catalina terminal, and the only freeway
      in town, the Hollywood, was considered a blessing, not a blight.

      "It was a completely golden time in Los Angeles," says Engblom, who
      would grow up (sort of) to be a forebear of the Z-Boys. "There were
      still Red Cars running."

      Although he spends mornings scouting waves to surf, he looks and
      carries himself like a retired pro wrestler. Come to find out his
      dad actually was a pro who, according to Engblom, went on to become
      one of wrestling's original carnival barkers, using now-familiar
      characters and storylines to promote the sport. Their house was a
      way station for midget wrestlers and guys like Haystack Calhoun, the
      giant who wore a chain around his neck with a horseshoe dangling
      from it. "I didn't see anything strange about it," Engblom
      says. "These were just the people who would show up."

      Young Skipper, as he was known, used to ride his bike down to see
      his mother at work. One day he kept going, all the way down Santa
      Monica Boulevard to where the road meets the sand. There was a
      little stand there renting inflatable rafts, and Skipper took one
      out into the water, where he saw a guy get up on a surfboard and
      ride a wave. "I completely flipped. It was probably the defining
      moment of my existence. I knew it was all I ever wanted to do," says
      Engblom. "I needed to do that more than anything." On weekends he'd
      ride his bike from Hollywood to the beach at 5 a.m., just to see the
      ocean.

      In 1958, the year Engblom's mom finally gave in to her son's beach
      imperative and moved the family to Ennis Place, behind Venice
      Circle, the ghost of Abbot Kinney was once again rising from the
      sand. After making his fortune in the tobacco business back east,
      New Jersey­born Kinney literally sailed the seven seas. The asthmatic
      insomniac settled in Southern California in 1880 after discovering
      (oh, the irony!) that he could both breathe and sleep here. It
      wasn't long before he started turning a marshy backwater south of
      Santa Monica into a seaside approximation of his beloved Venice,
      Italy.

      Kinney hoped his Ocean Park Pier, a grand amusement park thrusting
      hundreds of feet into the surf, would be the main attraction of his
      resort, and for decades it was a smashing success. Following a
      devastating fire in 1924, it was rebuilt bigger and better with
      fireproof concrete and steel. But the Great Depression, World War II
      and television eventually dimmed the luster of Kinney's dream. By
      the time the Engbloms moved to the beach, the pier was all but
      closing down. CBS tried to revive it with $10 million and visions of
      a nautical theme park to rival Disneyland, and for a brief stretch
      the new Pacific Ocean Park, or P.O.P., would outperform the Magic
      Kingdom.

      It didn't last. One of the problems with P.O.P. that nobody could
      solve was that visitors had to negotiate its environs to gain access
      to its pleasures. Those environs were falling on increasingly hard
      times as the money along the beach gravitated north and south, and
      Santa Monica began an urban-renewal project that turned buildings to
      rubble. After a while, braving the winos and broken glass proved
      more than the park's clientele could stomach.

      P.O.P. closed down for good on October 6, 1967. For six more years
      it would crumble into the waves, a fitting symbol of the no man's
      land between Venice and Santa Monica that generations of skate rats
      would come to revere as Dogtown.


      STROLLING THE YUPPIE WONDERLAND THAT IS Santa Monica's Main Street
      today, it's hard to imagine how neglected the area was back then.
      Main Street itself was a wasteland of vacant storefronts.
      Enterprises that were open for business included the Vixen Theater,
      a gentlemen's club not known for upscale talent, and the Pink
      Elephant, a transvestite bar. There was Synanon, a drug rehab place
      up toward Pico whose patients were dubbed "the eggplant people"
      because they were made to shave their heads and wear dark clothes.
      Across the street from the venerable Star Liquor, popular in the day
      because it sold Thunderbird wine, was Sunrise Mission -- what was
      called an insane asylum back then. Go down the wrong street and you
      were in gang territory marked by vato graffiti.

      Until it was torn down in 1973, Pacific Ocean Park loomed over
      everything in its monolithic failure. It was picked over by
      Hollywood vultures, who used it as the set for They Shoot Horses,
      Don't They? and The Fugitive and just about every cop show from
      Dragnet to The Mod Squad. Underneath the pier hippies, homosexuals,
      drug addicts, surfers and hustlers sought sanctuary. Cops from
      either side, Santa Monica to the north and Venice to the south, were
      loath to claim jurisdiction.

      Some residents, though, saw this neglect as benign.

      "Back then we were like a depressed ghetto," says Skip
      Engblom. "Main Street had all these junk shops, Sunrise Mission,
      winos, hookers, junkies. I enjoyed it immensely because you weren't
      bothered much. You could roam freely, pursue your own interests, and
      that was a great thing."

      Others felt the same way, and in the mid-'60s the area was a
      bohemian hotbed that could have shamed Greenwich Village. Setting up
      shop on the side streets were the Chambers Brothers, Tim Buckley,
      the Doors, Canned Heat and Spirit, to name just a few of the
      musicians. Photographers William Wegman and John Baldessari had
      studios off Bay Street, behind what would become the Zephyr surf
      shop, future birthplace of the Z-Boys skate team.

      The low-culture art of the booming modified-car scene competed with
      the lingering legacy of former resident artists David Alfaro
      Siqueiros and Stanton MacDonald-Wright, a founder of the synchronism
      movement in the early 1900s who went on to administer the WPA in
      the '30s. Muralists Dana Woolfe and Wayne Holwick, whose portrait of
      Anna on the wall of a house at Neilson and Hart still stubbornly
      defies urban renewal and acid rain, were igniting a public-art
      movement. "We were exposed to art and culture continuously," says
      Engblom.

      Another local surfer, named Craig R. Stecyk III, was as attuned to
      these variant cultural influences as anybody. His father was in the
      Army Signal Corps (he was one of the first to document the aftermath
      of Hiroshima), and Stecyk had access to photo equipment not readily
      available to most young people then. Early on, he became enthralled
      with legendary beach-life photographers like Peter Gowland and Joe
      Quigg.

      Like many rooted in the urban beach culture of that area, Stecyk's
      father was into modified cars. For a while he was in business with
      George Barris, who customized some of the most celebrated lowriders
      of the '40s and '50s. Through his father, Stecyk met and became
      friends with outlaw car artists Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and Von Dutch,
      and later with Roth's art director and eventual founder of Zap
      Comix, Robert Williams.

      When Stecyk wasn't surfing himself or shooting the locals braving
      the P.O.P. breaks, he was honing his spray paint and airbrushing
      skills. Having grown up between rival Chicano gangs, he quickly
      learned to decipher graffiti and appreciate what could be done with
      spray paint. He started tagging the walls around Dogtown with his
      own iconography, perhaps most famously his P.O.P. cross and "rat
      bones" figure. Later Stecyk would be recognized as a seminal
      graffiti artist. Back then, though, he was a prototypical tagger, an
      urban art guerrilla whose pranks confused outsiders and delighted
      peers. In one infamous antiwar stunt, he "rescued" the Independence
      Day beach crowd from a dummy bomb he had painted to look Russian and
      buried in the sand at low tide the night before.

      Meanwhile, local boy Larry Stevenson started Makaha, one of the
      first dedicated skateboard companies, on Colorado Avenue and 26th
      Street, and also launched Surf Guide magazine. Stecyk became one of
      his sponsored skateboarders. Famous surfboard shaper Bob Simmons had
      a factory on Olympic. Vans would start a seedling shoe company in
      the neighborhood. Underground, backyard board shaping was a thriving
      cottage industry. You'd take your latest innovation out to the Cove,
      on the south side of the P.O.P. pier. If you looked good, you might
      have a sale. "It was kind of like stock-car racing," says
      Engblom. "Win on Sundays, sell on Mondays."

      You could make the argument that Dogtown went multimedia before
      Warhol had his Factory. To Stecyk, surfboards weren't just
      surfboards. They were "totems. Functional artifacts."

      "You can imagine how crossed my metaphors were," says Stecyk, who
      cites his girlfriend's residence in Stanton MacDonald-Wright's
      studio as an example of the heady stew they all simmered in. "I sort
      of had the high-culture and low-culture influences, although I
      didn't know what it meant. I just knew what I liked."

      He had something else, too, an innate grasp of history, of change,
      and an intense loyalty to the ghosts of Dogtown. "A tremendous sense
      of propriety, or maybe even stewardship, came with having grown up
      with all this," he says.ä

      SKIP ENGBLOM WAS 18 WHEN HE MET 16-year-old Craig Stecyk at the 1966
      Pismo Beach Clam Festival.

      "He came crawling out of this Volks-wagen van that eight other
      people had crawled out of before him. They had all slept overnight
      there," recalls Engblom. "We started talking and walked up the
      street to get breakfast. I thought I'd lead him in there and do a
      dine and dash. Next thing you know, he and I are both on the street.
      We both dined and dashed simultaneously, and we both looked at each
      other and laughed, and we became friends."

      Around the same time, a Culver City kid named Jeff Ho was
      apprenticing at Roberts Surfboards in Playa del Rey under the
      tutelage of Bob Milner. Milner was a bit of a local legend himself.

      "He was a crazy motherfucker. He used to ride his motorcycle up the
      hill outside the shop. In those days, dirt-bike riding was hill
      climbing. He had a crazy-ass view on life," says Ho. "He taught me
      how to build boards, to shape, glass, sand, repair, resin, the whole
      enchilada."

      Pretty soon the shortboard revolution was under way, and Ho was on
      the front lines, as both a shaper and a surfer. The surfing
      establishment, though, was late in catching on. Ho would take his
      boards -- prototypes of today's bullet boards -- to sanctioned
      contests and meet with either puzzlement or prejudice.

      "These guys couldn't comprehend it, whacking the lips and doing S
      turns," says Ho, talking from Hawaii, where he lives on the North
      Shore of Oahu. Once in frustration he entered the Santa Monica Open
      and almost won riding a shortboard blank, right out of the
      mold. "I'm laughing the whole time. I shaped the board with a claw
      hammer on the beach. That's when I decided contests were a joke."

      Ho found a more receptive audience at the pier, where his high-
      performance boards proved useful for dodging the pilings and other
      wreckage of Pacific Ocean Park. He earned a reputation as an
      iconoclast both in and out of the water. "I was into doing my own
      things and making my own boards and selling them to people on the
      beach and to some shops. I was a kid. I was like 18 years old," says
      Ho. "To me, making a couple hundred bucks was a big thing."

      While Ho had heard of Stecyk and Engblom, they had yet to meet, at
      least in person. They did, however, share the pages of Surfer
      magazine in 1968. Ho was captured in the center spread slashing a
      Hawaiian fatty, while Stecyk and Engblom published photos and a
      story on Santa Monica surfers like Mickey Dora and Johnny Fain. It
      was an early testament to the roots of the Dogtown vibe titled, in
      typically cryptic Stecyk fashion, "The Crackerjack Conspiracy."

      The optimism and good cheer of the postwar generation, though, was
      rapidly being worn down by a power structure that seemed hell-bent
      on folly. Engblom remembers those as the last innocent days of
      the '60s, before America came apart at the seams and the Doors
      replaced the Beach Boys as the soundtrack to the California Dream.
      They were the last days before Robert Kennedy was shot down in front
      of their eyes, on June 5, 1968.

      "Nero fiddled while Rome burned. We surfed while America went down
      the tubes," says Engblom. "Robert Kennedy, before he got
      assassinated that day, I walked out of my apartment on Venice
      Boulevard and he waved at me and my mom, and he was dead a couple
      hours later. Starting with all that -- John F. Kennedy, then Martin
      Luther King and then the brother -- you just knew something bad was
      happening. Any sense that good things were going to follow pretty
      much died at that moment."

      The threat of being drafted, too, hung as heavily over the three
      kids as the fog during an onshore flow.

      "All three of us were in the same boat because of the Vietnam War. I
      was 1-A from fucking day one. Any day, I'm thinking, I'm fucking
      gone," recalls Ho. "That whole thing you saw in Big Wednesday, I
      went through that. I was part of that. I had friends that went to
      Canada."

      "I grew up in Venice around black people, Mexicans and Asians," says
      Engblom. "The idea that I was going to go over and shoot Asians was
      totally repugnant to me. I didn't see these guys storming the
      beaches of Santa Monica."

      Stecyk tried for student deferments. Ho fudged his physicals.
      Engblom hopped a ship in the merchant marines, staying out at sea as
      much as possible between 1968 and 1970. "I spent the war riding
      luxury liners," he says. When his ship finally docked, he came back
      to the beach with some money, but was "essentially unemployable."

      THE ARTIST AND THE IMPRESARIO finally met the shaper on a weird
      winter day in 1970. It had been raining constantly for about a week,
      and the whole area was practically underwater.

      Eventually the storm gave way to a blustery, ornery sunshine. Stecyk
      and Engblom went down to the beach to check on the surf. They parked
      in a flooded lot while the tail end of the storm blew through. When
      they could finally see out of Engblom's old Cadillac, they realized
      they had parked next to the '48 Chevy truck, the classic surfer's
      get-around, in which Jeff Ho lived. Stecyk told Engblom he should
      talk to the notorious outrider about going into business for real.

      "These two guys walk up to me and say, 'Hey you, you're Jeff Ho.'
      And I'm like, 'Yeah, what the fuck do you want?'" says Ho.

      They proposed starting up a factory to manufacture surfboards. It
      sounded good to Ho, who was in love with a white girl from high
      school whose parents didn't like his Chinese-American ethnicity or
      his surfing lifestyle.

      "Her parents hated me. They thought I was a lowlife," Ho says. "My
      motivation was to make some money to buy some land on the big island
      and marry this chick."

      They took advantage of their contacts and Ho's clients and started
      pumping out boards. Ho shaped new designs. Stecyk experimented with
      airbrushing techniques. They had imagination and a do-it-yourself
      attitude. Sometimes stunning progress was made.

      "[Stecyk] invented the airbrushed surfboard. That was his
      invention," says Engblom. "I don't care what anybody is telling you,
      he was making airbrushed surfboards a year or two before anybody was
      putting them on the market."

      They worked hard and played hard. They took surf trips. Stecyk sent
      pictures of them and their boards to Surfer magazine.

      "It was a fucking really good time," says Ho. "The outlook was that
      everything could blow up tomorrow, so everything we did, we just
      did. The goal was to make money to do more projects."

      Soon their production spilled over into another factory. It became
      clear they needed their own shop to keep up. Meanwhile, the girl for
      whom Ho was stuffing away money, "to buy her a left-point break on
      the big island," left him for family-sanctioned romantic seas. "She
      started dating some other guy who was actually going to college or
      something," says Ho. "Instead of buying the land, I bought the
      shop."

      Jeff Ho's Surfboards and Zephyr Productions would occupy the
      southeast corner of Bay and Main in Santa Monica, across the street
      from Sunrise Mission and next to Star Liquor. It was the heart of
      what they would dub Dogtown.

      SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THE SHOP opened, in a bold move for a 7-year-
      old, a blond-haired little grommet paddled up to an older dude who
      was ripping the P.O.P. pier and said, "Oh man, that was a really
      good ride. Who are you?"

      "I'm Jeff Ho," the guy answered.

      "You make surfboards, don't you?"

      "I do."

      "I wish I could have one of your boards."

      "Maybe you will. Maybe you will."

      In time, Jay Adams was riding one of Ho's boards as part of the
      Zephyr shop's junior surf team. In a prescient move, by the
      early '70s Ho and Engblom were sponsoring not only a men's surf team
      but also a junior division that would keep the next wave of top
      talent in the pipeline. Adams was one of the youngest members, who
      also included Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Nathan Pratt, Bob Biniak,
      Wentzle Ruml, Shogo Kubo, Jim Muir and others.

      To get on the team, the kids had to prove their mettle in the water
      at the Cove -- where guys like Engblom and Ho and Zephyr men's team
      members Ronnie Jay and Wayne Saunders ruled the waves. Before you
      could even get in the water, though, you might be required to do
      time on rat patrol. Rat patrol involved bombing interlopers off the
      beach with stones, bottles, wet sand or whatever else was at hand.
      This intense localism, which became a part of the Dogtown/Z-Boys
      ethos, was born in part from the need to keep kooks away from the
      dangerous breaks of the Cove, where local knowledge could mean the
      difference between catching a wave and becoming a casualty. But it
      wasn't just a safety concern. As surf spots go, theirs was small,
      gritty and barrio-like, and what little they had -- a block of
      shoreline and one good wave -- they had to protect fiercely.

      "We were aware of it because we'd go surfing in Leucadia or Santa
      Barbara, where everything was beautiful and the trees went down to
      the beach and there was no smog on the horizon and you didn't have
      to worry about getting your tires popped," says Stacy Peralta. "We
      went to the beach here, and there were certain streets you just
      didn't go down because of the gangs and stuff like that. It wasn't
      like that in San Diego or in the South Bay."

      Most of the Z-Boys came from financially stressed, broken homes, but
      the team "gave us a sense of family and empowerment," says
      Engblom. "We had an us-against-them mentality. It was so much more
      than just the business." The team was like a secret society, whose
      headquarters was the Zephyr shop. It was the kind of clubhouse a
      teenager could only dream of, chaperoned as it was by three barely
      adults.

      "Parents would just drop their kids off with lunches and tell them
      they'd pick them up at five. We're trying to run a business, and
      I've got this group of kids who are just hanging out continuously,"
      says Engblom. "The thing is, with me being so young and Jeff being
      so young and Craig being so young, it's hard to drop-kick somebody
      to the curb."

      Given their lifestyles at the time -- the only 12 steps they were
      following were the ones that would take them to Star Liquor or into
      the backroom for a toke -- the shop owners weren't exactly in a
      position to preach about what not to do. Even so, they provided
      things that were hard to find at home or on the streets for the kids
      who were hanging around. Sometimes it was something as simple as
      shoes -- Ho says he was in a constant losing battle to keep good
      shoes on their feet. Other times it was something more complex.

      "All of us knew we weren't going to get respect playing football. We
      weren't good enough. Or academically," says Peralta. Earning a
      Zephyr team shirt "was one thing we could make our mark with, so we
      all wanted to do that."

      As Alva puts it, "If it wasn't for Skip, I never would have known
      there was any door that was open for me to be a professional
      skateboarder. Skip gave me that kind of attitude where it was
      like, 'Hey, you got the skills, you got the talent, you got the
      drive, get out there and kick ass.'"

      That attitude would germinate among the kids as they pushed
      themselves in the surf and on the concrete, waiting for a chance to
      show the world what they had going. That chance would come in the
      spring of 1975.

      "I knew it was something, I just didn't know what it was," says
      Engblom. "I could feel it was something special. I mean, these guys
      used to go out and practice every day on Bicknell Hill, and these
      were guys that had no sense of discipline or sense of order. But
      they all showed up every day because they knew that we had to go do
      this to excel, because somehow, in the back of everybody's mind, we
      knew this thing down there was going to be something."

      Down there was Del Mar's Ocean Festival, where Bahne and Cadillac
      wheels sponsored the Del Mar Nationals as a showcase for
      skateboarding's resurgence. The well-behaved community just north of
      San Diego was the kind of place that seemed to have a Carpenters
      playlist in permanent rotation. It appeared to be all that was right
      about the California Dream. It was a different world from Dogtown,
      and the Z-Boys were intent on going down there to let everybody know
      it.

      "We had to work these people over," says Engblom. "We had to
      validate our existence."

      SKATEBOARDING HAD GONE BACK underground after its brief fling with
      mainstream popularity in the early '60s. It was perceived to be too
      dangerous, and the equipment -- with slippery clay wheels -- wasn't
      really facile enough for the average dilettante. But it had never
      let up in Dogtown. Most of the surfers skated around town when the
      waves weren't up. Particularly the ones who would make up the core
      of the Z-Boys. Skateboarding, however, started booming again in the
      early '70s, when Cadillac introduced the first urethane wheels.
      Technology was finally catching up to the imaginations of Tony Alva,
      Jay Adams and the others who had long been outperforming their
      equipment.

      Several other factors -- a "disharmonic convergence," in Stacy
      Peralta's words -- would come together to set the stage for the Z-
      Boys' assault on the Del Mar Nationals.

      One was geography. Los Angeles is full of slopes, canyons, drainage
      gulleys and all sorts of natural assets civic leaders have
      historically been wont to pave over. Santa Monica and vicinity was
      particularly rich in playgrounds with high banks. There was Mar
      Vista Middle School, Paul Revere Junior High in Pacific Palisades,
      Kenter Canyon, Bellagio. At these spots the waves were always up,
      and the Z-Boys found them just right for fashioning a new style of
      skateboarding that emulated their favorite shortboarder, Hawaiian
      surfer Larry Bertleman.

      Los Angeles also has one of the greatest concentrations of backyard
      pools in the universe. In the mid-'70s, the worst drought in the
      city's history drained them in unprecedented numbers. For Alva,
      Adams, Muir, Biniak and the rest, the empty pools were the crown
      jewels in their delinquent empire. Steep, smooth, the bowls provided
      unmatched opportunities for aggressive skateboarding.

      The Z-Boys would congregate at these playgrounds and pools and drive
      each other to new levels, refining a low-center-of-gravity, surf-
      style attack that featured hard slash-backs at the tops of the
      concrete waves. They called these turns "Berts" in honor of
      Bertleman. In the pools, the coping on the lips was the line in the
      sand they were already starting to cross. Their pool prowess made an
      in-joke of the 1975 Skateboarder re-launch issue that featured a guy
      on the cover carving a turn barely four feet up a pool wall.

      Jimi Hendrix, Ted Nugent, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin provided
      the soundtrack to the boys' pool parties and street sessions. The
      outings were charged with teenage aggression and the adrenaline of
      dodging the cops as they violated public ordinances or trespassed on
      private property and even indulged in the occasional breaking and
      entering. They had a "fuck you" attitude toward authority and
      convention, and if you fucked with the Z-Boys you would likely get
      your head knocked.

      What do you expect from a bunch of underprivileged, delinquent
      teenagers? Certainly not genius, but that's what was happening.

      The world outside Dogtown would have to wait until the Del Mar
      competition to get a taste of what the Z-Boys were cooking, but to
      get an understanding of how radical it was, you have to understand a
      bit about the accepted standards of skateboarding in the mid-'70s.
      By and large, it was done on flat surfaces in an upright position.
      Things like handstands and 360s, tick-tack turns and nose wheelies
      were the height of proficiency. It looked like synchronized swimming
      on wheels. It had far less drama than figure skating. It only seems
      so ridiculous now because of what the Z-Boys did to it.

      What they did was shift the paradigm. They took it off the beach
      strands and competition platforms where it had died numerous deaths
      before, and moved it into the egalitarian province of the streets.
      They took it back from white-bread, well-to-do Del Mar and claimed
      it for the multicultural urban core. They gave it to the people in a
      way the people could use it.

      Craig Stecyk, whose words, photos and art would deftly articulate
      the larger meaning of what was going on, said it best in a 1980
      article for Skateboarder. Under his preferred nom de plume, John
      Smythe, he wrote:

      Forget about the mainline and the fast lane; the edge of the glide
      is all that is of value. The true skater surveys all that is
      offered, takes all that is given, goes after the rest and leaves
      nothing to chance. In a society on hold and a planet on self-
      destruct, the only safe recourse is an insane approach.

      We're talking attitude; the ability to deal with a given set of
      predetermined circumstances and to extract what you want and discard
      the rest. Skaters by their very nature are urban guerrillas; the
      future foragers of the present, working out in a society dictated by
      principles of the past. The skater makes everyday use of the useless
      artifacts of the technological burden. The skating urban anarchist
      employs the handiwork of the government/corporate structure in a
      thousand ways the original architects could never even dream of;
      sidewalks for walking, curbs for parking, streets for driving, pipes
      for liquids, sewers for refuse, etc. have all been re-worked into a
      new social order.


      -

      Peralta's Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary is a barrage of indelible
      moments and images that communicate this energy. One of the raddest
      scenes is of Jay Adams debuting for the Zephyr team at Del Mar.

      -


      Entering the competition square, he gets lower and pumps harder than
      anyone outside of Dogtown had ever imagined. Just when it looks like
      he's going off the end of the raised platform, he slashes a Bert at
      the square edge of the skateboarding world. Then, as if to emphasize
      the point, he bunny-hops back across the platform in front of the
      judges, in absolute contempt of their rules and limitations. Before
      his two minutes are up, he skates off the platform and carves a
      violent turn, proving all over again that the world isn't flat. The
      other teams shake their heads and complain at this insurrection. The
      judges don't know what to do. The crowd goes crazy.

      "The Dogtown guys came down to that competition and just terrorized
      everybody," remembers Warren Bolster, who would be the editor of
      Skateboarder when it re-launched a couple of months later. "These
      guys were so different and unique. They made quite an impression."

      Two years later the world would hear Johnny Rotten proclaim himself
      an anarchist, but that was arguably the birth of punk.

      AS WITH SKATEBOARDING ITSELF, interest in the Z-Boys and Dogtown
      never really went away. It just went underground or entered the
      mythology of the culture's inner circle. The current Z-Boy fever,
      though, can be traced back most directly to a story by Greg Beato,
      in the March 1999 issue of Spin, titled "The Lords of Dogtown."
      Beato, a freelance writer, had been given the assignment after an
      editor saw an advance of Michael Brooke's The Concrete Wave: The
      History of Skateboarding. The Dogtown sections of the book jumped
      out at him. Following Spin, Hollywood came knocking. Rights to the
      life stories of various Z-Boys were purchased, and the machine
      started its slow, usually futile grind.

      At the same time, Stacy Peralta's life and career were at a
      crossroads. He had left Powell-Peralta, started in 1979 and at one
      time the most influential skateboarding company in the world, years
      before. His own foray into television as a director and producer had
      not been terribly fulfilling. Then there was an emotionally draining
      divorce. At some point in the middle of all this, he happened upon
      some old photographs of the Z-Boys in action. The pictures had the
      same effect on him as they seem to have on everybody.

      Peralta went for a hike, thought about the prospects of WB network
      candy kids playing the roles of Alva and Adams and the rest, and
      called Craig Stecyk when he came back down. Work on the documentary,
      funded by Vans (the same company Jeff Ho tried to coerce into giving
      the kids shoes 30 years ago), began in earnest.

      The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. In
      skateboarding parlance, it killed. Most of the gang assembled for
      the premiere. Skip Engblom says it was obvious from the moment he
      touched down that the Z-Boys, most of whom hadn't seen each other in
      25 years, were in full effect.

      "I got off a plane. I got on this shuttle. I showed up at this
      house, and here are Wentzle [Ruml] and [Bob] Biniak sitting at a
      table. We looked at each other. Stacy walked in. We started
      laughing. We didn't say anything for the first five minutes. We just
      cracked up laughing," says Engblom. "We decided to walk into town to
      get some coffee and something to eat, right? We're walking, and this
      is a huge event and people don't know who we are or anything, but
      we're walking down the street and people are responding to us, and
      what they're responding to is that collectively we have this energy
      level that is so amazing. It's so intense that people, for whatever
      reason, they don't even understand it, but they get sucked into it.
      They get sucked into this black hole of Z-Boydom."

      It didn't take long after Del Mar for Z-Boydom to suck the rest of
      the world in. Then, like a black hole does when the gravity becomes
      too much, it started collapsing in on itself.

      It wasn't just the skateboarding that created this pull, although
      looking at the overall cultural impact of the Dogtown movement, it's
      sometimes easy to forget how good these guys were. Tony "Mad Dog"
      Alva was becoming the archetypal all-around skater in pools, on the
      banked playgrounds, or going for speed. He had a style and charisma
      that couldn't be matched. "Bullet" Bob Biniak was considered the
      fastest skater in the world, and the one many say had the biggest
      balls. He'd try anything and often be the first to do so. Shogo Kubo
      was known for strength and flair. Jim Muir was earning a reputation
      as one of the hottest pool riders around. Stacy Peralta was smooth,
      precise, able to beat the "down southers" at their own game while
      subverting it with the Dogtown style. And then there was Jay Adams.
      Peralta likens Adams to Mozart on wheels.

      "The movie Amadeus, when Amadeus comes to the court where Salieri is
      and Salieri plays a piece and then Mozart sits down and says, 'I
      think I can do this,' and he plays the piece so much better than
      Salieri could have ever conceived -- he starts playing it, and he
      adds all this stuff to it without really knowing what he's doing, it
      just starts coming through him -- that was Jay Adams," says
      Peralta. "Most people have a 20-amp plug in them. This guy had 100
      amps. All the time."

      Every time the boys skated together -- especially in the pools they
      were so fond of crashing -- it seemed like there was a new
      breakthrough. During these sessions, they started laying down the
      basic language of modern skateboarding. Pushed by Peralta, Biniak
      finally nailed a frontside kick turn at vert. Not long after,
      Peralta started stringing them together from tile to tile and a
      frontside forever was invented. Today, kids take this stuff for
      granted. It's part of the lexicon. Back then, it was almost
      unimaginable.

      Not everybody saw what the Z-Boys were doing as progress. In a now-
      celebrated remark, Skateboarding Association executive director
      Sally Anne Miller told People magazine that Tony Alva
      represented "everything that was vile in the sport." This was after
      Alva had appeared as Leif Garrett's thug rival, Tony Bluetile, in
      the 1977 movie Skateboard.

      The assault on polite society didn't stop with Del Mar. In a series
      of stories and images that appeared in Skateboarder and then other
      magazines like Thrasher, Craig Stecyk and his young protégé,
      photographer Glen E. Friedman, began building the legend of Dogtown
      and the Z-Boys. In stark black-and-white that fit the mood of their
      beachside dystopia, Friedman introduced teenagers to Tony Alva
      flipping them off as his kicktail perched incredibly on the lip of a
      pool. There were shots of bombed-out buildings and graffiti-
      splattered walls. Then there was Jay Adams grinding the coping of
      some fat cat's pool with such disdain it looked like class warfare.
      Stecyk and Friedman created a raw, unapologetic style of
      documentation that put the boys' skating in the context of their
      hardcore, uncompromising lifestyle. It became the aesthetic template
      for skateboarding and other X-Games staples like snowboarding and
      BMX.

      The Z-Boys' style and attitude resonated across the land. Kids in
      Michigan spray painted their own versions of Stecyk's Dogtown
      graffiti -- the notorious cross and "rat bones" that would become as
      well known as Big Daddy Roth's Rat Fink -- on their homemade
      halfpipes. San Francisco artist Barry McGee, a.k.a. Twist, is said
      to have tagged his first wall with the Dogtown cross. In D.C., Ian
      MacKaye of Fugazi fame was dressing like he was from Venice.
      (MacKaye, Henry Rollins, Jeff Ament and Sean Penn -- who narrates --
      all eagerly signed up to contribute to Peralta's documentary.)

      Today, hip contemporary galleries like L.A.'s New Image and New
      York's Alleged are dominated by skateboarder artists such as Ed
      Templeton, Mark Gonzales and Thomas Campbell. Rich Jacobs, who
      curated a show of his peers' work at New Image this summer, explains
      the impact the Dogtown aesthetic had on him and friends like
      MacKaye. "I remember going to the skateboard shop in Long Beach and
      getting Skateboarder and being amazed at what they were doing.
      Stecyk was really good at documenting what was going on with his
      friends," he says. "In my personal opinion, it was the spirit and
      the energy as much as anything, going a little beyond being a
      rebellious teenager. They were attacking life with a vengeance that
      seems more raw than just the average teenager.

      "Everything else seemed so mellow and laid-back in the '70s. They
      weren't that way. They seemed crazy to me."

      If Sally Anne Miller was trying to protect the sanctity of organized
      skateboarding, she was fighting a losing battle. Posters of Alva and
      Adams were being pinned up on teenagers' walls almost as fast as
      those of Farrah Fawcett-Majors. To not understand why is to not
      understand the heart of male adolescence. As a young boy in 1976,
      you may have dreamed of being with Farrah Fawcett, but you dreamed
      of being Tony Alva or Jay Adams.

      THE BUSINESS END OF SKATEBOARDing wasn't as slow on the uptake as
      was Ms. Miller.

      "After we made the scene in Del Mar, there were skate companies
      coming after us and offering us things. People started turning them
      down at first, but then, after a while, the team started to
      unravel," recalls Bob Biniak over coffee at the type of shop that
      wouldn't have been seen within miles of Main Street back in the day.
      Compact and still athletic-looking, Biniak is one of a handful of
      original Z-Boys who never left the area. "We all came from nothing.
      We wanted the BMWs and we wanted the stuff, and that was partly how
      we got those things, and it was kind of a sad story."

      Jeff Ho did his best to keep things together, but the Zephyr shop
      just couldn't compete with big companies like Gordon & Smith and
      Logan Earth Ski. Adding to the uncertainty, there were production
      problems with a signature line of fiberglass-deck skateboards the
      shop was trying to roll out with Jay Adams' stepfather, Kent
      Sherwood. That partnership dissolved and Sherwood started his own Z-
      Flex label. Adams and others went with him. The shop closed down
      soon after the team split up.

      "The sponsorship money, all the corporate crap, guys wanting to make
      money and shit. Intellectually, I could understand it, because
      everybody had to move on and do their own thing, but it ripped
      everything up," says Ho. "It was just over."

      Big sponsors picked the team members off one by one and started
      trotting out the Dogtown dog-and-pony show. For Biniak there would
      be a halftime demonstration in front of 85,000 people at a Rams-
      Raiders game at the Coliseum. For Nathan Pratt it would be a jump
      stunt in a movie for a fee negotiated by Engblom at $300 per foot
      (he'd warned that Pratt never jumped less than 15 feet). Alva and
      Peralta would appear in movies and TV shows. Peralta even made it
      onto Charlie's Angels.

      It was high times, and the Z-Boys were quick to embrace the fame,
      fortune and party. Biniak's apartment was the headquarters.

      "Every one of the boys would come over. I'd be in there banging
      chicks, and they'd be going, 'Give me a couple of Thai sticks,' and
      I'd say, 'Go ahead, take a few,' and they'd go in my laundry basket.
      I had a wicker laundry basket full of them," Biniak says with a
      chuckle. "I was on my own from the age of 14. I had no parental
      guidance. I was running wild. We wanted to skate, party and chase
      all the richest chicks up in the Palisades and see what we could
      catch."

      Now the boys were running wild with money and license. Rich hangers-
      on appeared on the scene, wanting to be down with Dogtown. They
      gravitated to the Hollywood nights. Sponsors sometimes indulged
      their ever-increasing recreational drug use with freebies.

      By 1977, to the outside world, the Dogtown scene was exploding. Jim
      Muir and Wes Humpston, another local who used to embellish
      skateboards with his hand-drawn art, trademarked the Dogtown name
      and went into business with some guys from New York. Peralta left
      Gordon & Smith and hooked up with George Powell to form what would
      become Powell-Peralta. An investor backed Tony Alva to start up his
      own line of skates. Skateboarding was booming, too. Shot out of the
      double barrel of urethane wheels and an attitude adjustment in the
      punk-rock personas of the Z-Boys, it had turned into a $400 million
      business. For a while, Skateboarder was the hottest title on the
      newsstand.

      It was a dizzy, headfirst time, but the inevitable passing of the
      Zephyr team coincided with the inevitable passing of their youth.
      Most of the team had graduated or dropped out of high school by
      1978, and it was clear that the big world outside Dogtown had
      different plans for each of them. Before that would happen, though,
      they had one last brief and brilliant moment together. It was at a
      place they called Dino's Dogbowl.

      Dino was a kid with terminal cancer who looked up to the Z-Boys. In
      the summer and fall of 1978, he fulfilled a personal "make a wish"
      and got his dad to drain their pool in wealthy north Santa Monica.
      It was open only to Z-Boys and their guests, and it became the place
      where they rekindled the old Dogtown spirit. "It was like back to
      the old times because it was just us," remembers Peralta. "There
      weren't any officials, and it wasn't sanctioned. It was pure again
      for a while."

      The Dogbowl sessions are still legendary. The friendly competitive
      fire was back, and the boys pushed each other further and further
      above the coping. Then, during one of the sessions, nobody's too
      sure on which day, Tony Alva barreled up the wall to vert. He
      blasted past the coping and shot out into open air. He grabbed his
      board, turned his nose and re-entered. Alva had landed the first
      aerial. The line in the sand had been crossed, and the Z-Boys had
      changed skateboarding forever, again.

      "It just felt like the ultimate adrenaline rush. We thought hitting
      the lip was the limit," Alva says of that day. "I realized I had
      more control over gravity. There was a whole new level to get to
      now."

      The Dogbowl sessions lasted until Marina del Rey built a skatepark
      that became the place to go. The Z-Boys dispersed, and though they
      would ride together from time to time, ruling wherever they went, it
      was never on again like it was at the Dogbowl.

      By the end of 1980, skateboarding had faded from view too, going
      down in a sea of insurance issues, recession and mothers who didn't
      want their sons to grow up to be Z-Boys. Wentzle Ruml fled to the
      East Coast to escape the hard-partying lifestyle. Biniak went to
      college. Even Alva was out of circulation for a while as he tested
      the waters of higher education before deciding the mainstream world
      was not for him.

      Punk rock, since its West Coast inception, had been the sonic
      soulmate of the Dogtown scene. In fact, Jim Muir's younger brother,
      Mike, was the lead singer for seminal hardcore band Suicidal
      Tendencies. In punk Jay Adams discovered another outlet for the 100
      watts of aggression he had brought to skating. Although the Z-Boys
      had the reputation of never taking any shit, they didn't go looking
      for fights. With everyone gunning for them, they didn't have to. In
      the punk-rock scene, however, Adams admits he found an arena for
      what appeared to be sanctioned violence.

      "During that time, I was into L.A. punk rock," Adams writes from
      jail in Hawaii, where he's serving time on a drug bust. "Life was
      filled with violence. In order for me to have a good night, somebody
      else had to have a very bad night. Now that I'm older, I know that
      shit ain't right, but at the time, <br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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