Never get bored talkin’ skateboarding

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From today’s column on the skateboard art and evolution exhibit in Santa Monica (linked here):

Say hey, is that a skateboard with Willie Mays on it? Can you even imagine the San Francisco Giants star of the 1960s up on one of these things, racing a cable car up and down the hills and pulling up to a stop at Candlestick Park for a game?

That’s part of the marketing culture that skateboarding companies, like Union Skate Shop in Texas, tried to use to connect with kids who were interested in sports.

Such as the wall of boards that reflected the 1960s space race, where President John Kennedy vowed to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. As a result, skateboard companies had rocket-ship themed boards.

“It’s whatever kids were into,” said Mike Trotter, the museum staff curator and exhibition designer. “Kids were jazzed about rockets and race cars, speed and surfing. Even Frankenstein.

“With this exhibit, I really want to show the big contrast and how not just the whole skate world but how the whole world changed. Skaters are very individualistic, they do their own thinking. They’re an interesting group.”

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You see kids from all eras coming in. You see families with grandfathers, fathers and sons talking about skateboards together here. They can share in something like this.”

Trotter says the idea for the skateboard exhibit game from doing a history of surf exhibit at the museum back in 1993. He credits Skip Enblom (Wikipedia bio here), was one of the co-founders of the Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions Surf Shop in Santa Monica and owner of the Zephyr skate team, with pushing to get the skateboard display started.

As a result, you’ll see how many of first skateboards were simply box-crate scooters taken apart, then refined. A Flexing Racer model looks like what Charles Foster Kane would have been dreaming about on his deathbed if Rosebud hadn’t already been in his consciousness.

There’s a Zipee sidewalk surfer all pro M373 model. A Big Wheeler by the Adolph Keifer company of Northfield, Ill. A three-yellow diamond Expert X800 model by Playcraft Inc., of Portland, Ore.

The forest green “Flying Ace Road Surfer” by Moen-Patton, Inc., of Lancaster, Pan.

The ValSurf model notes its North Hollywood and Woodland Hills roots, and also has a handwritten sign attached: “Mahogany, 24″, 27″ — $9.95; 30″, 32″, 36″ — $11.95; 40″ — $12.95)

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More to find on skateboarding culture in Southern California:

== The California Heritage Museum website (linked here), across the street from a Hurley, Billabong and ZJ Boarding Store, and near the Surf Liquor store and its “world famous” surf dogs.

== The Mahaka website (with vintage T-shirts for sale) (linked here)

== The ValSurf website (linked here)

== The Hobie website (linked here)

== Provo-Utah based Epic Longboards (where I got my latest board) (linked here)

== The Rift Longboards website (linked here): In the current issue of Los Angeles Magazine, focused on where to buy L.A.-based things, Rift Longboards has a mention. Using leftover lumber from local businesses, the owners of the Real Door woodshop teammed up with CAA agent Seamus Blackley to create what they say is “jewelry for men.” Said Blackley: “There are a lot of guys out there who are lapsed skateers and we want to build something really beautiful that can take people back to that.”

== The ArtofSkateboarding website (linked here)

== VintageSkateboardMagazines.com (linked here)

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