Here's Just How Hardcore Skateboarding Was In The Early Days
In 1975, a group of young surfers from Southern California entered the annual Del Mar National skateboard competition and changed the sport forever. Under the guidance of surf shop owners Jeff Ho and Skip Engblom, the Zephyr Competition Team, nicknamed the Z-Boys, shocked the industry by blending into their routines surfing techniques that would come to define skateboarding as we know it today.Children skateboarding in Shanghai
Almost 45 years later, skateboarding has established itself as a billion-dollar industry and in 2020 will make its introduction as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
A new interactive exhibit by Vans shoes in Venice Beach, California, called Black Rainbows — after a reference to the wheel marks left on walls after performing wall rides — explores the rich history of this sport by presenting artifacts and photographs from the history of skateboarding. Here, Zephyr Competition Team cofounder and skateboarding pioneer Jeff Ho shares with BuzzFeed News a selection of artifacts from Black Rainbows and his own testimony on the birth of modern skateboarding.
At the time, skateboarding had taken a backseat to surfing. There was a lull with the sport in the ’60s, and it just wasn’t quite as popular. That all changed when urethane wheels came about and opened the door to a new world. The urethane wheel made the skateboard ride like it had grip, like it had four-wheel drive.
I knew something was going to happen in skateboarding, and that’s what inspired me to make the team. I had a surf team at the time, which quickly evolved into a skate team. These kids began integrating their surfing styles into the way they rode and then debuted these techniques in 1975 at an event called the Del Mar Nationals.