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SHOGO KUBO 2000-2001 INTERVIEW
EXCLUSIVELY FOR Z-BOYS.COM

Why did you move from dogtown to Cherry Hill?
I never moved to Cherry Hill...

How long did you stay there?
About 3 months, I think...

Was it just the magazines then that called you a "Cherry Hill local"?
I think the reason they said that is because I was there for so long... I planned to be there only for a couple of days at the most... The owner Steve, and the staff made me feel so comfortable that I ended up staying for awhile.

Was that really the best park ever built?
It was one of the best.

Why did you leave the Zephyr Skateboard Team?
The reason for leaving was because of Jay. We were best friends at that time, and I was to get my own model from Z-Flex.

The Z-Flex team?
I was thinking 'mo money. I wanted to make as much as the rest of the boyz....And I really believed that going to Dogtown Skates was the ticket.

Dogtown team?
I was so pissed for getting ripped off from those JACKASSES from the East coast(Yeah you, Mutt & Jeff) that I just walked away from skateboarding....

What was it like having your own pool (original Dogbowl)?
It was the best thing that we could ask for...Killer pool without cops!!

Did any outsiders try to skate the pool? If so, were they shut down?
I can't recall anybody trying...We kept it low key as much as possible...

What was it like having your own skatepark (Marina Skatepark)?
I was there pretty much everyday... It was a lifestyle that was like a dream....Surf in the morning, and skate all day and night.

What were the "original" Dogbowl sessions like?
It was Gnarly. Just all of us pushing each other to the limit.... Jay would just rip a gnarly run, Then T.A. would try to top that....And Biniak would just go insane....It was crazy..... All of us improved as skaters so much in that pool... I believe T.A. started doing fronside airs at that pool.

Who did you like to skate with?
I especially liked to skate with Jay. His aggressive style was something that I really liked to watch.

Why did you leave skateboarding?
As I mentioned earlier, I was getting tired of getting ripped off ... I woke up one day, and just walked away from everything.

Walked away from the professional side of it? Or were you bored of skating in general?
Not bored of skating...NO...It was a combination of lot of things.. My father wanted me to get a "REAL JOB", and I just got tired of him telling me over and over...But I realized later why...

When did you last skate a pool and/or a ramp?
Back in '95 with Christian (Hosoi) over here in Hawaii. It was the first time I'd been on a skateboard in over 15 years or so.....Within a few runs, I did bust a "layback", THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE.

There must have been opportunities to skate during that 15 year span, any particular reason why you didn't?
After I walked away, I got a full time job...I guess you could say that I was burned out on skating.

Do you think you could still skate at a level that was comparable to your 70's level?
I would like to think that I can, because I am still in good shape physically....But I ain't STUPID!!!

What was most important to you about being a "skater"?
Just to have fun....Unfortunately, money became the issue after a while and that ruined the whole purpose, to have fun......

Who do you still keep in touch with from your skating days?
I was not in contact with anybody for a long time...but with this movie coming out, I've contacted people that I haven't been in touch with for over 20 years. Stacy, Friedman, Wentzle, Humpston,...It's just so cool.

Do you hope to keep in touch with your old skate friends now that you're "re-united" with some of them so to speak as a result of the Dogtown documentary being made?
Hell Yeah!! That was something that I really missed. As you grow up, all of us move on...I was always so envious of people that could say "We've known each other since the 1st grade!" To me that is so cool...Now, I think I could say that about couple of OLD DOGS...

I'm sure you're aware Jay Adams is incarcerated at the moment...have you spoken to him lately?
I haven't seen or spoke to Jay since '96.

Jeff Ho, and "Baby" paul Cullen, are both living in hawaii...do you have contact with either of them?
I haven't seen them in 20 plus years. If you talk to them, Please give them my E-mail address.

What was it like the weeks and months following the the 1975 Del Mar Nationals?
That was so long ago that I can't even remember... I think I just skated and surfed as usual...

What was the most defining moment in your professional or contest part of your skating career?
I think it was in '77 or '78, I did a demo in Japan at this skatepark in Okayama... We rolled in and there were over 100 kids that were trying to look like me... Long hair, ripped jeans, Etc...I don't know if you would call that defining, but I realized at that time that I was a so called "Pro Skater". As far as contests go, I never really skated well in them. And when I did skate well, my scores weren't that good for some reason....

Did you have a "mentor" or someone you looked up to during your pro skating career?
My idols were Larry Bertleman and Jeff Ho.

Did you ever have a chance to meet and/or skate with Bertleman? If so, where and what was it like?
I have never met him...

Any regrets in your life as a skater?
I wish that I would of had better judgement in business decisions...but what do you expect from a 17 year old kid?

Anything you would change about the past in normal life?
I wish that I would have gotten a college education.

Do you still get recognized as "Shogo Kubo" the infamous D.T. Z-boy??
No, not really... Only when I wear a skate related T-shirt at a skate related place.

How do people react when they realize who you are?
It kind of freaks me out...When they tell me stuff like "I had all of your boards...You were like god to me..." I don't know if they're bullshiting, but it is very FLATTERING.

What's your opinion on how skateboarding has progressed in the 80s & 90's?
It has changed for the better. Bigger tricks, more money.. Very Impressed.

Do you ever pick up any skateboard magazines?
Occasionally..

Any skaters now that you like to watch?
Watanabe brothers...George on ramps and Wes on street. I hope that they're still skating...

What comments do you have about the following people? could be as little as "no comment" - or as long as you want..

Tony Alva:
The love that he has for skating...It's just unbelievable... He should be the ambassador of skateboarding.

Jay Adams:
Most radical person I'll ever meet in my life... He goes 100% at everything he does, whatever he does...

Stacy Peralta:
Stacy is one of the smartest skaters ever... I've always respected Stacy because he never tried to be somebody that he wasn't...True gentleman.

Paul Constantineau:
He was a rock n' roller. Stylist on a skateboard.

Bob Biniak:
Powerful, yet stylish. A leader.

Wentzle Ruml:
Silky smooth. Highland Ave. Santa Monica, California. That's where we had some mean sessions when we were growing up.

Wes Humpston:
The Boss, killer artist.

Jim Muir
I really didn't know him too well...back then... He was a couple of years older.

Peggy Oki:
I really didn't know her that well...All I could remember about her was she was a very stylish skater, and very down to Earth.

Arthur Lake:
Little rat. He had the best house in the world that had a little pool that was the bomb!!

"Baby" Paul Cullen:
Little little rat...He amazed me the way he skated for how small he was.

Dennis "Polar Bear" Agnew
Gnarly... He was a poweful skater with lots of skill.

Jimmy Plumer:
No comment.

Paul Hoffman:
He is another who never tried to be someone he wasn't. Great freestyle skater.

Larry Bertleman:
GOD and my idol... All the early moves on bank skating was to copy his surfing moves.

Torger Johnson
Didn't know him.

Nathan Pratt:
Great surfer.

Alan Sarlo:
He was just.....Sarlo... He did the best off the lips on a wave in the world.

Chris Cahill:
Best kneeboarder that ever lived.

Jeff Ho:
My idol as a kid.

Skip Engblom:
Another idol.

C.R. Stecyk III:
The best writer and photographer of all time.

Glen E. Friedman:
With all the shit that he took at the beginning of his career from all of us... I respect the man very much...And very proud of that little "Brentwood Rich Kid".

Marty Grimes:
Looked out of control, yet he was so in control.

What was it like having your photos and name in the skate magazines?
Mostly was cool, But It kinda got old after awhile.... What killed me (still does) was that they all think they know or knew you so well...

The magazine writers or the fans?
I don't know if they're my "fans"...Some people thought that just because I was a "Pro Skater", They assumed that I had a ego problem.

Was Tony Alva as bad-ass as the magazines made him out to be?
Definitely...and then some.

Do you have any cool story about Alva that you wanna share?
T.A. was a couple of years older than me so we really didn't hang out much.

Who didn't get the credit they deserved in the 70's skating scene?
Skaters: Polar Bear, Shreddy, Moses Padilla, Mark Lake.
Photographers: The "Dough" Brothers, Stan and Bill Sharp.

What did you think of the "hand-standers" in skating in the 70's?
To me it was another way of skating. I think we all tried it ONCE just to satisfy our egos.

What was your first reaction when you heard about the Dogtown documentary being made?
I was hoping that I would be in it and hoped that they would do it right.

Were you stoked to do your interview for the documentary? Did a lot of memories come back to you pretty easily?
Very stoked to do the interview, but to see Stacy after 20 plus years, that was very special. As far as the interview...Everything just clicked. I was yapping away like it was yesterday.

What did you think after reading the March, 1999 Spin Magazine article "The Lords of Dogtown"?
Pretty good....Lots of research...Jay and I never paid a pilot to look for pools!!

How was it hanging out at the Zephyr shop on Main Street? Any good stories?
I just feel sorry for the people that had to walk in front of the place... Sorry...We didn't mean to do half of that shit that we did... Basically, we made them get out of OUR way...As fast as they can.

Were drugs and alcohol prevelant when you were a pro skater?
That was the way of life back in the '70's in general.... Not just in the life of pro skaters....Everybody's!!

Did you ever save any of your signature models?
I have none...Not even one of my old skateboards... Anybody out there want to give one up?

Any good stories about showing up at a pool outside of Dogtown and dealing with the locals there?
Everytime that we went to any new pool, the locals would be skating.... Once we started skating, they just sat down for the rest of the day. They must have been tired already...

Was the Down South (San Diego) VS. Dogtown a reality or just magazine hype?
It was all hype...We got along fine with all those guys...Martinez, Pineapple... They were into a different type of skating...I mean, they skated pools and all, but their first love was freestyle, I think?

What was it like being of Asian decent in the scene back then?
Got the worst from my own kind...Not many Asians lived the lifestyle I lived.

Do you mean your family and friends? or from people of Asian decent in general?
Not just my family or Asians...Almost everybody in general, because Asians were supposed to be conservative, nice, not crazy... Once in Tulsa, Oklahoma...We pulled in to this Mcdonald's for some grub, as we were getting out of the car, I heard this father telling his kid "I don't ever want you looking like that!!" I just laughed...Damn rednecks!!

In the 70's do you think being a minority made any difference in the way other skaters treated each other?
No, not really skaters.....Maybe magazines and contest organizers?

How so with the magazines and contest organizers?
Never got a cover shot for SkateBoarder Magazine, or never placed higher than 4th in any contest. I don't know if I deserved the cover, but a few of the contests that I competed in... I KNOW I SKATED BETTER THAN WHAT I GOT.

Did you ever consider starting your own skate company as did T.A. (Alva), Jim Muir & Wes Humpston (Dogtown), and Stacy Peralta (Powell-Peralta)?
I wanted to try...But back in the '70's...long hair Asians were not very marketable, I think...No offers at all..

Why was the "Airbeam" chosen as the design for the construction of your Dogtown model? Did you have anything to do with those design concepts?
The only thing that I did for that board was to shape it. The boardmaker came up with all that so he could charge us more money. I did mention that we should come out with a cheaper board (traditional) so that people had a choice. (Idea was shot down!)

Did the board maker give any specific reasons why they chose that construction? Was it supposed to be lighter? Or just a new design concept?
He did say lighter, but stronger? I knew some people broke those boards, but I swear, I never broke one...It was just something different in the market, and I'm sure he made a hell of a lot more money than I did.

Were you ever able to save any of the cash you made from being a pro skater?
Ahhhhhhh........No.

What was your initial reaction when you heard about the Old School Skate Jam? A lot of the guys from the 70's were skating the bowl such as Marty Grimes, Tony Alva, George Wilson, Pineapple, Mike Folmer, etc...Do you think you'll skate next year at the event?
I really didn't think anything of it at first, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it could be the baddest event in skating history!! Just to be with all the bros after so many years...I tried so hard to be there, but I just couldn't get off work. You guys did a hell of a job. I WILL NOT miss the next one!!

"Dogtown and Z-Boys" won 2 awards at the Sundance Film Festival. What are your thoughts on it? Do you think "Dogtown" will turn out to be a household name?
I haven't seen the film yet...from what I hear, the film was very good and Stacy did a great job of telling it like it WAS. CONGRATS STACY. As far as being a household name? No chance at all. I really don't think most other than the skate and surf related world would watch the film...and if they do...would they understand ???

20-25 years ago, drugs, money, egos, and being ripped off seem to be some of the main contributing factors to a lot of skaters doing their own thing for their own personal gain. Do you see that happening again with the Dogtown documentary and Hollywood planning a Dogtown movie?
It shouldn't happen, but you know what MONEY can do to people. As long as there is MONEY involved...anything is possible... And far as DRUGS are concerned....If you're still doing that EVIL shit...Isn't it about time to say NO???

One thing we all have to remember is that...DOGTOWN wasn't about certain individuals...It was about a GROUP of us kids who changed the way of life for many, and definitely changed the way people skated.

What should people know about "DOGTOWN" now that the documentary is getting critical acclaim?
The skating that you see today is what we created a long time ago... If we didn't show the world OUR way of skating back then, there wouldn't be the type of skating that you see today. WE ARE THE PIONEERS OF MODERN DAY SKATEBOARDING.

Take us back to the first time you heard the term "DOGTOWN". What did it mean to you then? And what does it mean to you now?
I can't remember when I first heard it. It was just a place where we grew up, surfed and skated. I was very proud of it as a kid and still am to this day.

Was the term "Z-boys" all magazine hype? Do you recall who or when the term was first used?
No hype at all. We thrashed what ever we skated with the STYLE that nobody could copy...I don't know who started calling us "Z-boys". Probably at the Del Mar contest...by one of the FREESTYLERS.

Did you feel weird about being termed a "Z-boy" after you left the Zephyr Team?
Not at all. To me, that is the ULTIMATE HONOR if you grew up in D.T. We'll be "Z-boys" for life...

Do you feel "Dogtown" was a place and time that can be duplicated in a movie?
NO WAY. The only way that they can do something even close is to get us all Together and let us tell the TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH.

The new "BULLDOGS ART" (Wes Humpston's company)-"SHOGO KUBO DESIGN" skateboard for 2001 is completed. Tell us a bit about the board and the design.
It's a POOL/RAMP board. I wouldn't recommend trying kickflips on it... 32" x 10" and something similar to the board I had from DTS back in the 70's. It's definitely NOT for the money...We just want to share what is in our heart and soul... SKATEBOARDERS FOR LIFE!!

Have you been skating lately?
I won't call it skating...I've been so busy with work and raising 2 kids, I really don't have much time. I do ride my skateboard every chance I get. Just to cruise around to get my legs in shape and just to get the feel back. It's been a long time since I really skated... Don't worry, I'll be in skating shape by the next OSSJ!!!

Tell us about any part of your present day life you'd like to share. with all of us
My life at this time is very peaceful. I've got a great wife (very understanding) and 2 beautiful kids. My son, Shota, is 12 years old, and my daughter, Meagan, is 10 years old. Shota has taken an interest in skating recently, (I was also 12 when I started!!) and asks lots of questions about it. (He wishes I knew Tony Hawk personally!) I really don't care if he skates or not... My baby girl is a hula dancer, which she has been practicing for the past 5 years, And HELL NO, She won't skate as long as I live!!

KIDS, Stay in school and get your education, You will appreciate it when you get older...

DRUGS WILL TAKE AN AFFECT IN YOUR LIFE...STAY OFF IT!! And you don't have to carry your board down the sidewalk...You're suppose to ride it!!!

I would like to Thank "The Watanabe" family in Carson, California. I wish you the best of luck...

Peace,
Shogo

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