Z-Boys.com archive: Westside Style or Under the Skatetown Influence "Original Dogtown Article"


SkateBoarder Magazine
Vol. 2, No.6
August, 1976
By John Smythe

"Traditionally, on the Westside, the varied beach and adjacent communities have been a hotbed of skate action. In the '60s, the Santa Monica Bay area spawned both the original Makaha and Hobie Vita Pak teams. Personalities like Fries, Johnson, Bearer, Woodward, Saens, Blank, Archer, the Hiltons, Trafton, et al., established the freestyle standard for the world. They wowed the masses in innumerable demos at department stores throughout the land, showing city slicks and farm boys alike a glimpse of the Westside style. Even today their exploits are regarded with awe. After all, people still mention Skater Dater.

"There are explanations offered for the area's early emergence as a skate power. The most common is the "origin of the species" proposal. Simply stated, it goes that since skateboarding itself originated in the mid-'50s as an invention of the Malibu surf crew, the people who lived in the vicinity were naturally more proficient. Other reasons may be found in the region's diverse topographic contours. Canyon runs, storm drains, banked dopes, swimming pools, dams, concrete pipes, and parking lots abound. Consequently, all sorts of skating situations were readily accessible.

"Well, the spots are still there, and over the last decade new faces, drawing heavily upon this local heritage, have pioneered some radical new approaches. This style made its public debut at the Del Mar Nationals 18 months ago in the incarnation of the now notorious Z-boys. The boys made quite an impression with their hard-driving, low-slung, pivotal, bank-oriented moves. In the words of the Mellow Cat hisself, 'There was so much aggression, they were more like a street gang than a skate team,' or as the reporter from the Evening Sentinel put it, 'While everyone else was standing up, these kids were turning all over the ground.'

"Since the stepping forth of the Skatetown-based Z-boys and their innovative trips, they have been widely imitated, but no one yet seems to have mastered the finer points. 'I see guys who have copied one or two moves, but they don't have it… they just skate, get down, slide, stand up and move on to their next trick—the problem is that their approaches are not integrated.'
— N. Pratt

"On any given day, practitioners of the new Westside style such as Adams, Alva, Cullen, Constantineau, Muir, Oldham, Cahill, Oki, Kubo, Peralta, Pratt, Ruml, Hoffman, etc. can be seen on the streets where you live (at least it you dwell in Skatetown), carving out new legends for an even newer era.

'The whole thing has been going on up here for a long time, now the trip is out of the bag, and the influence is spreading… '
— Tony Alva."

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