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The True Story of Dogtown and the Zephyr Team

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Dogtown is an area of West Los Angeles - the poorer, slum area on the south side of Santa Monica that covered Venice Beach and Ocean Park Beaches.

Throughout the 1970's, the surfers in Dogtown were aggressive and antisocial. They fit into the stereotype of the time that surfers were poor dropouts. For a lot of these young people, surfing was all they had.

Surfing at The Cove

Right between Venice beach and Santa Monica was an abandoned amusement park right on the water called the Pacific Ocean Park Pier. The locals called it the P-O-P. In the middle of the POP was an area where the huge wood pilings and rickety piers were built in a U shape, creating a kind of secret cove. And that's what the locals called it - "The Cove." It was an incredibly dangerous place to surf, with large tilted wood pilings jutting from the watter, and not enough room for all the surfers. But the local surfers of Dogtown prized their secret surf spot, and defended it fiercely - often with force. Outsiders had to earn their way in.

This kind of lifestyle and mindset drove into these young people the need to prove themselves. They knew what performance was about, they knew that they had to prove themselves to be anyone.

Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions

In 1972, Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig Stecyk started up a surf shop called Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions right in the middle of Dogtown. Jeff Ho hand crafted surfboards, and pushed the limits and ideas of surfboard design. He was unique, cutting edge, and a little crazy. Craig Stecyk was the artist who designed the surfboards' graphics. Most surfboards at the time used soft, rainbow images or calm, pretty island scenes. Craig pulled his graphics from local graffiti, and made Zephyr surfboards reflect the area that they were made in.

The Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop also started up the Zephyr surf team. Dogtown was full of young surfers who had nowhere to go, and who were hungry to prove themselves and gain an identity. The Zephyr team provided just that. A lot of what went on in the shop was sketchy at best, but these kids came from broken and messed up families, and the Zephyr team provided a home.

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