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The True Story of Dogtown and the Zephyr Team

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The Zephyr Team (or Z-Boys)

The Zephyr team had 12 members:

  • Shogo Kubo
  • Bob Biniak
  • Nathan Pratt
  • Stacey Peralta
  • Jim Muir
  • Allen Sarlo
  • Chris Cahill
  • Tony Alva
  • Paul Constantineau
  • Jay Adams
  • Peggy Oki
  • Wentzle Ruml
While surfing is what pulled the Zephyr team together, skateboarding would be what would pull them apart. But not before they changed the world forever.

Skateboarding's Rebirth

Skateboarding was a hobby that had a short lived flash of excitement in the late 50's. However, in 1965 skateboarding's popularity fell off the face of the Earth. At that time, skateboarders would ride using dangerous clay wheels, and anyone who wanted to skate had to build their own skateboard from scratch.

However, in 1972, the same year that the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop opened, urethane skateboard wheels were invented. These wheels made skateboarding smoother, safer, and more reasonable. Today we still use urethane skateboarding wheels.

From Pastime to Passion

The Z-boys enjoyed skateboarding as something to do after surfing. The activity grew from a hobby for the Zephyr team into a new way to express themselves, and to show what they were made of. Style was the most important aspect of skateboarding to the Zephyr team, and they pulled all their inspiration from surfing. They would bend their knees deep, and enjoyed riding the concrete like they were riding a wave, dragging their hands on the pavement like Larry Burtleman. Burtleman would touch the wave as he was surfing, dragging his fingers across it. This move in skateboarding became known as a Burt and is still in skateboarding language today to refer to dragging fingers, or planting a hand on the ground and turning around it.

The skateboarding of the Zephyr team was unique and powerful. At the same time that they were sidewalk surfing, skateboarding was growing in popularity in other areas of the US. For the rest of the country, skateboarding was slalom (riding down a hill back and forth between cones) and freestyle. Freestyle skateboarding is mostly dead today, but back then it was a huge part of the sport. Imagine ballet on a skateboard, or mixing ice skating with skateboarding. Freestyle was supposed to be graceful and artistic.

While the Zephyr team had nothing to do with freestyle skateboarding, they were familiar with slalom. Bicknell Hill ran down from the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop, and the Z-boys loved to set up cones and practice Burts and slalom on the hill. The Zephyr team also had four grade schools in the Dogtown area that they would skate at. These schools all had sloping concrete banks in their playgrounds, usually because the school was built into a hill, or had water drainage issues. For the Z-boys, it was a great place to skate. It was in these places that each skater developed his or her own style. But they still had further to go - in the hands of the Zephyr team, skateboarding would be changed forever.

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