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The True Story of Dogtown and the Zephyr Team (page 3)


The Birth of Pool Riding

California had a record drought in the 70's, which caused a lot of people to empty their swimming pools. The Z-boys saw opportunity, and they dove right in. They would sneak into people's back yards, skate as long as they could, and then run when the police showed up.

First the team would just ride the pools, enjoying the flow, but pool riding evolved quickly. Each day each skater would try something new. They would push themselves and each other. They were always looking for a fresh new pool to ride. They even went as far as to bring pumping equipment and pump any remaining water left in some of the pools they found. They also defended each pool from outside skaters with the same ferocity as they defended the Cove.

The Del Mar Nationals

And then in 1975, the famous Del Mar Nationals were held in California. Skateboarding had risen back in popularity enough that a company called Bahne Skateboards held the first big skateboarding competition since the 1960's. The Zephyr team showed up in their blue Zephyr shirts and blue Vans shoes, and changed the world. The Del Mar Nationals competition had two areas - a slalom course and a platform for freestyle. The Zephyr team mocked the freestyle competition, but they entered anyway. The crowd loved thier low, agressive style, Burts and inventiveness. They were like nothing anyone had ever seen.

The Dogtown Articles

Also in 1975, Skateboarder magazine re-launched. In the second issue, Craig Stecyk began a series called the "Dogtown articles" with his first article called "Aspects of the Downhill Slide". These articles told the story of the Dogtown team. Craig's photography was even more inspiring than his surfboard art, and his articles fanned the flames of the skateboarding revolution that had started at Del Mar.

Only a few short months after the Del Mar nationals, the Zephyr team was ripped apart by the fame and popularity that they had won. Skateboarding was on the rise, new skateboarding companies were cropping up, and more competitions followed with even larger cash prizes. Everyone wanted a piece of the Zephyr team, and Jeff Ho couldn't compete with the money his team was being offered. The Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop closed down soon afterward.

The Zephyr team did get together for a while at a place they liked to call the Dogbowl. This was a large pool on a huge private estate in the rich area of North Santa Monica. By that time, they had all gone their own ways, but there at the Dogbowl they were able to hang out together, one last time.

Each member of the Zephyr team moved on, some to bigger and better skateboarding, some to other things. A small group of outcasts from the slums of Dogtown had changed their own lives, and the world, forever.

To find out more about the history of the Zephyr team, see Warren Bolster's photography book, watch the Dogtown and Z-Boys documentary or see the movie Lords of Dogtown. Or, read more about the History of Skateboarding.

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