In the 1970s a group of surfer/skaters from Venice Beach, California revolutionised and popularised the sport with their audacious tricks and turns. Their aim was simple: to replicate the quick turns and flexibility on land that surfers had on water. This group of skaters were known as the Z-Boys, members of the Zephyr Skateboard Team and were recently popularised in the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and the film Lords of Dogtown which were both written by real life Z-Boy Stacey Peralta. The aerial and sliding skate moves that the Z-Boys invented were the basis for the aerial skateboarding and surfing still popular today. Considered the most influential skateboard team in history, the Z-Boy movement continues to this day as an expression of performance, innovation and style. Peralta was one of the best freestyle skaters of his era also had a hand in the development of a certain Tony Hawk and sponsored the young Rodney Mullen when he first turned professional as a member of the Bones Brigade. Mullen, who is credited with inventing thirty-nine distinctive tricks, is perhaps the epitome of evolution from the days of the Z-Boys.
There is no doubt about it skateboarding is a modern day global phenomena, a street sport that transcends race, gender, ethnicity and social class, ultimately it is about ability. Now some of us struggle at times walking around on two legs let alone riding about on four wheels but for those who can ride the feeling of liberation is immense (as immortalised in Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push” and the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “The Zephyr Song”). The sport is not simply focused on the skating sub-culture, it also exposes skaters to other sub-cultures ranging from clothing, music and art to photography and film-making. As the skaters in the video below will tell you skating is for everybody, a way of life.
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