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Classic L.A. to Z: Z is for Z-BOYS

Photograph courtesy of Glen E. Friedman

The story of skateboarding in Los Angeles—the only story about skateboarding that matters—is one of revolution: A generation rejected the status quo and transformed a sport. In 1971, Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions opened in Santa Monica and sponsored a team of young surfers and skaters, dubbed “the Z-boys.” Riding the drought-drained pools in local backyards, they applied moves learned in the surf to dry land. When Zephyr skater Tony Alva recorded the first front-side aerial, riding his board above the pool’s coping and cleanly landing back in the empty basin, he helped launch the ollies, aerials, and lip tricks of modern skateboarding. Tony Hawk, Shaun White, and every kid you see with a board can be traced to that feral group of teens trying to squeeze innovation from four polyurethane wheels.

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