Picture 6zephyr team dogtown west los angeles skateboard

ca. 1975, the original Zephyr (Z-Boys) skateboard team at the Del Mar Nationals, the first US national skateboarding competition — Shogo Kubo, Bob Biniak, Nathan Pratt, Stacy Peralta, Jim Muir, Allen Sarlo, Chris Cahill, Tony Alva, Paul Constantineau, Jay Adams, Peggy Oki, Wentzle Ruml — Image by Craig Stecyk.  While the Z-Boys non-conformist style and brash behavior did not sweep the winners podium, every major skateboard company took notice and came after their stars with lucrative offers and endorsement deals. Jeff Ho and Skip could not compete with the big brand’s deep pockets– within 6 months, the Zephyr team we be no more.

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Born out of the gritty Venice Beach surf slumtown called Dogtown— where you had better have eyes in the back of your head– the infamous Z-Boys were the motley badass boys of skateboarding assembled by the co-founders of Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions–Craig Stecyk, Jeff Ho, and Skip Engblom. This scrappy group of street kids, who gave skateboarding  teeth, were loyal disciples of their radical father figures who put Dogtown style on the map. These kids would carry the torch and create a skateboarding cultural revolution that started as an extension of their surfing, and grew into a distinctive Z-Boys style that forever changed the skating world.

Heavily influenced by Dogtown’s mean streets, Jeff Ho’s surfboard design and attitude was a direct reflection of the neighborhood’s tough low rider and graffiti lifestyle. Ho and crew thumbed their noses (or more accurately “flipped the bird”) at the mainstream squeaky-clean surf culture, and the Zephyr surf team fiercely guarded their turf against any invading non-locals who wanted to ride their waves. And if the locals didn’t get you by hurling chunks of concrete and glass as you surfed, the insanely dangerous conditions of the decaying Pacific Ocean Park would. The mangled and jutting pier pylons were there waiting for a screw-up so they could impale you, or snap your precious board to pieces.

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Dogtown’s legendary Zephyr surf team with c0-founder and designer Jeff Ho far right.

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