The Quarterly Newsletter of the
HERMOSA BEACH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Skateboards were developed in the 1950’s by California surfers as a way to recreate the feeling of riding a wave. The first boards were wooden planks with steel roller skate wheels nailed to their front and back ends. Roller Derby mass-produced the first skateboards in 1959. Completely lacking features which nowadays are common for skateboards, the Roller Derby had no concave, kicktail, or grip tape -steel wheels offered little to no traction.
The “First Skateboard Contest” was sponsored by Makaha, and held in 1963 at the Pier Avenue Junior High School in Hermosa Beach (outside the present Museum) - about 100 people showed up. Larry also put together the first skateboard exhibition team in 1963 with Westside and South Bay skateboarders, including Bruce “Earth Ski” Logan of Hermosa Beach, “I was skateboarding on the strand, right in front of the Redondo Breakwater when the Makaha team pulled up in a Chevrolet Nomad station wagon. The whole team piled out of the station wagon, and they all started skating.
Makaha manager Jimmy Ganzer came up to me and asked if I wanted to be on the team. We already had a team called the South Bay Skateboard Club, sponsored by Bing Surfboards. My brother had started it, and it was about as good as the Makaha team, but Makaha had a lot more to offer - travel, demos, department store appearances. They were the first to get skateboards into the big department stores. We were on TV probably half a dozen times.”
Skateboard Championship was aired on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”, and Skateboarding got on the cover of Life magazine. Skateboarding became very popular, and companies were fighting to keep up with demand. Over fifty million skateboards were sold within a three-year period. Unfortunately, since no one wore safety equipment, just as the sports momentum began to build, injuries forced the sales momentum to a halt. Skateboarding “is not a crime”, but was declared unsafe, and outlawed in many areas. Some boards were shelved, and didn’t reappear until equipment improved. Some people still rode, even though parts were hard to find and boards were home made.
Mike Kolar jumping Cosmo on The Strand – 1975
A soft urethane wheel developed by Frank Nasworthy in 1972, and manufactured by Cadillac in 1973, revolutionized the sport. These wheels provided much better speed, traction and maneuvering – no longer did skateboarders have to worry about small pebbles and cracks flinging them face first off their boards. Tricks evolved, empty concrete swimming pools became popular skate parks, and safety gear began to be worn – gloves, knee/elbow pads and helmets. In 1975, Road Rider made faster boards with sealed bearings packed in grease – no more adjusting & oiling ball bearings. In 1976, Kryptonics created the resilient wheel. In 1977, more than 30 companies were producing skateboards with wider “trucks” - the part that holds the wheels with better steering mechanisms.
In the late ‘70s, cities began building skate parks to keep kids off the streets and sidewalks. Surf shops became surf and skateboard shops. Unity Surf Shop at 422 Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach made the first skateboard push by sponsoring Ty Page and putting out a popular, wooden kick-tail skateboard called the Ty Stix. Eddie Talbot fired back with his own ET Ripstix - a wooden, kick-tail skateboard designed by Kevin Anderson. He has been with ET since the first day he opened the doors of ET Surf Shop. Anderson became the best vertical skateboarder in the South Bay. See and hear more about how Hermosa Beach “Skateboards Rule” at the Hermosa Beach Museum “Sidewalk Surfing” event.
The Hermosa Historical Society has acquired the services of professional museum consultant Tiffini A. Bowers. She has worked with numerous museums in helping them develop a total management program and training the museum staff, and also helped to develop the guidelines for developing a strong collections program and artifact cataloging system. Miss Bowers has worked in a similar capacity for a number of museums: El Pueblo Historical Monument, City of Los Angeles, Autry National Center/Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Los Angeles, CA, California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA and many others. Miss Bowers did her Graduate work at the State University of New York College at Oneonta - her major was Museum Studies.
Paper or plastic? Fly or drive? Snail or e-mail? If you would like HBHS notifications sent to you electronically, please send us your email address. Also, plans are in place to improve the HBHS website to include better access to information and event scheduling. As our website is improved, would you still like to receive hardcopy newsletters, or is online access your preference. Please send your thoughts and recommendations to email@example.com, Newsletter Director, for review and discussion – the debate will go on….
Members - Thank You All!
A warm welcome to our new members, and many thanks to those who have renewed. Please check your mailing label to see when you LAST paid your annual dues, as follows: Life Membership - $250; Business Membership - $50; Patron Membership - $50; Household Membership - $25. Please send your check to the HBHS, 710 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, 90254. Membership makes a great gift!
We Need More Docents!
Since the expansion of our museum, we have more visitors on a regular basis, but not enough docents. Our current need is Saturday/Sunday from 2-4:00 PM. The HBHS would like to expand opening hours to weekdays for student visits and special programs. Please call or e-mail me when you can be available – even once every couple of months will help! Training will be provided. Contact Janice@Janicebrittain.com or call 310 - 944 - 1271.
I would like to thank our voting members for electing me President of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society for a fourth term. I am honored to be your President and will continue my dedication to effective leadership and the pursuit of the preservation of our rich history. Now more than ever is the time for all of us to educate and empower our new “locals” as to what living in Hermosa is all about. Yours In Service, Rick Koenig
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