Remember…?

Don Hoffman & Jim Goodrich watch Doug Schneider @ Spring Valley contest 1978.

It was very cold that winter. Pennsylvania was a barren land of gaunt trees, ice & frozen roads. The field’s stretched away to the horizon; rolling & empty. Farms shouldered the hillsides & cattle plodded- aimlessly-in mud & snow, nosing the hard earth for anything green. The earth slept and–like me– dreamt of springtime. I jumped puddles & slush to cross the road and get to the mailbox. My breath hung in the air. The cold bit at my lungs. We lived out on a rural road & it was that time of the month when ‘Skateboarder’ magazine arrived in my dreary corner of the world.

I had a ritual. I would feel my heart pound, as I saw it inside the mailbox. I fingered its glossy edges & peered intently at the cover. I saw the image, the stickers on the board and the riders helmet. I saw the skaters style, the trick, the grab, the pool, its tiles and coping. I looked at everything. I was like a scientist in a white sterile laboratory. Scrutiny was my occupation & ‘Skateboarder’ my lab manual. My ritual was followed monthly. I would run into the house, tripping over my own wet sneakers. Grabbing a quick snack, I would careen down the hallway & take the stairs two-at-a-time in my haste.

I would hibernate behind my big wooden door & open the cover. I read the advertisements. I read the editor comments, letters to the magazine & small print within the staff listings. When I say that I read every word, I mean it. ‘Skateboarder’ was the biblical fountain from which I drank. It was where I went to drink &  quench the thirst in my soul. I care little of the opinion of those out there thinking I am a kook.

Think what you will. I have skated ramps, pools & vert for over 35 years of my life & probably will continue doing so for awhile longer. I know in my heart that there are those out there, just like me. There are those of you out there….that remember. Do you? Thanks to Craig Fineman (R.I.P.) for the image. Skate & remember what it was like to be a kid, before the weed, booze, girls & egos. Remember- skating, rolling & loving your skateboard. -Ozzie

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15 thoughts on “Remember…?

  1. it’s so sweet to sit here and read this, and the several others i have read tonight, i just found this again and am so glad you’re back up and running, my first experience with skateboarder was thru a friend who was older than i, he had all the issues i think, this was 86-87, i had been skateboarding for a couple years at that point. those magazines were so fun to go through and dream, this was Louisiana, and the only concrete park i had skated at that point was pink panther in Slidell La. and it had been closed for years when i went, but i got goosebumps looking at all those parks and pools, never in a million years did i ever think i would skate stuff like that. well thanks to the popularity of concrete parks and a hurricane named Katrina, i have gotten to skate the very terrain i saw all those years before! DAMN GOOD TO SEE YOU BACK Ozzie!! keep up the great thing you got going here

  2. Right on brother!
    I was exactly the same in a wet cold England. Glam shots of California like this lifted my spirits and took me to another place.
    Roll for life!

  3. blessed are the days STILL when the new rags come out..blessed forever more

    beautiful biblical metaphors for the living breathing soul of skate bleeds through us all, ozzie it bleeds through us all

    beautiful

  4. Bible is an understatement! I lived for that mag. That first Skateboarder with Greg Weaver carving that pool is the one that got me hopping over fences up in Palos Verdes. God, how I loved that ‘zine, cover to cover and back again. Not just the sk8 shots, but the Kanoa Surf and Val Surf adverts used to kill me! I wanted all that shit. I still have all my old mags, some tattered and torn, missing centerfolds here, maybe a cover there, but I never let them go. They’re like a time machine that can take me back to some of the best times of my youth. So many great memories. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only “kook”! Good one Ozzie!

  5. You and I would study Skateboarder and discuss every aspect of the mag. I still get flashbacks of that time. Those images and words are etched into our brains. Those skate magazines made our dismal fucking East coast winters bareable. That, and your basement and Del’s attic… Good times. And by the way, Partain is right you need to do a coffee table book.

  6. You totally nailed it, Oz. Totally.

    The magazines (plural) meant everything to me back then. Granted, I was born and raised here in Los Angeles. You’d think that meant I skated my life away. Nope. I was born black and female. I wasn’t allowed to skate (although I did when no one was looking) and surfing was out of the question (as I couldn’t swim, had straightened hair, and East Coast parents who weren’t about the beach). Still, I read Skateboarder and Surfer as if my life depended on them. I couldn’t go outside and practice the stuff I saw in the mags. All I could do was dream. Mind you, this was at a time when (1) girls were looked down on for being athletic (i.e., being a tomboy) and (2) black folks thought surfing and skating were what white people did.

    Fast forward to 2010. I still get the incredulous looks when people find out I both surf and skate. Now it’s got more to do about my age and less to do about my race/gender. Thanks for this post!

  7. Oh yes I remember….it took a while until I was able to read everything as I was young and just learning english….and it took a while longer to realize that I learned a lot more reading Skateboarder and Thrasher than during hours at school….did you also know the text by heart after a few days?

  8. Mark,
    Duncan Campell became the executor of Craig’s photographic archive and he most likely has the images that you speak of. I know this first hand since I worked directly with Craig and his images while editing Independent’s “Built to Grind” book project in 2003. Sadly, Craig passed on before the book was published to include several of his brilliant photos. All of his original slides were returned to Duncan afterwards.

    Best,

    BK

  9. “When I say that I read every word, I mean it. ‘Skateboarder’ was the biblical fountain from which I drank. It was where I went to drink & quench the thirst in my soul.” Damn Ozzy, when I read these words above, my chest shuddered and tears came to my eyes, for this was me also…and I’m sure it was many of US

  10. and yes I hold these thoughts close to my heart ! SKATEBOARDER MAG was it for me that is where I got my education from ! Great time in my life that I will never forget and you nailed it again Ozzie ! I’m telling you , do a hardback coffee table book ! the stories are the best .. you truly RULE thanks Oz !

  11. where do you keep digging these photos that Fineman took up ? There should be a stash of Oxnard Endless Wave photos somewhere … I actually talked with Craig about a month before he passed ,and he had told me he still had a shoe box full of Oxnard slides with tons of photo’s of all the “SIMS TEAM” from “The Endless Wave” ! I ran into one of the Cambell brother from Bonzer surfboards (he owns and cooks at the Haleiwa Cafe in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii) he recognized me and we talk for a bit and he gave me Craig’s phone number at the time …. just wondering ,I have never seen one picture that he took of me,or any of the “Oxnard” locals that rode for Sims at the time….
    We where going to even meet so that I could check out the photo’s but it never happend ! …. ( on the phone we had a great conversation about some of the old times at Oxnard ) R.I.P. Craig Fineman

  12. i started rolling in 84-85 here we are 25 some years later and i do remember what was going on back then and those were good days, i try to visit every once in a while, at a session something will take me back barking trucks, hoots and hollers , a smell or someone who came out of the wood work, wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

  13. I remember…and I remember that is Stan and Bill Sharp to the right of Goodrich in that photo. They were the brothers who started Skateboard World Magazine and took some sick shots over the years!

    HACKMAN!

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