Tom Wally Inouye
If my memory serves me right, this shot was taken in late 1978, right after I left Sims for Caster. At the time, I was living in San Diego and would make the drive north to skate places like Marina, Lakewood, and Upland. In this shot I’m riding Chris Strople’s model, with a flat deck, no concave and a wedge tail. It has Gullwing trucks and Wing wheels with TRW MRC 38ff bearings ($138.00 a set). The Marina Del Rey skatepark– back keyhole –saw some amazing sessions.
For me it was about my equipment. Jumping ship from Sims to Caster was not motivated by money, but by performance. Bill Caster was a premier surfboard shaper for the Big Rock and Wind-n-Sea crew and truly believed in quality not quantity. He along with Ken Watson (Watson Laminates) brought this quality to skateboards. Casters boards were made from hard rock maple with epoxy resin and two layers of 6oz fiberglass. Not only were they strong but they had a life characteristic to them we called BOING. Gullwing Trucks came from the slalom side of things and Mike Williams first gave me a set to try. While still on Sims, I decided to join the Gullwing team along with Strople, Kubo, Kimbel, Martinez, Piercy and Williams. They developed Wings wheels, which were very fast for their time.
Brad Strandlund would always help me with my equipment by taking all my wheels and putting them on his lathe and making them perfectly round. Sometimes, he would cut grooves on the riding surface if I was going to ride plexiglass for added traction. He would lathe me special inside and outside lips or conicals. Brad also turned me on to the best bearing ever. It was the TRW MRC 38ff bearing. It was an aircraft bearing and you could turn your board upside down and spin your wheel and it would still be spinning for as long as ten minutes!