I spent an entire year questioning the early pioneers of skateboarding. I emailed, phoned and then wrote down anecdotes and memories. William Sharp scanned negatives and slides for days on end. He told me, “One rainy February morning, I made coffee, came into my study and started scanning. The next thing I knew, my wife was phoning and asking what I wanted for dinner. It was already after 6:00 pm.” He confided that there were several days spent in such a manner.
I have spoken to most of the main skaters that William Sharp photographed all those long summers ago. I’ve been frustrated, elated, humored, humbled and appalled. Most were gracious and accommodating. Most were surprised that anyone was interested in listening to them. Many really delved deep, trying to give me what I needed. Some used me for their own ends. In retrospect, it was a learning experience. I found out the stories behind the story. I learned. I am presenting these riders in their own words. When these photographs were taken, I lived in Pennsylvania. Although I started skating in 1973, I wasn’t here. I was there. Outsider. I’ve never been a pro. I’ve never been sponsored. I’ve never been anything other than a collector of words. A manipulator of sorts. I claim nothing else.
I spent the entire weekend going over everything page by page. A few of the riders are still holding out. Whether it is ambivalence, distrust, sloth or they simply don’t care is of no consequence at this point. I’ll put them in the book regardless. Respect for what they’ve done. I’m in Oxnard this morning already. William and I are doing an image count and then we are moving forward. I’ll keep you informed. Thank you for the support. – Ozzie