The titans of it all were there in force. Salba, Duane Peters, Steve Olson, Lance Mountain, Rick Blackhart, Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi, John Lucero, Jeff Grosso, Brad Bowman, Darren Navarette, Peter Hewitt… the list could fill this piece. The new industry standard for skate history museums was being unveiled at the VIP event which coincided with the 40th anniversary of N.H.S. Many of the key players were assembled to see for it themselves. They would not be disappointed.
The museum is much more than a display of skate history. It is skate history, right down to the very “walls” that some of the displays hang on. Upended skated ramps, complete with wheel and board marks form some of the actual pathways that you travel to view the displays… it is pure skateboarding and it is completely fucking proper.
While the museum highlights the history of the specific brands that N.H.S. has developed, we all came not so much to celebrate this or any other particular piece of history, as much as we came to revel in the fact that skating has a history that we’re all part of. Even those of us that were there in the beginning tend to get stuck on the immediate, the impending and forget the significance to our lives of what has already been. This museum has been erected to remind us of whence we came, lest we forget our roots. Moreover, an unfortunate affliction of youth is the inability to see the significance in the moments you live and even more, the ones that have come before. This place will be here to show them that their personal journey in skating actually began long before they put their prints on it.
I was picked up by Santa Cruz in early 1978 and got sponsored by Independent trucks shortly thereafter. I was among the first group to have that honor, so this was almost surreal on a personal level. It spoke to me through some of the most significant moments in our history, moments I was privileged to witness first hand on many occasions. I was there at Winchester skatepark when the first production Independent trucks were unveiled to the public at large by the Buck brothers, Peter Gifford and company. I sat next to Jay Shuirman at the Newark contest and watched Bobby Valdez pull off the first hand plant in competition. I was no more than ten feet away. I witnessed Rick Blackhart skating at the same event, power grinding his way into the first Indy ad. Here it all is, the boards, trucks, photos and most importantly the people. This place is almost beyond words and description for me. It is a tactile connection to the past and the feeling and energy that was the beginning of what is now. It is an awesome collection of the artifacts of our lineage.
My old friend and skate partner Bob Denike is the “Man’ at N.H.S. as many of you may know. What most may not realize is that while many have worked tirelessly to put this epic museum together, Bob has also been as busy as anyone down in the trenches. He didn’t just pontificate and delegate but personally went out in search of the fragmented pieces of our history, dealing with various “unique” individuals, hassles and frustrations all while also running a major corporation. We are all extremely fortunate to have a man like him at the helm of one of our industry giants. His character is beyond reproach and he sweats out and engineers every detail purely out of his love and dedication to our craft. This museum is a testament to that. What was is inseparable from what is. May the future be worthy of the glorious past that created it. Peace. – Scott Foss
Thank you to Lorrie Palmos for the images and Scott Foss for taking us along for the evening. Skate- Ozzie