Memory

Alva inerview cover 2-77

Our perception of things. It can change. Sometimes dramatically. I returned to the place where I lived after being gone for many years. The town was smaller than I recalled. Life was defined by my fading memories. Things were remembered differently. I guess it can be a matter of the importance attached to such things. Something super special might manifest much more magnificently in one’s memory. Strange. I was going through the William Sharp archive and I came across an image of Tony Alva from the Canton pool.

TA and Craig Stecyk - Canton pool

William Sharp’s – TA and Craig Stecyk photograph – Canton pool

I was reminded of the Tony Alva interview in Skateboarder Magazine of February 1977. Craig Stecyk had photographed TA in the Canton pool. In the William Sharp photograph, I can see Craig Stecyk looking through the viewfinder of his camera on the deck. He’s taking a photograph of TA balancing at the top of Canton’s side wall. I remembered the Stecyk shot from the Skateboarder interview and put the two things together. I had stumbled across something pretty cool. William Sharp had shot a photograph of Craig Stecyk shooting a photograph of Tony Alva during the Canton pool session for TA’s first Skateboarder interview in 1977. Epic. I looked around and found the Stecyk shot. I compared them. Both shots were taken at almost the exact same moment.

Craig Stecyk's TA Skateboarder interview photograph

Craig Stecyk’s TA Skateboarder interview photograph

I decided to check with those involved. Kent Senatore had found the Canton pool. It was right near his dad’s house. He said, “Canton was the first permission pool I ever had and it was the first pool where I went over the light and eventually would get one wheelers.” Kent said that on the day these photographs were taken, he saw TA doing ‘forevers’ in Canton pool. He went the next day and learned back-to-back frontside and backside kickturns. I asked William Sharp about the photograph. He said that TA showed up with a photographer who was introduced as, “…this is so and so.” The photographer was quiet and shot photographs of Tony and afterward they left.

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When TA’s Skateboarder interview came out, the Sharp brothers realized that the photographer was Craig Stecyk. They had not previously met him so they didn’t know what he looked like! When asked, Craig Stecyk told me, “I think I gave the Sharp brothers a roll of film that day. Being drunk enough then, I cannot remember now.” William Sharp stated that he didn’t recall getting any film from Stecyk. He didn’t really even speak to them. Memories. All in all, it is extraordinary. The photographs are historical. A slice of life… now gone. Yet they can live on in our collective memory. We have the fragmented stories of those involved. Pool sessions blending together. Hot summer days melting into the next. Decades drifting by…  Thank you to William Sharp, Craig Stecyk and Kent Senatore for their recollections. Skate- Ozzie

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6 thoughts on “Memory

  1. Great story! …looks like a different shot tho..In the Skateboarder photo Alva has his foot behind the trucks with his right hand close to pool. The CS shot has Alva with his foot over the front truck. Absolutely great shot tho. Tony Alva’s backsides are legendary. He is a real hero of pools all over SDNCounty. We always looked forward to their amazing pools they found…and CS amazing black and whites. BTW…thanks Craig…I did have the best shirt in the house…and you still owe me a $100.00. Gman

  2. Thank you Ozzie. I’m over 50 and was around back then. Nowadays I share your posts with a couple of “skaters” at work who are younger. They look at this stuff with blank eyes and closed minds. It means nothing to them whatsoever.
    Myself, I can still taste the steel of adrenaline when I see these familiar shots from years gone by.

  3. Like it was yesterday Ozzie. An iconic moment during the birthing of vertical skating. These are “family” photos for all skaters.

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