Jay Smith. One of the first members of the Bones Brigade. Frontside lapped-out grind on the hip at Mondo’s pool. It was taped to my wall in Pennsylvania. I simply find it to be one of the greatest skateboarding photographs of its time. He’s just hanging up there… balanced and stylish. No hurry. Fluidity. Everything about the photograph is perfection. I have brought this image up in conversation and many people feel the same. When I sat down to review slides with William Sharp for our book Back In The Day, I started coming across images from Mondo’s pool. My heart fluttered. “Could it be?” I set the loop down on a slide and peered through, hunched over the light table. I caught my breath. It was one in a series of outtakes from that photo shoot at Mondo’s pool. I quickly looked through the rest of them. “It is not here!” I questioned William. “I’m not sure. I actually think that the particular photograph you’re talking about was published in Action Now magazine and not in Skateboard World magazine. I had stopped working at Skateboard World and it folded. I don’t think I ever received the slide back from Action Now. It’s probably in someones garage in a box.” I grimaced at the thought of a holy relic now gone and peered through the slide loop again and thought about the outtakes for awhile. The original published image is radical. Jay Smith is balanced on his back truck and his board is almost straight… majestic.
The outtakes are more lapped over. In my opinion, I immediately felt that one of the outtakes was actually better than the original published one. Over the next few days, I found myself thinking about the Jay Smith Mondo’s photograph. I was driving along Mulholland and mumbling to myself. “Dude, you’re absolutely crazy! The outtake actually couldn’t be better. Could it?” Of course not. The original image has so much meaning to me and countless others. The uncounted legion of skateboarding fans out there, living in cold, snow and rain. Those of us that lived far away from the palm trees and pools of Los Angeles. That original photograph — taped to my bedroom wall — got me through some long winter days and stoked out some heavy sessions in the summer. William and I decided right away that one of the outtakes must go in the book. It is perfect to us in every way. You can even see the Blue Haven tile logo on the face wall if you look closely. Such greatness. Thank you to Jay Smith for being one of the best ever… Thank you William for pushing him out and past the edge. Skate-Ozzie
For more of William Sharp’s amazing skateboarding photography – BACK IN THE DAY