Back in the Day. For the skaters in our book, the term itself describes a time when they were young and pushing the limits of a little known past time called ‘skateboarding’. They’ll all generally disagree on everything regarding those short years, especially details like who did what first and on and on and on. What they won’t disagree on is that this period was the absolute best time of their lives. From 1975 – 1980, William Sharp was on these pool, pipe and park missions and he shot the key players in the most secretive and exclusive locations. It was during this particular period that skateboarding evolved from a flat land, 360 spinning, head-standing, short-shorts wearing fad and exploded into something with a fucking soul. It took a bunch of surfers to explore banked school yards, empty pools and pipes. They took the classic coolness of surfing and applied everything about it into their skating. Skateboarding was pretty small then but it exploded rapidly in a short time. The magazines were publishing photographs of this raw new form of self expression. Stories were told of high adventure, partying, mayhem and fun. It wasn’t long before skaters everywhere were looking for increasingly radical terrain.
The San Fernando Valley was filled with pools. Brad Bowman, Arthur Viecco, Eric Grisham and Jay Smith didn’t need a skateboard magazine or the Dog Town skaters to tell them a damn thing about pool skating. They’d been living it from the first moment they rode a skateboard. The SFV had more pools in a three mile square area than all of Santa Monica put together! These guys became new heroes to so many. The magazine Skateboard World published image after image, of skater after skater, in pool after pool. They never ran out.
Progress never slowed and style was kept to a premium. They pushed each other and conquered themselves. Among them was Jay Smith. Jay Smith skated pools everywhere and he adapted quickly. When choosing the new cover for the Back in the Day / Fun Size edition, we knew exactly what image was going on it. The Jay Smith hip lapover at Mondo’s pool. A couple days ago, William Sharp and I gathered the guys at a local pool that we have. Eric Grisham, Arthur Viecco, Jay Smith and Brad Bowman joined Rick Stine and Lance Mountain and all of us sat and talked and took a few turns.
Everyone was saying how cool it was to be together in a backyard pool again. It was like being young… carefree and in the moment. All of the burdens of adulthood slipped away. No Covid, family strife, no bills, no broken bodies or aching muscles… all of that was gone. It was just us on skateboards fighting a common enemy. Ourselves. I have respect for everyone in the book. Some more than others. It was fascinating for me to sit there and watch the interaction among them. What is new for me, is old tradition with them. I’m an observer. I know that collectively, they are the reason I am what I am. I am grateful for that. Thank you.
Thank you to all of the skaters in the book and thank you to William Sharp for the photographs. Thank you to Geoff Graham for the book portraits. http://gingkopress.com/shop/back-in-the-day-mini/