Stacy Peralta

Stacy Peralta & Mike Vallely- Gleaming The Cube

In the fall of 1999, Tony Alva phoned & asked me to meet with him, as he had something that he wanted to talk to me about. It was important. I drove to Oceanside that night & we went out to get some Sushi. TA told me that Stacy was going to make a Dogtown documentary. They had started working on it already. It was pretty hush-hush at that point. TA knew that I was always out searching for pools. He had been riding them with me for awhile.

Stacy- Skatercross

A few days later, TA & I drove up to Los Angeles & met up with Stacy Peralta & Craig Stecyk. I must admit that I was tripping when I met Stecyk. Here was this man who had helped forge my identity in so many ways. His Dogtown articles were of paramount importance & made me want to be a writer. These men were a huge influence. Stacy stated that they wanted to get a few pools going for the documentary. They wanted pools for some current footage of TA riding & as an interview location. TA told him that I was their man. I nodded in agreement. In the following months, the time I spent with them was epic.We found a few good pools in Beverly Hills & several in the hillside neighborhoods of Los Angeles. We also had one permission pool in Simi Valley. TA was interviewed in the shallow end of that Simi Valley capsule pool.  It seemed as if my life had come full circle. My own contributions were minimal–I think–but to be a part of that process & subsequent success will always remain as a highlight in my life. Full circle. I was just a poor, broken kid from PA, who had looked up to the Z-boys. Amid the shadowed woodlands & unending cornfields of Pennsylvania, I skated alone– frequently– & emulated them. Now, thirty years later, I had a small part in helping  tell their story to the world. I consider it an honor.

Stacy- with lapper for lipslides - 1977

Stacy was such a nice man & a wealth of skateboard knowledge. Whenever we were driving somewhere or eating, I would sit quietly (rare) off to one side, listening. I love skateboard history. He had more than a few stories & I was delighted. I admire Stacy for his contribution, style & talent. He was always a great skater and Salba told me that Stacy was one of the first riders to pull FS lipslides. He did it back in the 1970s! Stacy Peralta will always be regarded as an iconic figure among our people. He has created a body of work that will stand the test of time. His career, company, videos, & subsequent films continue to inspire generations everywhere.He is currently extremely busy with his next project & told me that he has “….been on the road jobbing it..” The Bones Brigade documentary is in the works. If it’s anything like his last projects, we are in for an awesome treat.Thanks Stacy. Thank you to Glen E. Friedman, J.Grant Brittain & Jim Goodrich for the images. Skate- Ozzie

at home in 1978

Made In America

Cherry Hill flashback

Mike McGill

the coveted Cherry Hill t-shirt

I was speaking with my best friend – Jim Howell the other day. He asked me about  a Cherry Hill road trip that we went on back in the summer of 1979. He told me that he remembered his mom driving us in her white Volvo & she was totally embarrassed & mad at us because we wore full pads & helmets the entire 2 hour trip there. One of us was trying to do Jay Smith laybacks on the dashboard & it kept his mother very angry the whole day. I vaguely recalled such antics… but we did that stuff all the time. I remember Jim would lay on his back on the floor doing varials  & stuff until one day his board slipped & cracked him in the face so hard that he almost cried!  I still laugh about it. I also remember that Jim did the first fakie ollies & fakie ollie to tails that I’ve ever seen…  he was ahead of his time. Jim spoke about our old friend- Jami Godfrey. “Do you ever talk with him?” – he asked. I told him that I hadn’t spoken with Jami in at least ten years…  time can get behind us as we grow older. One day becomes a month & the urgency to speak with old friends dissipates. After a decade…  what’s the point? Sadness. The next day, I phoned Tom Groholski. He spoke with Jami recently & gave me his cell number. I called Jami up & we spoke for about an hour. It was great! He was a big inspiration to Jim & I. He was inspiring for Tom Groholski as well. Tom sums it up pretty clearly-    “Jami Godfrey is the smoothest skater I’ve ever seen–  Unreal lapped over frontside grinds, with a cool casual style yet he would blast and you wouldn’t hear him land.  A full-on inspiration. ”

Jami Godfrey- pre Bones Brigade invert

On the telephone, Jami & I spoke about the park, its history & impact. Jami shared the following information on Cherry Hill.   “I remember the first time I got to see the park before it was finished. Mike Jesiolowski  & I heard about it being built. At the time we rode this park called Philadelphia Skate Park– better known as P.S.P. We got to see Cherry Hill  prior to its finish coat of concrete being poured. I remember looking at the ‘Eggbowl’ and staring down into it saying – “Wow! This is big!”  The first thing that ran through my mind, was the coping they used on all  of the pools! It had this smooth hard finish on the bull nose of the coping. It looked like it was manufactured only to be skated. A few weeks later was the opening day. The list of pros was a list of legends! Tony Alva, Wally Inouye, Bobby Valdez,  Stacy Peralta, Shogo Kubo, Brad Bowman etc.  There were several waves of pros coming to ride the legendary park in NJ. ”

competition brief by Stacy Peralta

notice the names - Cherry Hill elite

“That park did go on to transform many persons lives. Jamie ‘Mouse’ Mosberg came down from NYC with a bunch of good riders. Jamie went on to be a great videographer in snow and skate films– most notably–Birdhouse ‘ The End’.  Evan Feen was a gnarly tall guy that drove down from north NJ and lived in his van while at Cherry Hill. Evan went on to be an accomplished Big Mountain rider &  mountaineer. The mountains he climbed and rode were the likes of Denali. Victor Perez was a close friend of mine from my earliest days skating at the young age of 11 or 12. We rode together for a skate shop called Country Skateboards with Mike Jesiolowski who was a very talented skater. Mike & Victor never really got the credit they deserved. Mike was a freestyler who was discovered by Stacy Peralta.  Ultimately, Mike introduced me to Stacy & I ended up on the Bones Brigade. Once Cherry Hill opened,  I left Philadelphia Skate Park  to make Cherry Hill my home! Thanks to my mom who devoted the time, energy and money to cross the bridge 5-7 days a week. Mike, Victor and I,  were the wave of freestylers that became the 1st generation of vert skate park riders.” Once Cherry Hill closed, Jami went on to build a vert ramp in his back yard. Like many of us, he longed for the concrete perfection of Cherry Hill.

Jami Godfrey on his ramp after Cherry Hill closed

Cherry Hill local- Tom Groholski at Godfrey's ramp -image:Friedman

Glen E. Friedman remembered being shuttled from the west coast to the east coast by his parents. ” I was having trouble & my mother sent me from LA to NJ to live with my father for my 11th & 12th grade school years. Right after I arrived, Cherry Hill opened.  Shogo Kubo moved back east & rode the park for a few months.” Glen told me that sometimes he just went to the park to skate. ” I remember breaking my arm at Cherry Hill. Jami Godfrey had cut his chin open or something & his mom drove Jami & I to the Emergency Room together. I would go to the park, shoot photographs & carve the reservoirs. I recall the Bentley brothers &  Mondo being really good at Cherry Hill.  Mondo ended up moving to LA. They were all NJ local guys. Doug de Montmorency, Duane Peters, Steve Olson, Alan “Ollie” Gelfand, Pete Gifford, John Woodstock , Steve Alba, Stacy Peralta & Tony Alva  ripped there. Stacy was really good in the halfpipe!”

Doug DeMontmorency

Stacy Peralta - image: Friedman

Tom Groholski & I rode together periodically over the years. We’ve become pool pals. We speak of our Cherry Hill memories like two old war buddies discussing furlough in a strange foreign port…  fond thoughts & reflections. Tom spoke of his discovering Cherry Hill & its impact upon him. “Cherry Hill Skateboard Park had several tentative openings.  We got rained out at Monster Bowl and my Dad decided that we should to take a ride and locate this “insane new park” that we were hearing about.  Upon arrival, we were surprised to find the crew still in full construction mode.   As we were led through the park, what laid before us were several bowls (deeper than what we were used to) carved out of dirt in various stages of completion.  I still remember a lone coping block sitting on the hip of the right kidney taunting us as to what is to come.  There were also the wooden forms for the past vert 3/4 pipe in place, we were completely blown away!”

“During our follow up visit we were hoping to find the park open, but it wasn’t ready for the public yet.  What we did find was that all of the concrete work had been finished and a few select skaters from the crew and a couple of local pros had been ripping some fresh lines in the virgin park.  We were lucky however, since somebody filmed the session and had the super 8 film to give us a brief preview of the ripping that would soon be underway.  I remember someone grinding sparks in the Egg bowl and –after watching the film– I went out and checked the coping to find black grind marks in long intervals in the pockets of the bowls.”

Tom Groholski

Glen E. Friedman shooting Shogo Kubo shot by Tom Groholski
“Opening day was a blur, the new park was totally crowded as one would expect.  As a grom I watched in awe as the pro’s from out west were tearing up every bit of the park.  All of the heavies were in town, it was THAT good.  We gravitated to the Dogtowners and T.A.  The Sims team really stood out. Chris Strople, Wally Inouye and Bobby Valdez also destroyed.  We ‘fanned out’ getting our boards autographed and skated some of the less- crowded runs.  Seeing the highest caliber of skating –live– really was a dream come true. It was as if we were living the dreams we had,  while staring at our old Skateboarder magazines on a snowy winter day.  I did get some rides in the left kidney and the keyhole since most of the action was focused on the egg and the right kidney.  “Life altering”- describes the opening day of an all too short – lived incredible skatepark.  Inspired we were, and are to this day.  Some of the greatest memories of my life come from Cherry Hill Skate Park, and I know that I’m not alone.”

Alan Gelfand

Jim Goodrich shot images at Cherry Hill as well. He was on a grueling coast to coast jaunt covering the Hester Series & spent some time in the area. He said that he stayed at Jami Godfrey’s house & went on a sight-seeing trip of Philadelphia.  Jami graciously showed him around. He has one surviving Cherry Hill image & it is Alan Gelfand in the half pipe.  Cherry Hill was many things for many people. A Mecca,  a training facility, a  gathering place, a Holy place, a place where our fondest memories were born and a place of heartbreak at its demise….  Thank you to Jim Goodrich, Jami Godfrey, Jim Howell, Glen E. Friedman & Tom Groholski for their thoughts & images. Skate- Ozzie

For more of Glen E. Friedman : Burning Flags

Jami Godfrey – Guest Post

Jami Godfrey – Staten Island

I met Jami Godfrey at Cherry Hill Skate Park in 1979. He was super rad, friendly and down-to-earth. He ruled the park along with Victor Perez & Mike Jesiolowski….  I really mean it – they ruled! They were easily equal to the west coast riders that graced every magazine. Back then, I wrote him a letter and we started up a friendship. My father let me skip school one spring day & drove me to Cherry Hill. He wanted to try out a new camera. Jami came to the park with his mom & we ended up riding the place virtually alone all day. It lives as one of my favorite memories. He was on the Bones Brigade at the time and when he saw my crappy worn out equipment, he gave me a purple Ray Bones snubnose with Tracker Magnesiums when I left. He was a huge inspiration to me and others. I asked him to talk about this Glen E. Friedman image and this is what he sent to me. Awesome!  – Ozzie

Jami Godfrey

I remember this session well since it was the time I saw my entire life pass before my eyes! The bowl pictured here sat maybe 12-13 feet off the hard macadam. There were no decks surrounding it just Lexan attached to a 1 inch metal square lip. To access getting into this fish bowl you walked up  metal  steps that ran parallel to the bowl. They were sketchy steps since they were also 1 inch square forged metal stairs and nothing else! Once up these precarious steps, you felt safe on the narrow roll – in platform that made a 2 foot canyon that was fun to air over.  This odd above ground structure was tight and and fun. I was feeling more comfortable on the narrow lip and having fun doing Smith grinds and various stalls.
 I remember the session including the NY Posse that came to rip up Cherry Hill. Papo Cappellla, and Jamie Mosberg and Frank Basanta ( their coach ) were locals to Staten Island and  made this outdoor session a blast since we skated indoors most of the time at Cherry Hill. We all skated Cherry Hill together in the past, so the session started getting heated up. Plus, we had Glen E. Friedman to push our adolescent endorphins into overdrive. Glen, besides maybe Jim Goodrich was– at the time– the only credible photographer that gave the ‘Right Coast’ any documentation.
My session ended abruptly when doing a tail stall — just like the one in this picture — where I stalled to long and lost my balance. Over the lip I went!! As soon as I went over I thought my days were done! Instead of falling the full distance to the asphalt, I landed square on my back on those metal steps! It was  about a 4 to 6 foot fall… But in that short distance, my mind raced to say good bye to this world!!! I got some nice bruises on my back from the fall but I felt lucky when I felt the stinging pain and the wind taken from my lungs on impact. I’d like to thank Glen for capturing the tail stall and reminding me of a moment of time that stays with me today. It reminds me just how fragile life can be!  In a span of just a few milla – seconds,  life can be changed forever or even ended. I give thanks that I still get to let 4 wheels roll on. Its not about going big or going home! Its all about going with your own unique style and going home with a big smile!!! – Jami Godfrey
Thanks to Jami Godfrey for the great memories and Glen E. Friedman for the image. Skate- Ozzie
For more of Glen E. Friedman : Burning Flags

Bones Brigade

Skip Engblom

Van Nuys. Lunchtime. Red brick buildings. Production assistants. Craft services.  A film set. It was all here. Stacy greeted me with a smile- his long hair hanging in his face. He was holding a bowl of chicken, rice & vegetables. He wore faded jeans & scruffiness. He looked like he hadn’t slept in awhile and quickly admitted that he was on a heavy deadline. In between mouthfuls of lunch, he gave me a hug & we caught up on things. Stacy pointed to a thick black curtain. ” Go on in. Skip Engblom is just finishing.” I nodded at Stacy & slipped inside. The aluminum girders & rigging on the set, framed the skateboard collection of Dale Smith & Todd Huber. I saw a Hobie Weaver Woody & smiled. Animal Chin stared out from a ‘Have You Seen Him’ poster. A TV hissed snow & static into the room. I peered about. Skateboards, trucks & wheels bled from the walls. Every era, everything, everyone. A day-glow yellow Powell-Peralta Double Beamer hung above my head. Perfection. I ran a hand over its edges & thought of Alan Gelfand. Jim Goodrich image- 1979. Timeless style.

Alan Gelfand

A half-dismantled car sat askew in a corner with a skateboard sticking out of its windshield. It reminded me of the first street contests in the early 1980s. Lance & Steve Steadham ate lunch with the others. I walked through the set while everyone was out. There were old trophies on the walls. One dust covered trophy had an inscription. ‘Rusty Harris Pro-Am,  Skatepark Paramount. Most 360s- 3rd place’. Another- 1979 Skateboarder Poll- ‘Coach of the Year.’  It was awesome! After the interviews started again, I noticed a timelessness slip over me. My lifetime beliefs & everything I am,  comes directly from what I was seeing & hearing. I felt like I was 12 years old again. Alan Gelfand came in & smiled. He sat next to me. I was happy. I skated with him at Cherry Hill in 1979. Ray Barbee & Lance took photographs as Mike McGill took the hot seat.

Stacy Peralta & Mike McGill - clarifying points

Stacy- preparing for interview

Mike talked about his start & reason for choosing skateboarding. He spoke of his feeling of isolation in Florida. Peering at the floor, Mike explained,  “I felt like an outsider from day one.  Once parks closed though, I never thought of quitting. Skating was just what I did. We had a relationship within the Bones Brigade & that always gave me something to look forward to.” He built ramps & persevered.  Mike talked about the feeling of being on the Bones Brigade. “It was the best!  I had to do well in competitions even though I didn’t like them. I stressed. I even threw up behind the ramps sometimes.” Stacy reminded Mike that Tony Hawk –in his interview–had spoke about the need for doing well in contests back then. Tony said that this was the only way to really succeed because videos were not yet available. Mike stated that he tried very hard & learned the ‘McTwist’ so he wouldn’t drift away & lose his dream. “I had to invent a trick. I had to become known for bringing something new.” Mike then spoke of learning the ‘McTwist’ & its subsequent impact. He ended by stating that, “Stacy was the glue that held us together. Without him, we wouldn’t have been what we are.”

Mike McGill

Gelfand, McGill, Peralta, Powell, Barbee, Mountain, Steadham

Lance- recognizing something on the wall...

Mike McGill’s interview was stellar & insightful. The room took a break. Group photographs were taken. I sat & scribbled away. Lance was next. I looked around. Craig Stecyk was there along with a host of notables. The room grew quiet as Stacy & Lance reviewed a few things together. “Quiet. Rolling.” Lance began by talking about his early start & reason for choosing skateboarding. For Lance, the ‘movement’ of skating is what did it for him. He said that, “I was miserable at everything I tried…  until I skated.” He spoke of being very magazine image-driven. ” I loved the style & photographs. I liked the romantic idea of skateboarding.” Stacy asked very good questions & Lance spoke on his history within the Bones Brigade. Lance stated that he felt like he didn’t belong. “Once I was on the Bones Brigade, I felt like I had to prove something. I was on a team made up of the best. Prodigies. I needed to win a contest & prove that I had a right to be there.” Lance went on to become one of the most popular riders. Stacy reminded him of this & his place in the Bones Brigade.

Lance Mountain

Lance and Stacy

Lance spoke of his desire to do well & be an influence. He wanted to help others love skateboarding like he did.  The interview grew serious & personal. Jealousies, grudges & travel stories were told. Everyone was moved & affected by the truth & heartfelt emotions brought into the interview. Lances words & honesty reminded us exactly why he is so admired by skaters worldwide. It was a great day & I feel blessed to have been included. I am looking forward to the finished product. We can be assured that it will be an awesome film. It will be a testament to the most influential team of skateboarders in the world. Thank you to Stacy Peralta, Lance Mountain & the others there today. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Addendum

Hosoi, Elguera, Duane, Lance and Caballero 12-23-11

The Bones Brigade film is completed. I was at the private screening on December 23rd and it is an amazing look into the life and times of some of skateboarding’s finest talent and unique personalities. Stacy is taking the film to the Sundance Film Festival and it will probably be premiering in March. It is undoubtedly a ‘must see’. Skate- Ozzie

Hosoi, Mullen, Peters, Elguera, Hawk, Cab, Mountain, Peralta -Brigade Screening

Ray Bones Rodriguez – Guest Post

Ray Bones Rodriguez

Ray Bones Rodriguez

“I was 14 years old and riding Skatepark Paramount. At the time, I was riding Powell Quicksilver boards. They were made with an aluminum skin and wood inside. One day I fell and my board flew 30 feet or so into the air. It came down on the tail and it just splintered and cracked. I let Powell know and they got on it pretty quickly but meanwhile, I ran into Tony Alva at Lakewood. He gave me this Alva deck and I put it together and rode it as I hadn’t received a deck from Powell yet. Back then, TA was always seen riding Dogtown boards and I was always stoked on the legends of that time: Alva, Stacy and Dogtown. All of the sudden– the best guy – Tony Alva- was riding his own Alva decks. For him to come up and give me one to ride was …. amazing! This shot was taken shortly after TA gave me the deck. I am coming back up the half pipe at Skatepark Paramount and Glen E. Friedman took the photograph. Back then, I didn’t really know too much about sponsors and the right and wrong of riding an Alva board…  it was probably frowned upon but there it is.”- Ray Bones Rodriguez

Powell Quicksilver advertisement

Ray Bones Rodriguez of ‘Manic Hispanic’

Special thanks to Glen E. Friedman for the image and thank you to Ray Bones for the memories. Skate- Ozzie

Tony Hawk – Guest Post

Tony Hawk – Frontside Ollie at Del Mar Skate Ranch

 Tony Hawk

” I started skating Oasis skate park in San Diego. Once that park closed, I frequented Del Mar as it was closer anyway & it was actually better for learning tricks. I would get rides from people to the park. I started getting the bus from my school and I would ride the bus every day then my dad would pick me up after I was through. Grant Brittain was the Pro shop manager and he just started shooting photographs. I started a ‘Zine’ when we were riding Del Mar. It was called ‘Skate Trash’. I think we sold them for like 30 cents each. One day they came up to me and handed me 20$. They told me that they had sold them all…  I was stoked and went to Denny’s! At the time, we were skating anywhere that had good surfaces. I knew a guy who had a ramp and I would ride my moped over there and skate. One day, I was riding my moped home after a session. I was going down Birmingham and wiped out. I was still wearing my pads. I knee – slid right out of it and wasn’t even injured!  After Del Mar Skate Ranch closed, I started skating the Fallbrook ramp. I ended up buying four acres of land & built my own ramp complex on it.  My days skating Del Mar will always be a great memory for me.” – Tony Hawk

Thanks to Grant Brittain for the image and Tony Hawk for the memories. Skate- Ozzie

Scott Foss

Scott Foss in his last contest at Colton

6 year old Scott with bruised knees and clay wheels

Scott and brother- David -at Mellows ditch in Hawai

Scott Foss was a wunderkind … he was a child prodigy. He came onto the northern California skateboard scene like a comet, burned far brighter than most, then disappeared –seemingly–forever. He started riding very young. He grew up in San Jose and lived in Hawaii at times in the mid 1970’s. He surfed and skated like many kids his age.  Scott rode Aala park, Wallo’s ditch and other OG spots on the island while living there. Scott told me about one of his early boards – ” I had this little narrow skateboard. It had ‘Bossman’ written on the top. I scratched the ‘B’ off and made it an ‘F’. My board said ‘Fossman’ and I rode that thing into the ground. I rode all over Hawaii and I was riding the ditches over there at the same time as Tony Alva and the others. Once I came back to San Jose, I rode ramps and found my way to the Los Altos pool.”

Scott- edger on his first ramp back in San Jose

Scott- Los Altos pool- where he fell in love with carving, tiles & coping

“The Los Altos pool was a very integral spot for northern California pool riding. Robert Schlaefli, Tim Lockfeld, Steve Weston, Kevin Thatcher, Rick Blackhart, Joe Fong, Peter Gifford and the Tunnel team all rode there and ruled. Keith Meek and I rode together but we were very young…  we were 12 or 13 years old. We took a two hour bus ride to get there. It was an experience. After our first trip, I could think of nothing else. All I wanted to do was get back to that pool! It was everything. ”

Scott told me that –even then–Blackhart was a legend. –  “He was awesome. A ghost. You either knew him or wanted to know him. He had an aura. He was our TA.”  Scott admitted that he picked up pool riding pretty quickly. – “At first it was scumline carving , then over light, then tiles, then coping…  it was a progression. I had an immediate passion for it. Keith Meek was a carver and I kickturned more. I recall being a little jealous of his carve so I pushed myself to learn carving.  We fed off each other.”   Scott knew –inherently–  that by being a surfer, he understood the basics of style. He added- “Doing a move wasn’t as important as how you did it. It is the way we do things. Style.”

Scott on the day he became a Santa Cruz Team rider

He went on to explain what happened to their scene once the Los Altos pool was gone. He met Bob Denike at Hicks reservoir. He was there and took them all out on a pool mission. They rode four or five backyard pools that day. Scott told me that he started riding with Bob Denike and the others as often as possible. Once Alameda and Winchester skate parks opened, they were always riding together. Scott related that shortly after Winchester opened, Judi Oyama got him on Santa Cruz.

Scott said – “This was a pivotal moment for me. I had great equipment and could concentrate on my skating. I progressed rapidly and after Campbell opened, I found myself on the Campbell team. That was where I met Steve Caballero. I was there the first day he ever showed up. He was tiny! He was dressed head to toe in red sweats and had elbow pads as knee pads…  he was so small. Who would’ve thought he’d become what he became or have such a massive impact on the skating world?!”  Steve Caballero and Scott Foss learned quickly.

one-wheeler at Winchester

Scott- Campbell half pipe on D -Skates deck made by the Denike brothers

Scott then told me that Caballero went down to an Escondido contest with his friend Clay Townsend and when they came back, they were sponsored by Powell Peralta.  Scott sighed and went on- “When they came back and they had the new Powell Peralta boards and stuff, I was thinking-  “Man! I want that!”… Clay stopped riding shortly after though but I kept riding for Santa Cruz and learning as much as possible. The next thing I recall, I was with Bob Denike down in LA for the Big O contest. I met Stacy there.  He was so genuine … I was young and sort-of starstruck. After the contest, he said to me – “If Santa Cruz doesn’t take care of you, give me a call.”   Scott Foss hesitated then asked him if he really meant that.  Stacy said – “Of course.”

At Campbell- A turning point. Santa Cruz deck and Bones wheels and stickers

Bones Brigader Foss - rock-n-roll slide Winchester Pool

Scott Foss laughed in my ear. He chuckled and said – “Once I was on Powell Peralta, my life took on a Forrest Gump- type of existence. Everywhere I looked and anything I did, had a special meaning! My first contest was at Del Mar and Stacy was hyped! He was going on about the significance and it wasn’t lost on me one bit. The ‘Z-Boys’ had their team debut at the 1975 Del Mar contest and Stacy was unleashing the ‘Bones Brigade’ just four years later at the same place! The previous day, Caballero and I were picked up at LAX and as we pulled around a corner near Stacy’s house, we saw McGill and Gelfand laying in the street with Stecyk taking photographs of them. It was for an early Powell Peralta advertisement. That day, we drove into LA and shot the pictures for the ‘Class of 1979’ Bones Brigade advertisement. My mind was whirling.”

Scott explained the details of the trip. He said that Ray Bones Rodriguez picked them up in Del Mar after a bus ride from LA and they practiced for the contest. He then filled me in on something that I didn’t know. Scott said– “The whole thing was perfect. The team, the equipment, the riders…  it was magic. Stacy arrived before the contest. He had yellow t-shirts with a World War II bomber and ‘Bones Brigade’ on them. Vans had just released the brown hi-top skate shoe and the team was the first to get them. We were all just blown away! I felt so much energy and stoke. We all felt the significance of that time, that place, that moment”

Scott Foss - Upland

Scott- Upland Hester- look closely- right:  Wally and Losi, look closely – bleachers: Waldo, Ray Bones, McGill,  Hirsch, Elguera, Seigfreid and Desoto and others— Timeless!

Scott Foss - BS Air Winchester

Scott- Winchester

It must have been unreal and I had to agree when Scott told me that it was a dream come true all in one week. The hubris wouldn’t last however. Scott Foss exploded onto a scene  and sport that was imploding. It changed so rapidly that few could keep up. Skateboarding couldn’t offer Scott Foss what he needed to stay.  “I had grown discontented with contests and lost my heart for competitive skating. I began surfing more, hanging out with the ladies and skating less. ” One week there was a contest and Scott didn’t find a plane ticket waiting in his mailbox.

Scott mumbled a bit dejectedly and admitted that it was his own fault. – “Stacy knew that I hadn’t been skating and keeping up. Eventually, I just sort-of walked away.” Around 1983 or 1984, Scott rode a great pool called the Belle Bowl with Tony Alva, Rick Blackhart and Kevin Thatcher. It lives as one of his best skate memories. He told me that he still thinks of that session. Scott Foss went on to party and surf.  In his own words- “The 80’s were a blur and once the 90’s arrived, my kids were born.” Scott raised his children and moved on with one eye always peering at the skateboard world. He told me that the legacy they left for others has been a source of pride for him. “Every once in awhile, someone will tell me that I inspired them. It means a great deal to me. These new guys really pushed it far! Skateboarding is a whole other animal now.”  Scott told me of his admiration for Stacy. He said that it must have been hard to cart around a bunch of kids every weekend and look after everyone. Scott adds- “Stacy was my inspiration and a mentor. He gave me genuine friendship, respect and that meant everything to this 16 year old kid. He is a phenomenal person and I am lucky to have had him in my life.” Scott Foss remarked that he recently skated with Keith Meek and Eddie Elguera. He told me that he hasn’t experienced that feeling in a very long time…

I want to thank Scott Foss for opening up and telling me his story. He provided many of the images from his personal archive. Thanks to Glen E. Friedman for the opening image at Colton. Thanks to Ted Terrebonne for the final image at Winchester. Thank you to Keith Meek for scanning and ruling. Skate- Ozzie

Jay Smith

Jay Smith - Marina

Powell- Peralta. The Bones Brigade. I recall that team & its formation much like everyone else. ‘Skateboarder’ magazine  was soon to be a cherished memory. D.David Morin changed it to ‘Action Now’ magazine but the bicycling, sandboarding, rollerskating & the rest of it sort-of nauseated most die-hard skateboarders. Its life was short lived. Like all things  in skateboarding at that time,  everything exploded hot & heavy. It was  quickly undone. Vertical skateboarding was changing just as rapidly. Surf styles, lines & powerful flow became usurped by technical maneuvering. It became a sport of trickery. Jay Smith filled me in on the details of this time. His time. 1979.

Jay Smith hails from Canoga Park out in the San Fernando Valley. He started skating in 1975.  Jay stated- “I was really just a street skater. This was before parks and magazines in a way. All my friends rode motorcycles and skated. That was what we were into back then.  Eric Grisham and I rode pools together in the valley.” Jay then told me an interesting anecdote regarding his early pool skating barges.  ” The Sunset Pool company had an office with concrete demonstration pools on site. This was right next door to where ‘Skatercross’ was being built. They had two pools there. One was empty. We would sneak in and ride  even while the park was being built next door. It was the first time I hit tiles & I recall looking over at ‘Skatercross’ and wanting to ride the bowls there when it was completed.” Jay became addicted to the speed and vertical like so many of us.

Jay - lapover - San Fernando Valley

He recalled riding pools all over the area when he was young. Jay told me how they would constantly look for things to skate. – “My friends and I would ride all over the San Fernando Valley. From Encino and Woodland Hills all the way over to Glendale… everywhere. There were so many pools to ride. We hopped the fence at –singer–Barry White’s & were riding his pool one morning. He walked out but was really cool about it. He had his maid come outside and they watched us for awhile… he was pretty nice to us considering the situation. Lucille Ball had a house out in the Valley and it sat empty. The pool was a ‘go’ for quite some time. We also rode at this place in the Valley. It was a zoo or animal park. It had these bowls and stuff that were empty. The place was closed down. We rode the reservoirs  that the animals had used as a natural habitat type of thing. It was pretty unreal.”

Jay talked about the early skate park scene. He was a local at Skatercross. Jay told me that he rode with Eric Grisham, Arthur Viecco, Shane Reed & Jerry Valdez. He told me that those guys were a bit older though. “My early skate influence was probably Shreddi Repas. I loved to skate with him. He was stylish, fast & powerful. Eventually, I rode for Lonnie Toft & Sims. I skated with the whole Santa Barbara crew. Doug de Montmorency, Jack Waterman and other Oxnard and Skatercross riders.” Jay told me that he was really into flow and speed. -“I really love to go fast!” It would be at Oxnard where Jay had his first photograph taken which ended up in the magazine. ” Bill Sharp took a photograph of me doing a tailtap on the corner. I was stoked. I couldn’t believe it!”

Things started falling into place for Jay. He was skating some of the hottest parks & pools. His speeding, low-slung, rubberman  approach to skateboarding was rapidly winning him respect & admiration. Jay then told me how he was put on the Powell Peralta team that Stacy had just formed. Jay is a wealth of historical skateboard information. After all, he was on Powell Peralta before he was 18 years old. These were formative years for Jay. He continued- “I was riding for Sims but they already had Bert Lamar & Brad Bowman. Those guys were both super riders & Sims wasn’t really doing anything for me. Powell Peralta & Sims were both out of Santa Barbara as well. It was odd. When Stacy approached me at Marina del Rey and asked me to ride for him, I was like- “Oh hell yeah!” It was immediate.”

Jay told me that the Bones Brigade started as- Stacy Peralta, Ray Bones Rodriguez, Mike McGill, Alan Gelfand and then he was added.  I asked him about the ‘Powell Peralta Class of 79’ advertisement.  Jay stated that Stacy  chose the best he could find to represent all areas of the country.  ” Stacy added Mike Jesiolowski & Jami Godfrey from Cherry Hill right after I was put on the Bones Brigade. He also added Rodney Mullin & Tim Scroggins from Florida, Steve Caballero & Scott Foss from Northern California, Teddy Bennett from Big -O and David Zakrzewski from Oasis. That was the original Powell Peralta team.”

Jay remembered early contests with Powell Peralta and stated tersely- ” Contests just weren’t my thing man! They’re just too organised. That goes against everything I am. I just loved partying and riding pools with my friends. Stacy was super nice though. He bumped up our confidence. If I remember correctly, I actually turned Pro at the Bakersfield contest before I was on Powell Peralta. Once I was on the Bones Brigade, I waited for awhile before I received a model. I think we all did.” Steve Caballero & others told me that some of the riders kept their AM status & continued to build contest standings & placings. They developed new tricks and worked on their overall skating. This way, they created a demand for a model rather than just having one put out for them.

Jay- FS Air - Pipeline Combi

Jay Smith himself was soon ready for his own model. He originally rode Powell Peralta Double Beamers. – “I wanted the Double Beamer to be my model but they were having lamination problems.” Jay asked me if I remembered the rivets in the Double Beamers.-  “Of course.” He laughed & continued-  “Back then we would do long boardslides and the top- most layer of black fiberglass would become ground down. The rigidity of the deck was affected and it would snap. Rib Bones were then made larger to compensate for this.  Caster made my boards for awhile. The first Jay Smith ‘Splash’ deck was made by them. I think that the Caster boards were more expensive though. They were really good & had concave. Powell Peralta finally ended up making my boards from Brite Lites but they were definitely flatter than the Casters were. ”

Jay- Andrecht at Marina

Jay went on & discussed the early punk scene and its influence in his life. He loved the fast music, motorcycles and anarchy.  ” It went along with what we were doing. The music and clothing added to it. It was crazy, fast & fun. I really didn’t care. I just wanted to rip and have fun….  no worries.” Jay told me that Stacy liked him on the team with his long hair & all. “I was just rebellious. I was actually a long-haired surfer kid. Then, I made an anti-christ kind-of change. I cut all my hair off. I was back east with Glen Friedman. We were going to Cherry Hill, Staten Island, Apple & other parks. We would go in & cut the skaters hair. It was just to be obnoxious…  the kids were so cool.”  Jay said that he was really into heavy rock-n-roll like Zeppelin & early Van Halen but the punk music was too hard to resist. “Bands like The Buzzcocks, Discharge, 999 and others soon fueled all of our sessions.”  Jay told me that he will always have a fondness for Marina del Rey & Cherry Hill skateparks. “They were the best things I ever rode.”

I had heard various stories regarding Jay Smith over the years.  One quote – “He was the epitome of punk.”   Another – “Jay would take a contest run and he’d just carve in circles throughout the entire time… smiling.” Whatever the case may be, Jay Smith was hard to miss. He was a standout. Glen E. Friedman & Jay became pretty good friends and would hang out quite a bit back then. Some of the great Jay Smith images that we have were from Glen and this period in time. Style. Timeless perfection.  Glen told me about Jay Smith- ” The bad uncle (to Stacy’s good father) of the Bones Brigade, his awesome girlfriends, his insane risk taking driving, The most stylish layback and frontside carve in existence, and a heartbreak of an injury that sent him for a loop. I took him to see the Bad Brains play a club in NYC (when they first moved here), with less than 30 people attending the show. We drove across the country together to do a skate tour and he tweaked his ankle on the first stop, so it was ‘Jay’s Barber Shop Tour’ instead. That’s just off the top of my head– 30 years later.”

Classic Skateboarder Magazine centerfold by: G.E. Friedman

image courtesy- Glen E. Friedman

Jay Smith and his life have been shrouded in myth & legend for decades. I was at the ‘Old School Skate Jam’ in 2000 and I remember seeing Jay Smith attending the event. There were just as many people crowding around Jay as  there were with Tony Alva. He has immense popularity & appeal. Jay is one of a kind. I asked him about his  disinterest in skateboarding & subsequent walk from it.  He readily replied- “I didn’t dump skating! I became kind-of bored with it. Tricks were becoming wall-to-wall and mechanical. It took away from the speed,  flow and beauty. If you take away the beauty of it, it’ll lose everything. That is what drove me from skateboarding. The ‘power & finesse’ is what made it rad for me. That is what Powell Peralta embodied. Stacy encompassed all of this. Jay lists Duane Peters, Eddie Elguera, Shreddi, Steve Caballero &  Scott Foss as being a huge influence to him & his skating.

King James Cassimus sequential of Jay Smith layback

Jay told me that he continued riding into the mid 1980s but motorcycles & racing took up more of his time. Eventually he stopped.  He saw Richie Carrasco at a show & Richie kept after Jay to go skating. Eventually he caved in. Jay- “Richie took me out and we went slalom riding. It was so rad. Pretty soon, I was riding vert, doing airs and laybacks, I slammed though and was hurt pretty badly. It hurts more… and for a longer time these days.”  I asked Jay if he skated recently. He went on to tell me of a dark day a few years back. A day he will never forget. He was riding his motorcycle in the rain. Almost night. The black greasy ribbon of wet freeway reflected all of the lights.

” I was in a motorcycle accident on the 101. I slammed into a car. I had a few drinks & it was raining. I got on the freeway and found myself behind this woman going 55 mph. I got pissed and went around her. I really gunned it. Then I saw why she had been going only 55 mph. There was a car directly in front of her going slow. I saw it at the same moment that I ran up into the back end. I hit her so hard that I broke both my legs. I got tore up! I was in the hospital for a few weeks. I haven’t really skated because I have plates and screws in my legs. My movement just isn’t there. No flexibility.” I was quiet for a moment, digesting all the tragedy that Jay had just laid bare. The thought of Jay Smith skating without flexibility was intolerable. It was like Picasso without a paintbrush. I groaned inwardly.  Jay quietly went on – “Ozzie, you know what ? It was all worth it. Skateboarding. I am stoked on my skating time and how it all went down.”  So are we Jay…. so are we.

Thank you to Glen E. Friedman for the –previously–unpublished Jay Smith images. Thank you to Jay Smith, Steve Caballero, Glen E. Friedman & Jami Godfrey for their memories. Thank you to King James Cassimus. Thank you to the internet for the Valley pool image of Jay. It says courtesy of Ted Terrebonne but I think its a Bill Sharp image. We’ll just thank them all. Jay wants to thank Dave at Skaterbuilt for all the support. Skate- Ozzie

Steve Caballero – Guest Post

I have been asking people to participate in doing ‘Guest Posts’ on the Blue Tile Obsession. It allows for me to have a break & also gives everyone a differing perspective on things from others. I supplied Steve Caballero with five photographs and asked him to choose one & talk about it. He chose an older image from the Big-O. Steve is hovering a frontside ollie mid -channel. It’s an epic photograph. Here is what he recollects from that time.

Stevie- FS Ollie Big O channel

Steve Caballero

“The Big-O contest was the second Gold Cup. It went like this: Gold Cup – Oasis, then Big-O, then Colton, then Marina & finally Upland. All had channels & doing a trick over the channel was –pretty much–a requirement. People were doing airs over them. Oasis & Marina were gnarly because the channel walls were not straight across. You had to pull hard to make it. Big-O was directly across so you could frontside ollie it. I don’t recall anyone making a backside ollie over it. I think Alan Gelfand and Steve Olson frontside ollied it as well. I actually came down for practice before the contest. I made airs over the cannel & then started trying the ollie. Back then we had compulsory runs. If I remember correctly, it went like this: FS carve, FS air, invert, BS carve, BS air, slide to fakie on the wall, fakie ollie, rock walk, rock-n-roll then out. This kept all the riders on the same level. I remember that Alan Gelfand had to come and learn inverts before the contest. He made them in practice. I think I ended up 3rd in the Big-O contest.

The next contest was Colton which I won. I went home to Winchester and practiced. I tried to learn new tricks. I was skating and saw Robert ‘The Fly’ Schlaefli doing a fakie 360 kickturn in the bowl. He went too fast & flailed it around. The board spun around with him. It made me wonder- “Maybe that could be done as a 360 ollie.” Between the Colton and Marina contests, I learned the Caballerial. I explained it to Stacy on the phone but he didn’t understand. Word got out to Lance Mountain & Neil Blender. When Stacy & I pulled up at Marina for contest practice, they were waiting. I got out & pulled one in the upper keyhole for Neil, Lance and Stacy. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the Caballerial at the Marina Gold Cup but I did at the next contest in Upland. I  won at Pipeline. Neil & Lance went back to Whittier and worked on the Caballerial but couldn’t make it without grabbing. They started doing it and they thought it was gay that they had to grab, so they named it the ‘Gay Twist’. That is where it all came from. Eddie Elguera was a huge inspiration. He always had something new at a contest & I tried to do the same. The fakie ollie and frontside ollie all progressed into other tricks. It was a long progression.”

Thanks to Steve Caballero for the words & memories. Skate- Ozzie