SIDEWALK SURFING

Tokyo 2020 would have been the debut of skateboarding as an Olympic sport. All was postponed because of Covid-19. Let’s dive into a long journey and history that began many years ago in California.


Black and white shot of a skateboarder


At the beginning, skateboarding was a synonym of Sidewalk Surfing; it was invented by surfers to allow them to practice on concrete even without waves. The story of its origin, well narrated by Sean Penn in the documentary film Dogtown and the Z-Boys, is about the evolution of skateboarding in Los Angeles in the 70s thanks to the boys of the Dogtown crew, the Z-Boys, with their forays into the empty pools of the rich where the vertical concrete walls became waves.




"Skateboarding has sunk and reborn many times until it was recognised as a discipline, no longer underground and cursed, but even as an Olympic one. "


Poster of the documentary "dogtown and z-boys"
© 2002 Vans, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Poster of the 2020 olympics featuring skateboarding
credits: tokyo2020.org



It is a story of some boys who came from the poorest areas of California, who created a culture and became legends: Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Stacey Peralta. Since then skateboarding has sunk and reborn many times until it was recognised as a discipline, no longer underground and cursed, but even as an Olympic one. There are many styles of skateboarding today: street, vert, pool, dancing, downhill, freestyle. Extraordinary performances, outstanding champions. Those boys from Santa Monica took different paths. Jay Adams, the rebel one, passed away. Alva and Peralta achieved great success. Their names are icons that skaters of every generation know. Those boys, 60 years old today, have always kept the bond between surfing and skating alive.



TOny hawk during one of his shows

A skateboarder during a trick
credits: carverskateboards.com

Today, things have changed. Skateboarding has moved away from the origins of surfing. The story is over, but is it an inevitable fate? Maybe not. "What goes around comes around" and here comes the Surfskate, a new discipline that goes back to the origins and brings back the surfing style and manoeuvres to wheels: Sidewalk Surfing. To be continued...



Poster comparing skateboarding and surfing
credits: smoothstar.com/


Tony Alva's skateboard
credits: Tony Alva alva-skates.com




Article by

Maurizio Dotti