SKATEBOARD INSIGHT by Karin Sawetz, January 2012
The dark ages of skateboarding
Around 1977, skateboarders used urban sculptures instead of official half-pipes, we had no skate parks and used the downhill roads alongside the cars, and in the mid 70s, there had been not even skateboards at sport shops in Vienna. The first skateboard I have used was made from wood such as the one on the image. Not on this image are the original mid 70s wheels of the board which were re-cycled from old roller blades. And there existed even not any professional teams; they were established later in the 1980s.
fig. original: The skateboards, helmet and knee and elbow protectors had been used around 1977 - I remember this year quite well because I have broken my arm from falling from a horse. In 1977, I intensified skateboarding when I stopped horse riding. Unfortunately I haven't found photos from that time - we made mainly Super-8 films; both had been expensive. The Digital Ages started in the 80s.
In Vienna, there was a group which was 'organized' in a skateboard sports club - not for professionals, but for the ones who wanted to train skateboarding. I remember that its name was WAC - acronym for Vienna Athletes Club. But I lost my interest in 'organized club activities' when I was excluded from a competition because of being a girl (probably this experience changed my life permanently). There had been competitions for trick, slalom, and I can remember that there had been some other disciplines. My favorite was trick (the first red skateboard on the image was my trick board).
One of the reasons why this sport became so popular in the 80s had been the invention and usage of VHS tapes. It was the first time that small film productions entered the mass market of the 'movie-business' (via the living rooms with their TV/Video-sets) and non-commercial sports like skateboarding were accessible for a brighter audience. The 80s had been the first time that the owner of the TV device became his own program maker. Trailer for Stacy Peralta's first 'Bones Brigade'-video, filmed in the early 80s to show "new skaters what had been going on in the sport during and after the 1979-1983 dark ages when very few skaters remained loyal to the sport." powell-peralta.com. I love the beginning of the trailer when the users (Stacy Peralta himself) changes the broadcasting channel and a skateboard comes out of the TV device!
Video: Interview with director Stacy Peralta and 'Bones Brigade'-riders from the 80s like Tommy Guerrero and Rodney Mullen ("He is one of the most captivating interview subjects I've ever seen in a documentary. He speaks pure poetry..." writes Allistair Pinsof on flixist.com) of the documentary 'Bones Brigade: An Autobiography' (2012). On the website of Stacy Peralta's co-owned company powell-peralta.com, a list of hyperlinks to reviews of the Sundance Film Festival screening in January 2012 is published; such as to twitchfilm.com where Chase Whale closes his article with the words: "You don't need to be knee-deep or even care about skateboarding to fall in love with this film. Bones Brigade: The Autobiography is a masterpiece."
Source: Original article with image and videos on http://www.fashionoffice.org/culture/2012/skate1-2012.htm.
(C) Sawetz, since 1996