At the age of 10 I really wanted to get a skateboard. I can’t remember having seen any skateboarding videos or pictures in magazines, but every time I went to the toy store I looked at it and knew I wanted to buy it. When I had finally saved enough money to be able to buy it I went to the toy store and got it. It was a wide, black board which had the head of an eagle in the middle. It had yellow wheels and I was happy to get it. As it turned out skateboarding wasn’t really my thing and I probably played with it for about a week and forgot about it. Turned out that roller skating was something I liked more and have done that for a long time (and still do occasionally). I never learned any tricks on that skateboard and the most skateboarding I’ve done was by playing Tony Hawk on the original Playstation. Dogtown and Z-Boys is a documentary about the evolution of skateboarding which has resulted in its current “extreme” state. This group of kids and teenagers didn’t stop practising and managed to start a revolution.
Dogtown was a bad part of town in Santa Monica. The big attraction sites at sea were no longer used and started decaying. If you were young around that time there wasn’t a lot to do. So what they did was to spend their time surfing, which was only possible during specific times because there wouldn’t be any good waves anymore. So to get through the rest of the day they would get on their skateboards and perform the same movies as they did on their surf boards. This resulted in them developing their own style.
The traditional skateboarding around that time was very different. The tricks were performed by the way you were standing on the board (on your hands or at the front of the board). When the Z-Boys entered a skateboarding competition the rest of the competitors were shocked by their way of skating. The Z-Boys also were one of the first to start using empty pools to go vertical, which of course has resulted in the ramps we know now.
This documentary, narrated by Sean Penn, give a very good overview of these developments. Footage from the seventies is used to show the Z-Boys skating and the members are interviewed to give their view of what they used to do. This results in a documentary that manages to capture the spirit of that time perfectly. You’ll understand the impact they had on skating. Dogtown and Z-Boys is a documentary of great quality which almost inspires me to get back to the toy store to buy a new skateboard. The fear of breaking something does make me forget that thought completely.
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