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On Skateboarding’s Wild Start

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 20:54
Dave Dominey, co-founder of Tracker Trucks, skating surf-style in the Escondido Reservoir.
Lance Smith

It’s “the greatest story never told in extreme sports history. In 1975, a hippy skunkworks of garages and shacks came together to produce the inventions and infrastructure to set skateboarding on its path to becoming an Olympic sport.”

So says John O’Malley in reference to the birth of modern skateboarding courtesy of a bunch of daredevil longhairs, not necessarily always properly padded or helmeted as they rocketed down hills or carved up the concrete walls of abandoned swimming pools in the perpetual sunshine of Southern California.

The dude was speaking in a release, going on to refer to himself as a “longtime Ditch Plains denizen” and the author of a new book on skating’s origins, “The Urethane Revolution,” from the History Press. He’ll read from it at a book launch at the Montauk Beach House on Friday, Aug. 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. “Come hang,” a flier urges; the evening offers a cash bar and a book signing.

“Set in a stony little beach town” — he means Encinitas — “ ‘The Urethane Revolution’ recounts the unorthodox characters and unlikely events that launched skateboarding into our contemporary culture.” Involving, he continues, “two car chases, two plane crashes, a massive truck bomb, Colombian narcos, the Mafia, senior White House staff, a gypsy fortune teller, three straight-up miracles, Jacques Cousteau, big, big, piles of cocaine, naked hippy chicks, and 50 pages of terrific photos.”

’Nuff said.