Santa Monica and Venice Beach are the areas where skateboarding became really popular during the 1970s where a group of skateboarders, the Z-Boys or Zephyr Team created their team and started skating in Venice and Santa Monica.
After Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk opened a surf shop called Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions right in the middle of Dogtown, where Ho handcrafted surfboards and pushed the limits and ideas of surfboard design, Craig Stecyk was the artist who designed the surfboards’ graphics and Stecyk pulled his graphics from local graffiti and made Zephyr surfboards reflect the area where they were made.
The shop also started the Zephyr surf team. Dogtown was full of young surfers who had nowhere to go and who were hungry to prove themselves and gain an identity. The Zephyr team provided that.
By 1974, this group of teenagers also included Allen Sarlo, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Chris Cahill, and Stacy Peralta. These surfers were notorious around Dogtown for being a rough-and-tumble crowd who dominated the surf and changed the world forever.
The Z-Boys are considered one of the most influential skateboarding teams skating in Venice and their story has been featured in numerous films and books. The Z-Boys played a significant role in turning skateboarding from a hobby to a widely recognized extreme sport.
There is still many remains of their culture and influence in every corner I see between Venice and Santa Monica, making impossible not wanting to skate too in every moment I have. Everybody skates here more than walking, making empty streets perfect for riding concrete waves on my way.
On the corner of Main & Bay Street in Santa Monica there is located in the landmark Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions space was, the Dogtown Coffee that was born out of a desire to honor and protect a key piece of American skateboard and surfing history, and provide a place for community to hang-out and come together.