For any of you out there familiar with the birth of skateboarding in the mid 1970's, the name C.R Stecyk, would be significant. Stecyk is the ultimate author and social/ pop culture commentator of the Southern California surf/skate/art scene. He is also internationally known as a respected collector of fine artist working in sculpture, painting, surfboards and hot-rod cars. He is one of the founders of Juxtapoz art magazine, and has contributed to many different books, including the authorised Miki Dora story and Don James' Surfing San Onofre to Point Dume.
His stories published in the original Skateboard Magazine are the stuff of legend. His involvement in the Zephyr skateboard team and the Dogtown street scene of Venice California was pivotal. His social commentary is beautifully articulated and precise. He is an individual with a deep sense of history and has the unique ability to link the past to the future. His works of the mid to late 1970's are the most poignant. Collectively known as the 'Dogtown Chronicals', he introduced delinquent skateboarders like Jay Adams and Tony Alva to a generation of disaffected youth.
What the Papa enjoyed most about his work was the way in which he wove his stories into the fabric of Southern California culture. We get to see the emergence of skateboarding set against the gritty graffiti streets of Venice and Santa Monica. We glimpse a world of surfers sharing neighbourhoods with Latin Chicano street gangs, lowriders and hotrods and we see the amazing cross pollination of ideas and culture. We see skateboarders as dispossessed youth carving out a brave new world amongst the crumbling concrete of a former beachside paradise. He captured this intense moment and revealed it all to a world of pre-punk teens around the globe. To me as a 14 year old living in Sydney Australia it came as an incredible outlet for my teen angst and went on to play a major role in how I would forever view my world. There was finally a focal point for my idealism and creativity and skateboarding would provide me with a sense of belonging that set me apart from my peers in their safe ignorance of being Australian.
It has been a long time since someone like Stecyk has spoken to me in the same vibrant terms, in a way that could create such revered passion . In today's world its a scary thing to view how accepting our children have become to all things pertaining to being teenagers. On a daily basis I see manipulation and the dumbing down of our young ones by corporate identities: The Surf Conglomerates, the Skateboard giants, the Clothing labels with public stock interests. I live however in hope and idealism when I see young individuals giving the 'Man' the finger and choosing alternative paths.
On the beaches where I live and up and down the coast, its refreshing to see young surfers adopting Fishes or Single fins as their equipment of choice or those individuals choosing to ride Longboards or Logs. To me this is ground roots defiance that gives the 'finger' to the Thruster mentality long shoved down our throats by the Corporate Surfing Kremlin. To all those who choose the rocky path of individualism, the Papa salutes you!
This forum is an opportunity for me to shoot shit on my favourite topics, namely surfing, board design, WWII military stuff, beachcombing and grass shack living and lets not forget vintage clothing and lots of other off beat and interesting stuff.
I would love to be able respond to your comments and views so please take the time to include your email address in any correspondence. Write me, firstname.lastname@example.org