Day #78: Yonderboi – “Riders on the Storm”
I don’t really follow skateboarding all that much anymore, but Larry Stevenson’s obituary in the New York Times caught my eye last week. I am always amazed by how skateboarding came to be what it is; that the combination of natural consequence and engineering skill allowed so much to be done with a plank on wheels. Like, the way ballsy kids and West Coast droughts gave birth to vertical skating. Or how polyurethene replaced menacing clay wheels and made riding without risk of constantly busting your teeth possible. Next thing you know, a kiddie past time on the sidewalk became a billion dollar industry and boards were being launched miles into the air.
Larry Stevenson was a critical player in the evolution of skateboarding. He founded Makaha, one of the first surf and skate companies, and adapted the surfboard shape to skateboards. Skateboards have since grown into their own distinct shape, apart from surfboards following years of weird experimentation, but Stevenson’s other invention lives on: the kicktail. Otherwise known as the centerpiece of every damn maneuver in modern skating.