The other day I was telling a story about how it was to be a teen in the early 60’s. We were talking about skateboards and how they became popular in that decade. In Southern California there was a big surfer craze. Still true for some I think. Dude!
There were The Beach Boys and their totally unique sound, most of which we listened to on the AM dial on our transistor radios. And there was the incredible surf! And there were surfer girls!
I was in Junior High School. Too young to drive or hang out with the older kids who had the great joy to soak in the whole surfer lifestyle. I did have wing-tip shoes, a paisley belt, plaid shirt, and the appropriate hair style (the wet look). Did I mention there were surfer girls? Even though gas was around 20 cents per gallon, and the beach was just over an hour away, I was land locked! Still, I was compelled to surf even if only on the asphalt. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I suppose that’s true.
This was before the commercial manufacture of skateboards. My family operated just this side of poverty, so I found a scrap piece of 2×4 and spray painted racing stripes (purple) down the center of a white board. You have probably seen this paint scheme on a Mustang Cobra. That’s what I was going for anyway. I got the white paint from a bucket of left-over house paint, and the spray paint was from Uncle Joe’s plastic car model kit. The wheels available were not vinyl, but steel. Since my big sister no longer used her clamp-on skates, I snagged those. I hammered the clamps flat and nailed them to the bottom of the board. The nails I found were way too long of course, so I just bent them over the clamps and it worked okay.
This was certainly not the safest lash-up and it resulted in many mishaps. When you wipe out on asphalt, it means skinned toes, knees and elbows. I broke no bones, but was the recipient of many minor injuries. I suppose I viewed those scars as red badges of courage. It just sort of went along with being a “sidewalk surfer”. The girls seemed impressed, so I guess it was all worth it.