1965 American Skateboard Championships

1965 Skateboard Championships on ABC

We’ve posted about this ABC footage before, but the short clip has since been pulled from YouTube. This instance from Google Video is almost a half hour long, and still doesn’t include the other footage. The actual footage is kind of hard to sit through, but the real gem is the audio track. When you get bored watching it, just leave it running in the background so you can listen to the commentary. It’s interesting to note that most of the “champions” are 12-14 years old. There really isn’t any way to tell from the Google page who uploaded this footage, although there are a lot of Burning Flag Press clips on there from the same user, which would lead me to believe it was either Friedman, or a big fan.

– Thanks to K.C. for the tip.

1965 American Skateboard Championships – Anaheim, California

This program clip is from the 1965 Skateboard Championships in Anaheim California. Skaters include the incredible Torger Johnson (he’s interviewed in this clip, and he should also be noted as a big influence to the original DogTown Z-Boys in the following decade), Wendy Bearer, Skip Frey, Coleen Boyd, (the infamous) Bruce Logan, Laurie Turner, Willie Phillips, Danny Escalante, Bob Mohr, Bruse Ramey, Dave Hilton and Steve Hilton (Yes they are uncle’s of Paris Hilton!) Classic skateboarding and style in this earliest of known clips, and the first ever nationally broadcasted skateboard contest.


  1. was the clip that got pulled off youtube from Scott Starr? I know he just got booted off the other day, after only being back on Youtube for about a month or two. Lame

  2. I think Scott had a partial clip of this event up on Youtube, but I don’t think it’s part of this one.

  3. Prickly Pete on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    There’s quite a trail left on the slalom course if you look at those photos. Is that some kind of residue left by the clay wheels?

  4. Prickly Pete on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    Little known fact: Torger Johnson is Craig Johnson’s grandpa.

  5. curtis on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    it’s hard to believe that it would be possible for Torger Johnson to be Craig Johnson’s grandpa with the time line. must be a skateboard urban myth

  6. Livmo on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    Funny that they wore those soapbox derby style helmets, but no shoes… and they all had the foot-drag kickturn on lock.

  7. I like how the one kid was lobbying for extra points on his headstand, because he was wearing the helmet.

    Also amusing, the commentator trying to dance around his backhanded compliment to the one girl… Something to the effect of:

    “These tricks are extra hard for her since she’s such a, uh, big girl.”

  8. Prickly Pete on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    Curtis, it’s an urban legend I’m working to promote and you’re not helping matters.

  9. curtis on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    sorry, you should say he’s his dad (even though that’s a streach of the time line too).
    one thing you don’t see in contests anymore is college scolorships being awarded as prizes

  10. Don Rickles on April 9, 2009 - Reply

    Yeah, but saying he’s his grandpa is way funnier; it exaggerates the age of the video and juxtaposing this innocent little kid with a smelly Craig Johnson is funny stuff.

  11. He’s actually Craig Johnson’s sister’s bff’s paperboy’s babysitter’s cousin’s prison pen pal’s aunt’s weed dealer’s acupuncturist’s cult leader’s grandma’s personal trainer’s grandfather. It’s an easy mistake to make.

  12. Low Top Con on April 11, 2009 - Reply

    how bout that shit where little Davey Hilton cross steps up and down the board while carving? fu-huck yeah! shoes are for pussies!

  13. Scotty on April 16, 2009 - Reply

    the residue you see is just cement dust, since it was a brand new slab of concrete they poured just for the event.. by the way, i’m back on youtube again as SURFSTYLEY3.. .but i’l be putting stuff on google and other video sites.. Torger Johnson died in a car crash on Hawaii, high on cocaine driving to his girlfriends house almost 30 years ago

  14. Danny Escalante here. I was a member of the Northern California Hobie Super Surfer Skateboard Team and toured with the Southern team around the country. As I recall, the slalom ramp at the 1965 Championships was made of wood and very slippery. That’s why so many people fell during their runs. There was even a place near the top where the plywood was coming up, which made it easy to catch a wheel on the second or third turn. The ramp was rebuilt the day before because the builders made it too steep on their first attempt. Most of us were used to slaloms on grainy streets where you could power slide around turns on four clay composition wheels.
    Sorry to hear about Torger Johnson. He was a good kid.

    • Greg Joy on May 21, 2011 - Reply

      Hi Danny..It´s exactly two years later after you wrote your comments on this sight…but it´s May 22nd….anniversary day for the first major skateboarding tournament. I also was sorry to hear about Torger Johnson. At the time of the contest (which I was also a contestant) I was skating for Dewey Weber. All the guys on both the Hobie and Makaha Teams were the ones I really looked up to…and got a lot of inspiration from their talents. I remember one fact about that slalom ramp…they built it a day or so before the tournament. After it was completed, they gave it a trial run and nobody could could come close to handling it.They had to lower the angle a lot before it was possible. I believe the ramp consisted of masonite panels(rough side up). Oh yea..one more comment. Am I still skating 46 years later. Yes indeed.
      However, wiped out a few weeks back and wrenched the knee a little. Next time out…knee and elbow pads for this guy!

  15. Daniel, are you still getting on your board?

    Thanks for sharing your memories, it’s cool to have a first hand account of the event. I was born in 1965…

  16. I’m a little “top heavy” for skateboarding these days, but I’m working with middle school kids who are into it. I’m hoping we can raise enough funds to visit skateparks (and colleges) in California next school year. When we were kids we dreamed of the day when skateparks would be available to all skaters. I lived long enough to see the day!

  17. Dear Danny Escalante, Greetings from the Hobie Vita Pakt Super Surfer Skateboard Team and The Makaha Skateboard and Ski Club. This is your team member Danny Bearer. Great to hear of your good work spreading the good news of the Sport and Art of Skateboarding abroad !!! dannybearerenterprises.com and makahaskateboard.com and dannybearer@yahoo.com,e-mail me after you chech out these web sites. Also check LaTaco.com !!! Very truly your Team member and friend,Danny Bearer Call me at 310-452-1030 !!!

  18. Dear Danny Escalante,…in the process of writing a novel about the beginnings of professional surfing and skateboarding in the early 1960’s in California at it’s roots in Santa Monica “DEFENSE ABOVE ALL” The Adventures of Danny Bearer and crew !!! Very truly yours, Danny Bearer call me!!!

  19. Danny we are also making two new films about surfing and skateboarding !!!” MAKAHA, THE ORIGINATOR ” and “DEFENSE ABOVE ALL ” Daniel F. Bearer,later!

  20. Hi Danny and Scott!
    Your projects to capture “the whole story” are much appreciated. Thank you for your efforts. I’m trying to find photos, film, articles, etc for Scott’s project. Best to reach me by email or phone. Looking forward to connecting!
    ifnot@mac.com or 720-987-8148.

  21. Leslie Chapman on July 6, 2009 - Reply

    My niece saw a board I had bought for my kid in the early 1980’s but had never replaced the missing bearing set on and since we lived without sidewalks or pavement until 5 years ago never had occasion to use. It is clay wheels in good shape except the missing balls and a one piece board; not laminated like all links I have found say they were. Am wondering if an original or not.

  22. Ryan Heckler on July 6, 2009 - Reply

    Leslie, I suspect you have a clone and not the original. There is a sure fire test to find out, it has recently been discovered that cloned DNA doesn’t cast a shadow. For the test, you should take the board outside into a well lit sunny area with plenty of smooth concrete. After a short session you should begin to see a shadow if it’s an original, if there is no shadow then you’ve been duped into buying a clone…..

  23. After doing some reseach on this contest..i realized that it was originally called the National Skateboard Championships which was on the invites and Poster etc.. But if you listen to the announcer they call it the American Skateboard Championships.. but if you look at the article on the contest in the 3rd Skateboarder Magazine which covered the contest, you see the title is the International Skateboard Championships.. and all the photos of the Slalom ramp banner say International.. but look at the video.. the banner doesn’t say International.. They must have added it on by the last day of the event.. and by the way.. the first ever skateboard contest was the Dec 1963 one that Makaha put on that Brad “Squeek” Blank won and then there were quit a few contests in 1964 all over but the main one that has gone down in history is the one from Dec 1964 that. Danny Bearer won and Patti (Pat) McGee won in the girls division (she was sponsored by Cooley Bun Buster), actually tieing with Danny for points.. Hobie came in and put the winners on his team.. Most were on Makaha at the time… Patti was signed up to tour and do demos for Hobie across the country (and during demos she showed the short film AMERICA’S NEWEST SPORT, that Bruce Brown made for Hobie Skateboards,, THis film came out before Skater Dater by a few months) So Patti wasn’t around for this 1965 Contest but the rest of the Hobie team was..they kicked butt and then went on their own Cross country Hobie demo tour.. Where that one Cypress Gardens Skateboarding Film i have on youtube was filmed..

  24. The pictue above is of the late great Torger True Johnson one of the original ramp builders in 1975 as well as being a member of the MAKAHA SKATEBOARD AND SKI TEAM 1963 Later he was pulled from MAKAHA to THE HOBIE VITA PAKT SUPER SURFER SKATEBOARD TEAM with yours truly and we won the First International Skateboard Championships at La Palma Stadium, Orange County, California,The United States of America.

  25. The name of the film that Bruce Brown produced with THE HOBIE SKATEBOARD TEAM is sold all around the world . It is called “SURFIN’SHORTS”, thank you…

  26. My brother recommended I would possibly like this website. He used to be totally right. This put up actually made my day. You can not believe simply how so much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  27. ChuckKeefe on October 19, 2012 - Reply

    this is amazing to watch and to read what Danny Bearer had written about this and other events. i met danny and wendy at Paul Revere Jr High right after this event and his sister Wendy dated my best friend. i knew Danny till his untimely death. i have his Makaha skateboard with his signature largely written on it….and i also have one of his Hobie’s. He wrote on the Hobie in magic marker,,,This is the Hobie that i used to win the First International Championships in 1965. he had gotten the board back from one of the Hiltons in late 1990’s that had been at their house since the 60’s..and he thought it was the one used in this competition. but the board he used for the competitions— seems to have a different wood pattern than the one he gave me…but.. it is what it is…and i consider it to be priceless and belongs in the Smithsonian. These kids and their skills surely will forever be considered as the true Godfather’s of the Skateboarding World..that will be around now on this planet…forever. R.I.P Danny and Torger…you will always be remembered as,,,the pioneers of this new unique form of…American Culture.

  28. ChuckKeefe on October 19, 2012 - Reply

    sorry..i forget to say
    if you google…
    1965 First World Championship Skateboard..
    you can read the article i wrote, and see the ”Hobie” Danny Bearer gave to me. it is on the website at CollectorsWeekly.com—-
    i tried to tell the story as i knew it,,,im sure i made mistakes,,but Danny’s skateboard is there for you to see and////respect and honor…in his name.


  29. David E. Kenney on January 26, 2016 - Reply

    Hey, interesting. Bob Mohr, Steve Quirt, Ray Baschand, Bill Sigurdson, along with Dicky Mohr and myself, David Kenney, skated for Kip’s Skateboard Team at the 1965 Nationals. Bob did really well. I took second in tricks for those 12 and under, against Woody Woodward, but there was another guy, an indepedent, who was really good. He initially scored really well, and then took third in tricks.

    The thing I remember most is showing up for the event, and then having to wear those Randy 720s! We skated with barefeet…until the Skateboard Meet.

  30. David Kenney on March 6, 2017 - Reply

    Hey you guys have no idea that you are missing the comments of Steve Quirt, Dicky Mohr, and Dave Kenney, all members of Kip’s Skateboard Team who started everything you guys are trying to do.

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