Posts about the blue fiberglass ramps that were used in Thrasherland and Skateball skateparks remain some of the most popular on Skate and Annoy. Stephen Smith was trolling the site and remembered he had saved an old flyer for the Great Bay Skatepark of Newington, New Hampshire:
I went there in the summer of 78 or 79 while on vacation with the folks from Nova Scotia. We got there at like 3 in the morning and all slept in the car so I could go skating as soon as it opened up. What a blast, great memories! Also while at the World Freestyle comp a few weeks ago , I chatted with old school East coast skate legend Bert Mathieson and he had skated there back in the day too. I got the flyer at the pro shop there.
As you can see, as well as “faster and safer,” the Great Bay Arena claimed to be the world’s first indoor fiberglass skatepark. I’m imagining a guy behind the counter at the pro shop mumbling to himself as he crosses off the incorrect session times and rewrites them by hand. He probably stole a coke that day because he was so annoyed.
I don’t know much about 70’s era R.A.C.O. skateboards other than they loved to use imagery on their products, even their metal boards had some kind of photo sublimation. The collection of fiberglass boards shown here features assorted beverage logos for Schlitz, Budweiser, Olympia, Pepsi, and 7-Up. It’s almost as if R.A.C.O. was the NHS of the 70’s in terms of branded boards. We should be glad that truck hole patterns were standardized. Imagine how much of a pin in the ass it would have been to drill for trucks with a triangular pattern.
Could there ever be any doubt that this is a skateboard? Thankfully, the manufacturer labeled it in big block letters, “Justen” case you weren’t sure. It really messes up an otherwise clean, and kind of cool top graphic. I guess people in the 70’s still weren’t grasping the concept.
It’s weird 1920’s swimsuit evil landlord villain surfing on a skateboard. He first made an appearance on the packaging for Trickray wheels. This time it’s a fiberglass Mark IV skateboard deck, large enough to make out the artist’s signature – Pfister. I’m not sure if this Mark IV is another Trickray product or if this illustration was just passed around. I seem to recall posting another instance of it but I can’t find it.
You might remember a Dutch newspaper article from 1980 talking about how skateboarding was becoming very popular. Here’s remnants of the same skatepark in the May 4th, 1982 edition of the Leidse Courant newspaper. This article is about the sport’s demise. This must have been slightly better than it looked when Jeroen and crew found it in 1985. Even then, you had to keep an eye open for those Mad dogs.
– Thanks to Jeroen for the tip.
I post a lot of crappy skateboards here, so it’s nice to have something really… pretty? I can’t say for sure if this was up to snuff when it came out, but it probably was, at least in some circles. The 70’s had a wide range in acceptable design and performance characteristics. This Whip True Glide model is a beautiful skateboard. The colors and the design really pops, though the flexible fiberglass deck likely doesn’t. It’s beautiful, but not $500 beautiful like the seller originally wanted. I like the top graphic, color combination that includes coordinated bushings, and the speckling visible on the bottom. Very sharp, very 70’s.
Skateboard slaat aan in Vlissingen – Skateboarding is catching on in Vlissingen, according to the December 4th, 1980 edition of the Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant. Check out the photo of that skatepark.Even though it’s low res black and white newspaper photo, it’s clearly one of those fiberglass ramps that was part of the Skate Ball system, and possibly the same blue fiberglass ramps used in Thrasherland. It’s hard to know for sure, could there have been more than one manufacturer of blue fiberglass skateboard ramps? There are similarities and differences between the two if you compare, but it’s conceivable that there were a few minor iterations over the product lifespan that would account for that. This is the only photograph I’ve seen showing the incline, full pipe parts (only half here) and the Skate Ball ramp. I’m just shocked that some of them made it all the way over to Europe.
The article comes courtesy of S&A reader Jeroen who rode this thing in the Netherlands. His crew actually found abandoned parts of the park and reassembled them in their own configuration and rode them in 1985.
Life Magazine covers skateboarding in Florida courtesy of photographer John Falls who went down to Florida to cover the Florida Bowl Rider’s Cup in Kona. And holy cow, that looks like some more artifacts from Thrasherland-style parks in those photos. It’s at this point that I’d like to remind Rick that I still know exactly where your Thrasherland slides are, you know, the ones you loaned me 5 years ago…
– Thanks to Seth Levy for the tip.
Ultra Flex. I’ve never heard of this company before, but they made skateboards and Primo brand wheels. The parent company was actually Special Products, a division of something called I.I.I., located in San Diego. I couldn’t find anything definite for them via google. They must have spent some cash on this brochure though. In the 70’s you couldn’t get a 1000 full color brocures for $100. First you had to have a photo shoot in a studio. The you had to pay for professional film developing, type setting, ad layout, and mechanical color separations. Plus there was stat camera graphic work too, none of this scanning and resizing in Photoshop, and then emailing a PDF. It was all done mechanically, and this would have been expensive.
UPDATE: Added pictures of an old Ultra Flex board.