Black History Month: Surfboards and Skateboards (Pt.2)

Part 2: Skateboards


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Black Skaters and Surfers…What’s This Got to do with Black History? In case you did not read this little blurb from Part 1, I decided to cover the Surf and Skate scene for Black History Month because streetwear was influenced by the cultures of the skateboarding and surfing communities. Since BE TH3 CHANGE is an up-and-coming streetwear brand, I felt this was a great way to pay homage to not only the birth of the streetwear culture, but to the Blacks that made history within what is considered predominantly white sports. Just as with surfing, there were a lot of stigmas getting into skateboarding as a Black person. Here’s a trailer for The Spades documentary which highlights some of the pioneers, and the greats. [su_youtube url=”” width=”460″ height=”300″][youtube][/youtube] [/su_youtube]


Pioneers of the Game

 23rd - Marty Grimes 2Marty Grimes was introduced to skateboarding by cousin, Rick Blocker at the age of ten. He was so excited that he made his own board equipped with “Chicago trucks and wheels.” When Marty was sixteen, he was skating with some friends after a surf movie when Wentzle Ruml and Tom Waller of Dogtown saw him; they were so impressed they immediately asked him to join the team. He was became a member of the E-Z Ryder Team, just after the collapse of the Zephyr team (Z-boys). Many have credited him with being an original Z-boy, but he was not. Marty was the first black skater to get his own signature model (on Z-Flex, his only board sponsor), and one of the first black skaters to get repeated coverage in the magazines back in the day. 

Ray BarbeeRay Barbee is the first Black skateboarders to hit the scene, professionally, but more importantly he brought something extra to the skateboarding scene – free styling. Ray started skateboarding in 1984, when he was in seventh grade. After some time of perfecting and learning his craft he developed a new technique. He was one of the first skateboarders to bring freestyle/flatland tricks to street, technical ollie combinations and numerous no comply variations. He is best known for his no complys.



A Couple Firsts in Black Skateboarding

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Chuck Treece was one of the first African-Americans to grace the cover of Thrasher magazine in 1984.

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Stevie Williams was the first professional skateboarder, black or white, to be sponsored by Reebok.


NY Times

Afro Punk

Coping Block

SkateBoarder Magazine (1978)