During the 2nd wave of Skateboarding boom in the late 70s and early 80s there was no other skateboard company that was as Punk rock as Santa Cruz – their 3 hottest skaters Steve Olson, Steve Alba and Duane Peters were the epitome of Skatepunk. In fact when Steve Olson won skater of the year he was already punk – back when Tony Alva, Jay Adam and even Duane were still long hairs. Which is kinda of ironic in a way since Santa Cruz was started as a Surfboard company back in 1973.
Owned by the Umbrella company of NHS – Inc (Rich Novak, Doug Haut and Jay Shuirman) this trio of surfers planned to surf all morning and shape and sell surfboards during the day to fund their lifestyle. They soon found their margins were very very tight and started producing fiberglass skateboards to help increase their profits. Pretty soon their skateboard sales were out stripping their surfboard sales. To their credit they guys managed to stay in business during at least two “bust” cycles in the skateboard business where many other companies went bankrupt – you can only really do that with a true passion for skateboarding.
Steve Olson’s checkerboard deck was not only the most “punk” deck you could buy back in the day it was also probably the widest you definitely needed Indy 169s to rock that thing, I never had one at the time – I think one of my buddies did but I did manage to pick up the re-issue a couple of years back – fuck yeah!
The Duane Peters black and red stripe deck has to be the most iconic punk rock skateboard deck ever – I don’t remember the dimensions of the original 80s models but for some reason in Australia we always preferred the shorter decks – the original Duane Peters came in a full and mini version – my favourite set up of all time was my Mini Duane with Indy 151s and pink blackheart wheels – I damn near rode that thing to Death.
Back when I first moved to the USA I picked up a Duane Peters re-issue with routed grab rails From Beer City and I think I do have a couple of other Duane Re-issues in my collection (Sorry too lazy to go look).
Here is to Santa Cruz Skateboards – one of the truly great Skateboard companies.