We got hold of Stacy Peralta and asked him some questions about his career as a skateboarder, as team manager for the Powell Peralta team as well as about his visit to Sweden and his film making.
How old are you and where do you live?
52. I live in Santa Monica (for work) but spend most of my time in Central California in a small beach town called Cayucos.
I surf up there about four days a week if not more. I might be in the best shape of my life…or almost.
You started skateboarding at the early beginning of the sport and a lot of your moves were heavily influenced by surfing. Most of us has seen both “Dogtown and the Z boys” and “Lords of Dogtown” and know a bit of the story. Is there anything you would like to add that was not shown in either of those movies?
I’ve probably said too much about that subject.
When did you start skateboarding?
I was probably 4 years old the first time I set foot on a board which at the time was a skateboard scooter; a skateboard with a wooden box on the top with a wooden handle bar. I think I got hooked by the movement and feeling of skateboarding when I was about 7. Something as simple as rolling down the sidewalk was hypnotizing.
Do you remember what kind of board that was your first?
They were all home-made boards back then as you couldn’t purchase a new skateboard because they didn’t exist in stores. If you wanted to skate, you needed to make your own skateboards or else you could not do it.
You quickly became a role model and then went ahead to run Powell Peralta with George Powell and after that we mostly saw you as the person running the team. Didn’t you miss taking part in the competitions?
When did you last enter a competition?
1978. Either the Hester bowl series or the half pipe contest at the Lakewood skateboard park.
What were your criteria for new team riders? Apart from being good skateboarders, what other things did you put value in?
Were they photogenic – it was important at the time because it made the difference whether or not they would get pictured in the magazine. Also, were they injury prone? If they were, I usually didn’t work with them because I was interested in working with skaters who were going to last a long time.
Are there any team riders you are especially proud of?
All of them but especially the riders I worked with that changed skateboarding history by way of the revolutionary moves they created; Alan Gelfand invented the banked and vertical ollie. Rodney Mullen invented the flat land ollie as well as modern freestyle. McGill invented the 540, Cab the Caballerial, Guerrero was instrumental in the creation of modern street skating and Tony Hawk invented so many vertical moves that it would be impossible to list them.
I think it’s safe to say that the bones brigade is both the most successful competitive team in skateboarding history as well as the most revolutionary team with all of the original moves that were invented by them.
Skating in the rain. Racing crazy-fast go karts on a muddy track in the middle of a forest near the camp. Working with the Swedish skaters and how receptive they were and the endless summer days that never got dark.
What was the best thing with the camp?
That there was nothing like it back then. To the best of my knowledge it was the first it’s kind.
The summer camps had a long list of Powell team riders as coaches. Were the camps as successful for the team riders that went here as they were for the people that visited them? The camps were a huge success in terms of fun and meeting new people (I have no idea how they fared financially).
The Eurocana camps were successful in the manner that they allowed us to share our collective experience and to transmit information; the information of skateboarding. This was very important at the time, as there were few other opportunities back then to do that – there were no skate videos and very few skate tours or international contests. Exposure was very limited.
Sweden was always ahead of the curve in regards to skateboarding, a very progressive place – I believe the skaters in your country invented the idea of the skateboard camp.
Are there any Swedish skaters that you remember more than others and if so, who was your favorite?
There were two Swedish skaters at the camp who’s names I can’t really remember, but both were world class. One of them had a name like, Botha, or something like that and maybe the other one was Stephan? Both had as much potential as any vertical skater in America. (Botha is most likely Bauta aka Hans Göthberg vert.note)
You were very early in putting out skate videos which made a huge impact all over the world. Was this how you got interested in making movies?
Yes. Prior to making those videos I never had any intention of making films. I didn’t think I had any talent.
Which video are you most proud of and why?
Two of them I’m very close to; Future Primitive because I was able to capture the spirit of skateboarding I was seeing at that time and Public Domain because it was that video where my style as an editor began to emerge.
We remember you as a very surfy and stylish skater but what was actually your favorite trick?
Sliding. Doing slides on vertical in every possible way and in every possible combination. It all goes back to that original moment of rolling down the sidewalk and how hypnotizing it was – sliding up and down and around on vertical walls was the same for me. It was transcendent.
Do you still skateboard today?
When was the last time you skated in a park (and which one was that)?
Very recently. There are so many good parks today – they have finally figured out how to design them.
Think how many skate parks from the 70s became landfills. There were so many poorly designed parks back then, it was a tragedy. It really did damage to the sport and made it difficult for the average skater to find places to ride.
What do you think of the evolution of skateboarding? From slides and spins to flips and fives and insane street tricks?
I’m amazed. constantly amazed. But at the same time I’m looking forward to the age of extremism to be over. I’d like to see style and fluidity come back into the picture.
We have some quick questions we would like you to answer …
ramp or pool?
On or above the coping?
Indy or tracker?
Old school or new school?
Frontside or backside?
Concrete or wood?
Indoors or outdoors?
Hawk or Hosoi?
Both. You can’t have ying without yang.
Ultimate wheel size (diameter)?
I’m not picky. I ride anything.
Skateboarding is one of the primary strands of my dna. it’s who I am.
And the last question. What are your plans for the future? Is there any chance we will see you back in the skateboarding industry, either on a board or behind the scenes?
I’m currently busy living the future.
In regards to doing something in the skate industry – I’m open to doing something but am not necessarily looking to do something. If something comes along that is interesting then I might get involved. if not, then i probably won’t.
For some time now, Hawk, Cab, Lance, McGill and Guerrero have been urging me to put together a documentary film on the Bones Brigade. Maybe we’ll do that someday.
Final words: skateboarding gave us all an identity, something to be a part of and something to belong too. And it keeps giving to all of us who continue skating and even to those of us who choose not to.
This is why it’s important to give back.
We are definately keeping our fingers crossed for a Bones Brigade documentary. Thanks once again Stacy and good luck with the movie making