Most people who skate nowadays probably have no idea just how close the US government came to shutting it down during the 1970’s. Thanks to Sally Ann Miller, you still have the freedom to roll in the USA. And thanks to Jim Gray of the mighty Powerflex Wheels and Inkjenda, you can learn about this incredible woman through his incredible Facebook Post. A On behalf of skaters everywhere, THANK YOU SALLY ANN MILLER! FROM JIM GRAY
Met another one of my Hero’s of the Skateboarding Culture the other night, and she should be your hero too!
This is Sally Anne Sheridan. I’d always heard about Sally Anne Miller (pre marriage to Don Sheridan) in the 1970’s in her skateboard industry days, but had never met her. She built the world’s first City Owned Municipal/Public Skatepark in Irvine California. Whether you love it or not, they are the future of accessible skateboarding for all and she started it in 1976.
She did much more for and with skateboarding like running the ISA International Skateboard Association out of Costa Mesa no less, but let’s start with the story of the Irvine Run.
It was a very fun snake run leading to a banked semi bowl area at the bottom. I rode this place many times, loved it a lot, and sadly was there the day they came, asked us to stop and started Jackhammering it. That was not a fun day. (Pics of me skating it on two polaroids next to the pic of her and I). She told me she was with the City of Irvine Parks and Recreation department and local skaters and Hobie Teamriders like Steve Shipp said they wanted somewhere to skate, she asked what they want, and the snake run is what they came up with. If only it was that easy today, we’d have even more skateparks than we do.
She said they had no idea what they were getting into and that once the skate world got word of this free public skatepark skaters from a hundred miles around all converged and there were hundreds of skaters there everyday. They had built condos right next door which you can see in my skate pics. They got complaints about noise etc. They first built that big wall to quiet it down but still got too many complaints and eventually promised the residents it would be removed.
David Paul Lacey hits the first ever municipal skatepark in Irvine, California.
Several years later at the typical pace of a city the item came up in the Irvine city’s public works list of things to do, and even though it was now much calmer now and usually 10 people or so would be skating anytime we skated, it was still scheduled to be removed and couldn’t be stopped. One day I believe in 1982, we were asked to stop skating, they pulled the trucks up and started Jackhammering, that was a sad day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten to spend lots of time in the world’s first public skatepark and will forever be grateful to Sally Anne and crew for making that happen.
Sally Anne did so much more for skateboarding, including making sure skateboarding continued to exist, because there was a point when the Consumer Products Safety Commission was considering banning skateboard deeming them too dangerous of an item to be sold.
Here’s a post from Dave McIntyre
Sally was an Ivy League graduate and was asked to help head up what became the ISA. She had to help sell skateboarding as safe, and standards were set to get people wearing safety equipment and sell the sport as safe before it was made illegal to manufacture skateboards, and believe me they can do that.
Luckily that battle was won and we are all here today to tell these stories. It could be a different world today had that happened and it might have been a footnote in history and all the joy we have enjoyed on our boards may not have existed. Such a crazy thought, thanks again for helping us get through that one Sally and crew.
The ISA or International Skateboard Association also ran pro contests, set the standards etc.
After meeting Sally, I called Glenn Miyoda, an old friend who went to the same high school as me and was friends with my sister. I knew he’d have some insights and knowledge. He was a Photographer for Hobie in the early days, and come to find out he also ended up working with Sally Anne for the ISA. He shared story after story from how she sought to find the right people to set standards for contests, like how to measure the height of an air as airs started coming into play in contest, how she collected money, and a good one about her putting Mr. Bennett in his place once during a meeting.
Basically he told me she was kind, smart, hard working and a hell of a bad ass when she needed to be 100% thumbs up from Glenn Miyoda who I have 100% faith in sharing skate history with.
I don’t have all day to keep writing but I will end with the funniest story she told me all night. She said among her jobs was to make the riders wear their safety gear, and one she always got a lot of grief about it from was Tony Alva. She told me a story of walking up to him once, and him thinking he would get a rise out of her, dropped his pants. She told me she just calmly looked down at his exposed private parts, told him on a scale of 1-10 I’ll give it a 2, and then everyone started laughing including Tony.
That cracked me up. Ironically, she is now married to Don Sheridan, who worked with Zephyr back then and asked Tony Alva “who is that cute lady” when they were at some TV filming or something like that. Well that was the start of something and now Don and Sally Anne Sheridan live in Laguna Beach and have been married for 39 years.
Sally is 82 now and I look forward to going and spending some more time with her and Don and learning more of the untold stories of the skateboard world.
I am a very fortunate guy to have gotten to participate in so much in skateboarding for the last 40 years.
Amazing story on Tony Alva from 1978 from People Magazine.
And a post from Mofo (ex Thrasher photographer and CW contributor) about Sally
PHOTOS: AMY TORRES In my previous ventures out to cover some of the events that the Collegiate Skate Tour puts on, I have been lucky to cover them from ground level to get up close and personal to the shredding. This time however, sidelined by injury, I was fortunate enough to have watched this contest go down from a completely different vantage point: behind the judge’s table. Alongside a couple Astoria locals, we got to experience this stop of the tour from a unparalled point of view that overlooked the sprawling water-side park. From this spot, we got the experience of watching guys like Helaman “Hela” Campos go from signing up, to throwing crook nollie flips and absolutely ripping the course to retuning back to the podium to collect their hook ups. In my first experience judging a skateboarding contest, I might argue to say I had the toughest job out there in trying to make sure my papers would not fly away with the intense wind that descended on the course that day. Just kidding. All credit on this day goes to the student and non-student crops of skaters that came out and threw down regardless of the blustery conditions. This year’s stop of the Collegiate Skate Tour saw a bunch of new faces, along with a handful of familiar rippers who braved the rainy conditions last year. Bryant HS student, Brian Pascuaal seemed to use the wind to his advantage, flying around the course in his iconic durag. Meanwhile, internet-famous Humzea Deas showed up pulling clean front tailslide 270s to the tune of his name being called for the start of Heat 3. DC rider Derek Holmes also returned this year, making easy work of throwing back tailslides off the park’s shootout ledge. Lastly, coming back for more after his first place run last year, Andrew Valencia showed how familiar he was with the Astoria park by linking effortless lines together left and right. Perhaps most notably, Valencia even managed to hop to another board that got in his way, mid-grind. As if that weren’t enough, Valencia finished by shutting down the the best trick contest with a massive ghetto bird on the centerpiece gap. In the end, however, Heat 5’s Nico Ramos stepped up and put down an amazing set of runs to not only advance from his heat but to make it through to the semifinal and final heats. From what we saw behind the judge’s table, we had to give the win in the non-student division to him. From his blunt backside flips to his kickflip 50-50 body varials to his back 360 grabs off the platform gap, Ramos’ tech showing had it all. Unfortunately, the only hiccup on an otherwise easygoing contest was Joel Jones’ unfortunate injury in the middle of Heat 4. After an absent-minded bicyclist wandered onto the course, Jones hit the concrete and was rushed to the hospital to receive a handful of staples in his head. Though the contest resumed to close out an incredible afternoon of skateboarding, we would be remiss not to have kept Joel, who has come out to each and every stop of the tour since Fall 2013, in our thoughts. Since the event, a GoFundMe has been started to help cover some of the unexpected ambulance and hospital costs for Joel and his young family. We welcome and encourage any donations to be made here. After Saturday’s event wrapped up, Keegan Guizard led another installment of a College Readiness Workshop with the folks at the Harold Hunter Foundation which was actually the first to take place during the same week as the contest.Speaking on the experience, Guizard said, “The Harold Hunter Foundation is always helpful in making that happen and really brings the skateboarding community together for good.This workshop was a great opportunity to connect with young New York City skateboarders off the board after a great event in Queens.” Check out the action that went down here:
Squishy 654 just completed a 50 Mile Electric Skateboard Ride, on one charge. You can see his previous video for more details on the electric skateboard he used. (below) Squishy is going for 100 miles next. And as Mr. Squishy writes: “If you have any beer to donate to the project email me at email@example.com”
Over the weekend we hit up the local skatepark in my hometown area. The same old prefab ramps, still standing like a decrepit stonehenge, the ancient ruins of teenage years. Decades of harsh New England white-outs had left the blacktop a cratered moonscape. The blazing summers suns had faded the offensive and misspelled graffiti into nearly unrecognizable spray paint smudges. Overall, the skatepark was in one piece, just as i remembered it, except for one thing…
I love visiting skateparks, at home or abroad, not for the inventive array of obstacles, but for the culture. The petri dish that is the local scene, the faces, the names and the energy of the locals. Appreciating the power of the community that they have constructed. I am always fascinated by the drastically varying subcultures with the subculture. The microcosms contained within 60 square feet of tar and chain link fence.
I was welcomed with nods and smiles from the locals, as me, my brother and my childhood friends entered the park. I inquired of a friendly, smiling local, Jimmy, about the new wooden ramps and DIY ‘crete that speckled and encrusted the park. He happily obliged and told me that he was responsible for the ramps’ construction. I thanked him for provided them.
Within moments, my crew and theirs were skating together, bumping quintessential 90s hip hop anthems, bumping fists and cheering for each other. Everybody was boppin’ and basking in the warm autumn sunlight.
While cruising around in euphoric figure 8s, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, that Jimmy the friendly local, had deserted his skateboard, had turned his back and was excitedly fiddling with something. Figuring Jimmy was frantically rolling a blunt I was bewildered to find that instead of a gutted backwoods wrap, Jimmy was tousling around a wooden ball bound by a string to a wooden dowel.
In his right hand, Jimmy clutched what appeared to be a wooden double-sided hammer, although strangley the face of each hammer head was inverted, concaved, resembling a miniature cup or bowl. Above the dual hammers was a small cone that gently tapered into a blunted tip. A white string, anchored to the base of the handle, flailed wildly in the air attached to a red ball. This red ball, the size of a beer pong ball, had a small hole that tunneled through the entire diameter of the wooden sphere.
A boy on a BMX appeared, and joined Jimmy, and expelling a wooden ball hammer from his pocket. Within moments, the two were fully engaged, shouting and giggling as they spun and casted their balls on a strings, attempting to catch it with either of their hammer cups or to spear it throughout the hole with the tips of their wooden cones.
After observing for a bit, this mutated form of cup-and-ball, I asked Jimmy what the hell was up with that thing. He told me it was called “Kendama” a game originally played by drunken Japanese sailors to pass the time on long sea voyages. Now, according to Jimmy, Kendama-mania has swept the states from coast to coast.
Jimmy elaborated, comparing the cup-ball game to skateboarding. He said that you master certain tricks and then try to do your tricks consecutively in a row, like a line.
This game reminded me much of the hacky sack or even devil sticks sessions of my youth. Flinging an object through the air and trying to catch it, stall it, and then return it to flight. It also reminded me of a string-based perpetual-volley toys like the yo-yo or paddle ball. Even the strange design of the Kendama toy shocked and intrigued me like my first eye witness accounts of fidget spinners.
I’ve seen many fads come and go, toys that were just as fickly picked up as were easily discarded- only to be rediscovered on the dusty shelves of Goodwill. What intrigued me about this new bizarre low-tech gadget was that, it did indeed, remind me of skating. Not only was Kendama a strange looking simple-machine, but to play, you simply needed time and patience. Fine-tuning your motor skills and battling the constraints of gravity were the shared struggle of both Kendama and skateboarding.
Not only was this an light-hearted, nonsensical escape from the mundane pressures of modern living, this game, clearly, had no coach, no team and no opponents. You were free to practice and create maneuvers as you so chose. Not only could you choose how to play but you could also choose to share the play with others, whoever you wanted.
I watched these two young men play for vigorous 20 minute stints, taking breaks to skate and BMX and then returning to their ball string hammers. They practiced their extreme sports in tandem with their string contraption disciple in even increments.
This not only was like skateboarding, it was an intrinsic part of Jimmy’s skateboarding experience.
Kendama was just about enough of a part of Jimmy’s sesh as other peoples’ weed-smoking, shit-talking or dead-eyed staring into their smart phone.
My hometown friends scoffed at the ball string hammer game of the locals, and remarked that they avoided coming to this very park because of the pervasive Kendama culture. I disagreed and said that I enjoyed the locals using the space however they pleased. I felt confident that these young men were outcasts, just as we skaters are, and that they should be cherished just the same.
When I found Jimmy and his BMX counterpart, brought together in Kendama bliss, now filming each other with a GoPro, I was certain that this game, like many other bizarre rituals, are in fact skateboarding. Having fun, expressing yourself and progressing a skill, by means of offbeat physical rhythm, doing what you want, where you want, solitarily or socially, that is what skateboarding means.
The world is a skatepark and you can play whatever you want in it.
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