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