Hello Jim. You have been shooting from the beginning of the second boom of skateboarding starting in the 1970’s.
1- Why do you love to shoot skateboarding ?
I love to photograph skateboarding because I love to skateboard. As a skater myself, nothing is more fun than capturing the energy and vibe that makes skateboarding so special. And as an artist, photographing skating is a natural expression of my passion for skateboarding.
2- How did you get into it ?
I started out as a skater, but after breaking my arm in a skate accident I took up photographing it while I was recovering. Over time, I skated less and shot photos more, which eventually developed into a career.
3- Did you ever stop shooting ?
I had to cut back on my skate photography after going to work as the general manager and team coach at Gullwing, and again during my time as managing editor at TransWorld Skateboarding magazine. After leaving the skateboarding scene in 1986, I continued as a photographer but didn’t start shooting skating again until decades later.
4- What is your best skateboarding memory?
There were so many over the years. Traveling and experiencing the worldwide skate scene while shooting for SkateBoarder magazine was amazing, and creating and managing the Gullwing team was really special for me since we became such a close family. But the most memorable times were with my early skate buddies while discovering and skating all the great skate spots, and trying to stay one step ahead of the cops in pursuit of our passion.
Photo by Olivier Dezeque
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Hello Bill, I remember to meet you years ago, you were for me just an “old” guy riding a skateboard. But seeing you riding and enjoying it, I learned, you were not an “old” skateboarder, you are a truly inspiring skateboarder and an “old” bro. Skateboarding is like something you share with love with every skateboarders.
It has been now 10 years since we talked about the OldBro on Concrete Wave, so let me ask you 4 questions:
1- Why do you love skateboarding ?
I love skateboarding for so many reasons. Mostly because of the friends and relationships I’ve made along the way. There have been so many experiences and amazing good times that skateboarding has given to me that I feel I could never repay the debt! I have tried by giving back in every way I can. I started a skate program in Egypt that has got hundreds of kids on skateboards for the first time that would have never had the chance before. We built the first and only skate park in Egypt and I am very proud of that and the guys who helped make that happen. I’ve never skated in a single skateboard contest because I never felt the need to prove anything to anybody when it comes to skateboarding. I’ve always only ever done it for one reason, because I love it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. I honestly feel like I could never give back enough to make up for what skateboarding has given me.
2- How did you start skateboarding ?
I started skateboarding for real in 1972 when I was 13 years old. I had ridden around on one either on my knee or my butt for as long as I can remember but when I was 13, I started surfing. I lived about a half hour inland in Arcadia CA. but my mom would take us to the beach every weekend and then every day in the summer, my mom loved the beach. I started surfing and knee boarding and just couldn’t get it out of my head, so when I was stuck in Arcadia I just always wanted to get that feeling of surfing! So we would “sidewalk surf” it was driveways and hills, then ditches and reservoirs then empty pools and finely in 1976, it was skate parks! I skated everything and kept surfing too. I got a job at Skatopia in 197, in Buena Park and moved to Newport Beach, then in 1978 I moved down to San Diego’s North county and helped build and worked at the Del Mar Skate Ranch until 1980. I’ve been fortunate to have made friends early on with the Dog Town guys, the San Gabriel Valley crew, the IE crew and the Down South crews. And we are still friends today, forty years later.
3- What does Old Bro mean ?
Old Bro comes from the Old Bro bowl that was built by a group of Old Guys in 2006. I went to a Skatopia 30th reunion and was talking to a bunch of guys, some I had known for thirty plus years and some I had just met, and we said how we should build a skate spot that we could all enjoy. I had a big backyard just blocks from the beach and the Old Bro was borne. That day people who I had just met, wrote me checks or committed to funds or materials and we started building. My wife Pat was always on board with the whole idea. We built a really fun bowled in mini ramp that was featured in CW that year but we were soon forced to sell the house, so we had to cut the ramp up and move it to our new house. Once again my wife was adamant that any home we bought, had to have room for the Old Bro. So we moved the ramp and soon people from all over the country and the world came to skate “the Old Bro” soon those became “Old Bro sessions” and the “Old Bro Crew” started growing and people started referring to sessions all over S.D.’s North county as “Old Bro Sessions” no matter where they went down.
I soon realized that Old Bro was more of a feeling, a vibe or a way that you referred to your long time friends and acquaintances and stopped being about the ramp. It is now a brand and sort of a movement. a way that we all just connect with one another. I talk to guys all over the country and the world and we instantly connect because, we are Old Bro’s.
4- Do we have to be old to be old bro ?
Ha! no. you don’t have to be old. I often say that everybody has an Old Bro, or is one, or knows one. If you are a 14 year old kid but you have a buddy that you’ve known since you were 6, well he’s your Old Bro! or you are a 30 something dude and you’ve got a friend form collage or you have this friend that was a friend of your old man’s, or that 14 year old looks up to you, you either are, have, or know an Old Bro, and you are an Old Bro to someone. And this goes for any type of activity, not just skating because it can be so many things that bring us together and make us appreciate our Old Bro’s.
Thank you my friend Tibs for asking me these questions, you are truly an Old Bro.
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Facebook: the Old Bro Group page