Some years back, I was talking to my friend Jeannie Chesser about her move from Florida to Hawaii in 1970. We were standing in the Ala Moana Bowls parking lot, post surf. The swell was four foot; the sun was golden in both color and feeling. Jeannie told me that her move was inspired by the surf film Five Summer Stories. She has been an Oahu resident for 47 years now. Those waves that called to her in the film, she rides them nearly every day. Her son, the late Todd Chesser, was one of the world’s finest big wave surfers in the ‘90s.
A couple years ago, the editors at Surfline.com proposed that I write/edit a series about the history of surfing and skateboarding and how these sports overlap and inform each other. I loved this idea. In the early '00s I wrote Have Board, Will Travel: The Definitive History of Surf, Skate, and Snow. Working on this book was like revisiting my personal history: I skated in the mid-‘70s, found surfing not long after, and though I never got deep into snowboarding, I followed it closely, and had a couple of unforgettable experiences sliding down fresh powder in high Colorado. In my research I learned how surfing informed skateboarding and inspired its lines and tricks, and then later, in the early ‘90s, skateboarding returned the favor.
I first fell in love with Raymond Pettibon’s text/image drawings in the late ‘70s, when he made cover art for Black Flag records. They were witty, irreverent, subversive, pornographic, and highly intellectual, though I didn’t really understand this at the time. To my early teenage mind, they just looked cool.