I cannot remember a time
when I have seen so much positive energy
in one location.

This is not the energy of wanna-be's
and gonna-be's.

No, this is a room filled with
very accomplished individuals.

Numerous champions,
each tried, tested, and proven,
numerous times.

And that in a crucible of flaming fire.

It is all extra strange to me
because I have been working
with a number of the very first persons
to invent the sport of competitive skateboarding
in trying to ascertain
who did what first, when and where.

We have it narrowed down
to a group of five to ten people.

After a number of them thought about it
they decided that it had all really started
in the paddle tennis court
at my cousin's Topanga Canyon beach house,
alongside the one that I lived in.

The path between the two houses
was the public access
to the beach and lagoon.

So, all surfers and would-be surfers
had to pass through this narrow corridor
to get onto this very popular beach.

It didn't take long before they started piling up
in the tennis court
to try and figure out what could be done
with these little boards with wheels on them
which were used for what we originally called
"sidewalk surfing".

I would watch them with astonishment
as they would try out different things
including handstands
and jumping over the net,
off the board,
and back onto the board.

These were the best surfers
on our coast,
many of them being fully professional
competition surfers.

So, as they would think about the moves
which could be made on the new shorter
and much faster surfboards,
they would come onto the paddle tennis court
and various nearby roads
and schoolyards
and try many of same moves
on the pavement.

We had no idea at the time
that we were doing anything
out of the ordinary
or anything which would be
of any lasting significance.

It was just
good old fashioned fun,
to us.

After awhile,
a lifeguard, and surfer,
by the name of Larry Stevenson
came up with some technical innovations
that ended up
revolutionizing the sport
by opening the way
for far more advanced techniques.

As time went on Larry
came up with an even crazier idea.

The Makaha skate (and surf) team.

All of the skaters were competitive surfers.

They would go from one surf competition to another,
while eating many or most of their competitors alive.

Then they would demonstrate this new sport
which they were inventing just for the fun of it,

Well, it didn't take long
for these crazy boyz to figure out that
huge pipes,
and swimming pools,
and stairs,
and ramps,
and such like
were grrrrrreeaaattt! for skating.

So they began developing techiniques
for these various different venues.

Often while being chased
by both public and private police,
on a regular basis,

(who were successfully evaded
most of the time;
an important skater skill
as it was turning out).

Then came the huge parking complexes.

Oh, they are THE BEST!! by far.

You can hear the ten or twenty
(or more) skaters
coming your way,
screaming downhill,
from a mile away.

It would make the entire structure rumble.

This is the reason you have all of those
"No Skateboarding" signs
in the parking structures today.

Not to mention the old joke about
"Skateboarding is not a crime".

That is to say,
actually, it HAD BEEN criminalized.

Those of us who were blessed
to hear these sounds
miss them very much,
I can assure you.

Although, I must admit that they
are a little bit scary as they all go flying by you
as you are trying to exit the structure.

Finally in 1965 this brand new sport
reached such a stature that there was a
First International Skateboard Championship
held in Anaheim, California,
with a tremendous amount of
fanfare and media attention.

The ABC Wide World of Sports
covered the entire event live
with all of the world looking on
in great wonder
as they watched these young kids
doing the wildest and craziest things
with those little boards with wheels on them.

The entire world was mesmerized.

Every major media outlet
was running one story after another.

My cousin Woody,
at ten years of age,
became an overnight sensation
and an instant celebrity 
as the entire world watched him
dominate and win
in all three categories,
and that with relative ease.

Following the championships
we kids saw him
on television constantly
in Ford commericials,
and with Tony the Tiger,
for Kelloggs.

He had become an overnight sensation.

And, very weirdly, it has not been forgotten,
although he did not have any idea
that such was the case

(until I informed him of this
a number of years ago
after finding it out
from my fully grown children,
who had no idea that the famous skater
with their same last name
is their dad's cousin
and very close lifelong friend).

The skate magazines
which were read by
all young boys and teens
at the time
(and many of the girls)
dubbed him "Woody, the King"
and "The Father of Skateboarding"

(note: there are actually more than one father;
it was a very collabarative process.)

At some point in his life,
about thirty years ago,
Woody moved from Malibu area
up to Santa Barbara
where he just sort of disappeared,
into self-imposed oblivion,
quite happily.

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

He has just been inducted
into the Hall of Fame,
but no one knows where he is,
or how to get ahold of him,
(except a small handful
of very longtime friends
and one or two close relatives).

At the time the press release went out
he was in the mountains,
with me worrying about how to find him
and let him know what is going on
down here in civilization.

And I know how much
he hates these things.

And that he usually will simply not go
unless I go with him,
knowing that I hate these things
even worse than he does
(misery does so love company).

Well, after about 40 days and nights
of "sweating it"
(quite literally),
here we finally are,
walking from our hotel rooms
into the convention.

I pulled him up tight against me
with my arm around him
and told him to take a good look
around him.

"These are all YOUR children",
I told him.

"You know what I mean,
your spiritual children".

It was incredible as we walked through
over a hundred people
milling about in front
with none of them yet realizing
who was walking in their midst.

A few gave quizzical,
looks of wonder.

"Just keep calm. 
Once we get you inside
and seated somewhere,
you can acclimate,
and kind of get into a groove",
I continued.

Oh, did I forget to mention
that he already tried to leave
even after arriving?


And I am not kidding.

The closer it gets to starting time,
the closer I am having to watch him.

That is one of the reasons
I have my arm around him,
by the way.

He ain't going nowhere.

And he knows that.

after what seems like an eternity,
we get to the entry door to the building.

There are hundreds of people
all crammed together in a long hallway,
leading down to the large conference area.

"Look at how many children you have"
I reminded him
as we both looked on
in astonishment.

We don't make it one or two inches in
before we are hit with several,
"Hey, aren't you Woody Woodward?"

One of the persons (Eddie K) continues,

"Remember me?
I was one of your teammates
in the year 19XX.
You were ten years older than me
and I wanted to be just like you.
You have been such an inspiration to my life.
I came here just to thank you."

Wow, how's that for the first person
you meet in the doorway
into the building.

As Eddie talks,
others are starting to form a semi-circle
so that we are not able to move forward at all.

I look down that hallway
to see we have several hundred feet
of people
we are going to have to get through
in order to find our seating.

I begin to wonder
how in the world
we are going to pass through
all of those people.

Finally, while he signed autographs
and talked with various people
I told him that we were just going
to have to make a run for it,
and that I had already scouted out our path
and made arrangements
to get through the next door quickly.

And so, a few minutes later,
we are inside,
where he needs to be
in order to get focused
and to hook up with the various people
whom we need to meet with.

From that point onward,
we had a very nice dinner,
and then about four hours of presentations;

first, "The Icon Award Presentations" for

Warren Bolster, publisher of Skateboarder magazine;

NHS Inc. "a veritable empire in skateboarding"
= manufactures fiberglass decks for skateboards;

and the band "Devo" whose "new" sound
was said to, effectively, embody skating

(note: remember,
this event is sponsored by
the International Association
of Skateboard Companies
i.e manufacturers).

Following this was the "Hall of Fame Inductions",
which included:

Wendy Bearer Bull
(the late and great Danny Bearer's sister)

Woody Woodward

Laura Thornhill Caswell

Tom Sims (the "Father of Snowboarding")

Alan "Ollie" Gelfand (the inventor of "the Ollie")

Rodney Mullen

and Christian Hosoi

They had inducted one member from the 1960's (Woody).

And two for the 1970's.

And two for the 1980's.

And a special one for Tom Sims,
who manufactured
the first longboards for skateboarding,
designed the first laminated multiple-ply maple deck,
is credited with being the inventor of snowboarding;
also skateboarding world champion in 1975
and snowboarding world champion in 1983.
He untimely died several months ago,
with his grieving wife being present
to receive the induction on his behalf.
A very sad moment, indeed.

The crowd was just awed to get to see
"Woody, The King",
live and in person,

Woody's longtime and very close friend
Greg Caroll introduced Woody with 
a ten minute long list of accomplishments. 

(Greg is known to many of us
as "Skater Dater"
after the academy award nominated film
"Skater Dater",
in which Greg had one of the lead roles;
it is said to be the first skateboard movie,
and the first modern music video,
which is almost an accident of history,
as it was not intended to be any such thing). 

In his highly detailed introduction
Greg explained why it is
that Woody is known as
"the King".

It was very moving,
hearing it from a close friend
who was there,
in the center of things,
while it was all happening.

And I knew that he was just scratching
the tip of the iceberg,
in fact.

It would just take far too long
to tell ALL of the wild and crazy adventures
these crazy surfers had
all over this planet.

Remembering that the first skaters
were surfers,
first and foremost,
and typically the best of the best
(i.e. winning competitions).

A team member would skate
in one competition,
and then surf in another.

And had to be able to go
back and forth
with ease.

And most of the really good ones
have an element of acrobatic
and/or gymnastic skill sets,
which seems to come in very handy
at times.

It was truly good to get to see
"the King"
take back his rightful throne,
with the full acknowledgement,
by actual votes,
of the relevant and most knowledgeable
members of the profession
and industry.

I heard one person after another
come up in astonishment and disbelief,
with stories of how
Woody had changed their life,
and always for the better
by his bold example.

They would also tell
how the values
which they had learned from him
had been passed on
to children and grandchildren.

Finally, one man summed it all up
as I spoke with him
at the exit after the event,
as I way trying to escape.

I explained that Woody
was a man of few words,
so he didn't have a huge speech to give.

To which this middle-aged father of three
grown and half-grown sons
responded as follows:

"Woody is an icon. 
He is like the Buddha. 
He doesn't need to say a thing. 
Just having him here in the room
is just sooooo incredible."

To which I had to say,

This should be but one more step
on a long and torturous path
which he and I have been on
for a long time as we have been
working on documenting the history
of these events, authoritatively.

But, very importantly to me,
I got to make acquaintance 
with a number of people
whose names I hear all the time,
but who I have never, until now,
gotten to meet.

And these are persons
who could prove to be very useful
in helping me to document
the highly refined history
of exactly who it was,
(and when, and where)
who first went down the straight wall
and then up the other side,
and then had to decide
what to do next, before
"the Ollie" had been invented.

I personally know several
still-living members
of that original group.

Now I am working on getting someone
to remember where and when
those first events happened.

It is something that may seem
mundane and trivial
to many.

But with a billion dollar industry
backing me up,
I think not.

That's enough for now.

More later?  or --- ?

w/irrepressible love


11:15 p.m.
Ventura, California, USA


I will quote below from the 28 page program,
with Woody in the centerfold:

An original pioneering member of both the Makaha and Hobie teams, Brandon "Woody" Woodward was described by Danny Bearer in '08 as "the youngest member of the Makaha and Hobie Skateboard Clubs.  [He] was the most radical.  His head was completely shaved.  He was born to be wild and lawless.  He was incredible to watch as he out sped the riders of both clubs."  At age 10 Woody would win all three events in his class (Tricks, FIgure Eight, and Flatland Slalom divisions), skating for Makaha in May of '65 at the very first International Skateboard Championships in Anaheim.  In doing so, he also won one of three 500-dollar scholarships offered by Skateboarder Magazine and was subsequently profiled in a two-page feature in the magazine titled "Woody Woodward - Skateboarding's 4-Foot-Seven-Inch Giant" that October.  Also called "The King," Woody was best known for excelling at both high-speed slalom and high jump.  He would go on to skate for the Logan Earth Ski Team in the '70s and is West Los Angeles skateboard royalty to this day.

end quote

Need I really say any more? 
I think his professional peers have said it all.

As a humorous aside, his name is Brendan, not Brandon.

He hates the name so much that he doesn't even bother to correct it when everyone gets it wrong.

He is known as "the Wood", nowadays,
although some of us still affectionately call him
"the King" (as in the one and only).