The crew, who began as a surf team, derived their name from the Zephyr surfboard shop in Santa Monica. Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig Stecyk opened the Santa Monica shop as Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions in 1971. The Z-Boys represented the shop in surf competitions, with the first member being fourteen-year-old Nathan Pratt. Pratt also worked at the shop and became an apprentice surfboard maker over time.
In 1974, Allen Sarlo, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Chris Cahill and Stacy Peralta, Hamish Albany, joined the surf team. The place that the team spent most of their time surfing was at Pacific Ocean Park, a once thriving amusement park atop a pier. Now abandoned and run down and nicknamed by the locals as “Dogtown”. With large tilted, wood pilings jutting from the water, and not enough room for all of the surfers, Pacific Ocean Park Pier was an incredibly dangerous place to surf. Despite these dangers, the Z-Boys surfed it anyways. They would surf in the mornings, when the waves were the highest. When the pier waves died down after the early-morning hours, they would hang out at the Zephyr shop, running errands, doing homework, skating and flirting with passing girls. At that time, the Z-Boys saw skating as a hobby, something to do after surfing, but it quickly grew from a hobby into a new way to express themselves.
In 1975, Cahill, Pratt, Adams, Sarlo, Peralta and Alva asked Jeff Ho and Skip Engblom to start a skate team separate from the surf team. Soon after, local skaters Bob Biniak, Paul Constantineau, Jim Muir, Peggy Oki, Shogo Kubo and Wentzle Ruml would join the Zephyr skate team, growing to 12 members in all. Engblom saw this as something that would help them with their surf training and self-discipline, so he quickly set up a practice schedule. The team would practice a lot of the times at Bicknell Hill. Bicknell Hill ran down from the Jeff Ho and Zephyr Surfboard Productions shop. There, the Z-Boys would set up cones and practice all day. They would skate real low, riding the concrete like they were riding a wave. They would drag their hands on the pavement like Larry Burtleman, a professional surfer who would touch the wave when surfing, dragging his fingers across it. Style, to the Zephyr team, was everything and they pulled all their inspiration from surfing. There were also four grade schools in the Dogtown area that the team would skate quite often. The Z-boys loved to skate these schools because they all had sloping concrete banks in their playgrounds. Soon, the Z-Boys were carving real waves in the morning and asphalt the rest of the day.
- Get Out And Go Surfing, It’s International Surfing Day! (kroq.radio.com)
- Photography by CR Stecyk III (sixand5.com)
- Morro Bay man starts skateboard magazine and museum (sanluisobispo.com)
- Surfing goats hit the waves at San Onofre (beach.orangecounty.com)
- Ventura event teaches girls empowerment through surfing (vcstar.com)
- Icons honored at Surfing Walk of Fame (beach.orangecounty.com)
- Six Beginner Tips to Start Surfing ASAP (jaunted.com)
- Surfing goats ride waves in Orange County (hosted.ap.org)
- Surfing goats ride waves in Southern California (news.yahoo.com)