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News 8 Throwback: Sidewalk Surfing and Skateboarding in the 60s, 70s and 80s

Our special “Sidewalk Surfing: A Dive into the CBS 8 Archives” premieres on Saturday, August 6.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — It’s a sport that gained popularity in the 1950s when kids took the wheels off roller skates and nailed them to a 2x4 and hoped for the best. Hit a pebble and off you go! So many skinned knees and elbows but did it stop them? No, it certainly did not. Sidewalk surfing or skateboarding took off in California, but it didn’t take long for the rest of the country to get in on the action. 

Our special “Sidewalk Surfing: A Dive into the CBS 8 Archives” premieres on Saturday, August 6. You can watch it Saturday on CBS 8 at 4:30 p.m. and on The CW San Diego at 7 p.m. If you miss either broadcast, you can also catch the special along with a special extended interview with skateboard legend, Tony Hawk on CBS8+, our live streaming app available for free to download on Roku or Amazon Fire.

Credit: CBS 8

We want to celebrate the quintessential Southern California pastime, so we dug into our archive for our oldest film and tapes…little gems hidden much too long.

Sidewalk Surfers in San Diego 1965

On April 21, 1965, Tim Hudson, John Quick, and Shawn Bumstead were the skating stars here. This is the view from the end of the line. The sport got off to a slow start some years back here in California: but now it has caught on and is being taken up by teenagers across the nation. Tim, John, and Shawn were performing their hobby on boards about 2 feet long with ball bearing skate wheels under the front and back. The tricky little tip toe transports are steered by shifting one’s weight from side to side. Thus, the tie in with ocean surfing; some devotees claim that one can improve their ability on a surfboard by exercising their agility on a skateboard. Film was shot in La Jolla. This was a Mel Knoepp special report.

First International Skateboard Championships 1965

On May 24, 1965, San Diego was well represented at the First International Skateboard Championships which were held over the weekend in Anaheim. These are three members of the nine-man Gordon and Smith Fiberflex team which came away with second place among the twenty teams competing. 21-year-old John Hayward and 23-year-old Skip Frye demonstrate some of the skill used by the team to bring them so close to victory in the competition in which more than 300 took part.

Native San Diegan professional surfer and skateboarder Skip Frye is in our special and views the film for the first time in 57 years!! 

Skateboard Marathon Imperial Beach 1965 Enhanced version

Members of the Pacific-Imperial Skateboard Club set out to break a record for continual skating starting Sept. 5, 1965. These clips follow their journey which lasted three days. Three boys started skating together in the hopes of making it 50 hours total. You’ll have to watch to the end to see if they accomplished the feat.  

Tom Stewart's Half-pipe skateboard ramp in Encinitas back in 1977

Tom Stewart invented the half pipe in 1977 and CBS 8 stopped by to see what all the fuss was about. Fast forward to 2022 and John Howard catches up with Tom—see his reaction to seeing the video—that is in the special. Marcus Greaves updates us on Russ Howell. He still has all the moves!! 

Long beach skateboarder Russ Howell wows the crowd at Oceanside National Pro-Am in 1978

Skateboarding in a storm drainage channel in San Diego in 1986

We can’t do a skateboarding special without including Tony Hawk. John Howard shows him this blast from the past. 

Tony Hawk profiled in 1986

There are many more cool vintage skateboarding videos on our YouTube News 8 Throwback.

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