VISTA, Calif. — The skateboard ramp made headline news 45 years ago, when it was just 8 feet wide. It was the creation of Tom Stewart, who lived in Encinitas at the time.
In 1977, a reporter from CBS 8 described it as the beginnings of a futuristic sculpture and that it looked downright dangerous.
Today, Stewart is 66-years-old but he easily remembers how he got the idea for a wooden half-pipe. "I stumbled into this idea you know," said Stewart.
Stewart and his buddies got the idea after discovering the thrill of riding huge concrete pipes in the Arizona desert that had yet to be buried.
"It was a trippy experience," said Stewart. "We'd go out there and camp. I go, 'Well, this is cool'. I can't take a pipe home. Why don't we make one out of wood?"
So that's what Steward did. He built the ramp out of about $250 worth of plywood and nails. The ramp drew a lot of attention in his front yard. Realizing he had created a hot commodity, he got a business license, and recruited his architect brother to draw blueprints for the ramp.
Stewart charged $19.95 for a full set of plans and templates. Buyers would also receive two Rampage stickers and a poster.
Stewart placed ads for the ramp in skateboarding magazines. He said he sold thousands of the plans, reaching every state in America and 30 countries internationally.
These days Tom plays in a blues band and promotes Blues Festivals. His place and skateboard history is music to his ears.
Stewart said he was blown away watching footage from 1977.
"You know, it's cool. I resemble my son. Looking at my change of physical appearance. It blew me away. It was almost kind of sentimental to me."
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