By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
You know, the thing about living legends is that even though they walk amongst us they are shrouded in silence; a mute mystery that doesn’t surrenders any secret. This is because the epic tales that surround them and that are still heard to this day talk for them: their stories are everywhere and continue living in different versions within those who have heard them. Their former glory has survived all trials thanks to each upcoming generation that worships their value with a new sense of meaning. Stacy Peralta, for example, is one living legend whose history and achievements speak for him to this day. Skateboarding as we know it owes so much to him, and yet some of us enter in a complex situation when trying to separate the living being from the living legend.
There are many Stacy Peraltas: the ones that live on the stories that are told, the ones that survive in people memories and the ones who merge as an archetype in the skateboarding community knowledge. Still, there’s only one Stacy Peralta, the true and only one, which is the synthesis between the ones who we just mentioned and the one that Peralta himself is. The man and his myth are more than just a compilation of lifetime events, it is a trace that has left his soul on this world, and with it, an everlasting requiem that keeps on playing and resounding without pause.
Surfer and Z-Boy
We all heard of him at least once, but who is he? We can talk about a surfer from Venice, California, that started skateboarding with his friends at the age of fifteen during the first waves of shredding. We can talk about how and his mates formed up one of the first teams of competitor skateboarders under the banner of a certain surf shop called Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions, hence later known as the Zephyr Boys or the Z-Boys for short.
Is that Peralta? The one that during the notorious era of the Dogtown, Santa Monica and Los Angeles scenes, where skateboarding just boomed everywhere, became one of the first elite and professional skateboarders to be recognized at the age of nineteen beside his brothers Z-Boys like Tony Alva, Jay Adams and Chris Cahill among others. Yes, he is. The same Peralta that later would join with also legendary manufacturer George Powell to create the Powell-Peralta skateboarding company, one of the most successful skateboarding brands in history that to these days sponsors the best skateboarders of the world and produces the highest of top-quality decks.
Bones Brigade, Powell-Peralta and Movie Director
Photo: Mikael Cho (Unsplash)
And the list goes one: in 1980 he would come up with Bones Brigade, a crew and skateboarding team that would integrate other legendary skateboarders that would lead the future generations. Peralta is behind that screenplay, as well as behind the camera: after leaving Z-Boys, Powell-Peralta and competitions after years of triumphs, he wanted to record all of it to leave as a testament of what skateboarding was and what currently is. Peralta is a renowned director and screenwriter of many documentaries that capture the essence and unchanging nature of skateboarding. Documentaries like ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’, ‘Lords of Dogtown’, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’ and ‘Riding Giants’ are the ones that Peralta gave to us as a legacy not of his character, but as a spotlight to all the people who lived the crucial period of skateboarding before it took over the world.
Peralta lives now retired from skateboarding. It’s only fair, he already gave his youth and the best of his days and changed it forever more. He looks constantly for new material to make a documentary out of it. His job is now like that of an historian, an historian and sage who lived the events he talks about in past and present as an eyewitness. His approach to the subjects is artistic and almost sacred, for he doesn’t lack modesty but also must make sur everything is perfectly recorder; the truth and facts must always prevail for the historian. Peralta lives among us, and yet it feels like we can only talk of him in past, when actually it is us who are not aware that time has not stopped, and that skateboarding and Peralta’s legacy still slip into the future where we can only sit and watch it unclose.
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