Tony Alva’s First Interview To Skateboarder Magazine 1977

Skateboarder Magazine Interview Revisited - 1977

Six years to the day that Jimi Hendrix died, Tony Alva won the World Professional overall title. Two weeks before that, he had set the new world record in the barrel jump. These victories were no surprise to his friends and followers, but still proved a few things to a lot of people. The prototypical Z-boy, the self styled skater with the Dogtown dreadlocks had commandingly stepped to the forefront of the organized skate scene. It was more than a personal victory; however, it was the public verification of a variant style or approach to skating. The Mr. Electric, Mr. Man of the moment, Mr. Radical of the press, known on the streets where he lived as Mad Dog, had brought home the bacon. With his victories, Tony had, in effect, become the man of the MOVEMENT. Alva views this interview as a way to speak his piece. What he has to say will no doubt upset some, but he knows if he doesn’t say it, no one else will.

Tony Alva is the one skater today with the across-the-board appeal to surpass the boundaries of the skateboard sport/art. He skates with friends like Craig Chaquico of the Jefferson Starship; his boards are autographed by Ted Nugent; and Marley figures the skate rastaman to be natty dread incarnate. He has been interviewed on ABC-TV’s Wide World of Sports, sounded by Rolling Stone, and featured in the National Enquirer. This interview was compiled from ten hours of magnetic tape, completed under the most hazardous of conditions.

Keep in mind that the names have been changed to protect the guilty, as well as the innocent. So he’s mad as a dog; what’s YOUR story?

How old are you?

Where were you born?
Santa Monica (laughing) Dogtown.

How long have you been skating?

Since I was 9 or 10. In those days, I was into just skating around and having fun. I really started getting into the more advanced phases in about ’68 or ’69 when I was surfing for the Santa Monica Hobie-Blue Cheer shop. At that time, I began skating with some of the people who rode for them like Trafton, Torger, Piccolo, Bearer and Davey Hilton. I learned a lot from those guys, especially Hilton. At Revere, he was pulling off full-out drag-foot slides and 1 ½’s on the bank, with clay wheels. He was fast and really smooth. All of them were excellent skaters and hot surfers. They weren’t just good for the time, their skating still holds up today.

Your style differs markedly from these older skaters. When did you develop your current approach?
I was hanging out with Jay Adams, who is like my younger brother. He’s always been a radical little rat. When he was 8, he was already into surfing at places like Malibu and Pitas Point. We both had these super-hyperactive personalities, and so we always had to be doing something, and that something was usually causing trouble, being rowdy, surfing and skating. Jay was always a good skater, and I passed on what I learned from the Hobie Team to him. Gradually we both evolved into kind of a mutual style. At that time, we were to such an extreme in our skating that we didn’t do any flat freestyle tricks at all. We’d ride the banks, get low and turn over like we were surfing totally into Bertleman style. All of the people we hung with were into the same surf-skate approach, and we all surfed Jeff Ho’s sticks out of the Zephyr shop. Jeff, Skip Engblom and Jay’s dad, Kent Sherwood, designed a low-center-of-gravity flex board to go along with the new style of skating. The Z-boys happened through all of that. There wasn’t a tryout for the skate team or anything like that; you were only on the team if you belonged. We were all friends, into the same kind of skating, and that was the basis of the whole trip. It just sort of set itself up, and Jeff and Skip backed us. It was a total skate trip… no bullshit tricks. People are just now starting to flash on how heavy it all was.

How do you feel that your local style relates to those of other areas?
A couple of years ago, our style was totally different. A lot of people didn’t really understand it, but there is much more acceptance now. They were into specialist trips; you know, the slalom boys were from one place, the flatlanders from somewhere else, and on and on, but we had the all-around approach. As others began turning on to banks, they got hip to our trip. What it comes down to is that in riding banks and pools, we’re at least 15 years ahead of everyone else just because of the area we come from. The people before us put in eight years of bank riding, and we’ve all personally put in another eight. Experience counts; some other people now do a good imitation of our trip, but that’s all it is, an imitation. Followers can never be leaders. Our style is continually advancing. We are different from those who came before, and the younger guys are already different from us. The younger guys are so radical… they’re continually bringing out the new, new moves. Look at Baby Paul, he’s the youngest, and he’s as good as anyone.

Do you guys think that you are better than other people?
Sure, in pools and banks, we KNOW it. I can say that outright.

What is your favorite form of skating?
Pools, by far. That’s where the heavy sensations are. When you skate them right and just full-on attack them really hitting and releasing the lines it’s like flying. The weightless phases are really intense. Adults look at an empty pool and all they see is cement, but kids realize the fun aspect. An empty pool is useless to an adult because it has no water. We are just into using what is there; I mean, we didn’t empty them in the first place. People keep kids out of the pools ‘cause they just don’t comprehend what it’s all about. All they know is their paranoia over insurance and the legal crap, while all the kids are into is just skating and having fun. They look at us and think we are crazy, but look at them-they have these empty bowls and can’t think of anything to do with them except swim. You show any skater a good empty pool, and he’s gonna ride it no matter what…he’s got to. The other big problem is the kooks…they come and try to skate like us, and they get hurt ‘cause they can’t. People should never go for anything they don’t have the basic ability to pull off. I’ve ridden a lot of pools, and I know how to fall. I’ve never broken any bones skating. A good pool rider knows when to bail. Look at Biniak, he’s as radical as anyone, but he knows when to call it off; he’s not stupid…why get hurt? But these kooks show up and try to follow our lines; they can’t, and they eat it. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt. Besides it’s the kooks who bust the spots. This one guy shows up with his friends at one of our spots and breaks his arm. It’s no big thing; the guy could still walk, but he doesn’t…he has his friends go call an ambulance. So we’re yelling at this pussy…”come on, we will carry you out, be cool…you’re OK; don’t sweat it,” but no, he’s laying on the ground crying,”don’t touch me; I don’t want to be moved; it might be serious.” So the cops and the ambulance come and take the guy home to his mommy, and the next day the spot is totally busted…destroyed. Now this was serious-just because this punk didn’t take care of himself, we lose another good spot. Now we don’t allow people who can’t skate to ride our spots. We keep them out for their own good. If people can ride and have manners, that is fine; but if they can’t or don’t …who needs them. If people can’t take care of themselves, somebody else will. Once somebody screws up your trip, it becomes your business.

Some observers have characterized you and your friends as being highly aggressive. What do you think about that?
It’s true. That’s what we’ve laid on them; it’s how we taught them we are. When the boys are together, you could never find a more aggressive, arrogant, rowdy, perhaps ignorant bunch of people than me and my friends. That’s just the way we are; that’s the way we skateboard; that’s the way we talk…party…surf…travel…you name it. We don’t really get the whole group together too often though., because we usually end up getting in some kind of trouble.

Would you say this aggression helps your skating?
It is our skating.

When you guys go to an alien pool (not one of your regular spots), how do you react to the people that are there; how do you check them out?
I don’t notice them; it’s like they’re not even there. I just skate. They can act the way that they want to…I just react to my friends…not to them, because I don’t know them, and I don’t want to come off to them in the wrong way.

Do you ever get into the competitive aspect in a pool-perhaps with people you have never seen before?
Whenever you step into a pool, it’s a total competitive atmosphere. It’s within ourselves, though. It’s an unspoken sort out thing, like with Biniak, Stacy, Muir and those cats, it’s a good feeling; we keep pushing each other higher and higher. But it’s only between ourselves. I just skate and don’t talk bullshit. I’m not into talking a bunch of trash. I just do my thing and don’t say a thing. Seeing is believing. That’s the way it is. If someone shows you something, then you KNOW he’s worth listening to. As for as other people we don’t know, our attitude is, let’s blow these guys away; let’s just get so radical and get down so badly that these guys are going to want to split, or just sit down and watch and not get in our way.

Does that ever happen?
It happens all the time .We can go to a pool that guys have been riding for eight months and still blow them away, because we draw lines that they’ve never seen before, do different things. We’re spontaneous and they aren’t. They have to work on it and make it a pattern, while we just choose a new movement and blend in with it…flow with it.

Do you ever get in beefs over your attitudes?
Not usually. People who are really into skating are cool. They respect our abilities and we respect theirs. Going for it is what it’s all about; everyone knows it. If some guy does a number about how he’s better than me, or something…who cares; that doesn’t bother me at all. Now if some guy starts pushing, and says like Hey get out of my pool, that’s different, then he’s hassling me. If people get heavy and try to push me around, then there is gonna be some punching, but nobody’s gonna beef over some petty ego thing. None of my friends would lower themselves to that level. When you are out skating, and meet other people into skating, you draw your lines, lay down your trip, and they do likewise. You test each other out, show what you know. If you dig their scene and they dig yours, then you end up friends.

Are you conscious of style when you skate?
I’m conscious of it, but not self-conscious of it. It comes natural to me through all of the years I have surfed. I adapt my surfing style into my skateboarding, ‘cause in my mind, what I am doing is surfing on land. Surfing is the basis of my technique. Surfing and skating to me are skin tight, both together.

When you draw lines in a pool or on a bank, are you thinking about the lines that you lay down? How far do you plan ahead, if at all?
I plan the first move or so, and the rest just comes naturally…they’re all surfing lines anyway-frontside, backside, off-the-lip, cutback, etc. Sometimes I’ll plan my whole move if I’m trying something over and over, but generally I draw a line, hit the first move and react off it. I forget about what I am doing, and it becomes instinctive; it doesn’t matter. A different thing every time keeps you from getting bored. In surfing, each wave is different, while in skateboarding, the surface is always the same, that’s the advantage and disadvantage of it. In surfing, the constant changes keep you aware; while in skateboarding, you can hit the same move in the same place constantly. So in skating, on the one hand you can easily comprehend what’s coming down; but on the other , it can become stagnant. You are the mover in skateboarding, you have the energy, you have to keep working it to keep it fresh and new.

Do you change your approach to bank riding in a contest situation?
Yes. In Carlsbad, I had a planned routine for both banked and flatland freestyle. I don’t like to do that, but you have to have a set routine to win. You can’t look like you’re ad libbing; you can’t appear to just take things as they’re coming, the judges don’t dig that. You have to look planned out and well rehearsed, but keep it loose and flowing. The moves must connect and merge; a stiff, jerky coordination isn’t happening. For the contest, I set up a framework of the main objectives and then worked it around the variables.

What are the basic governing factors in your approach to skating? What do you strive for?
Speed and control.

What sort of equipment do you use?
I have my old standby Torger Johnson, and I’m working with a new 30” kicktail design for all-around skating. I’m making them with a nice round plan shape, with routed wheel wells, and they are really light. They are something you can use for anything-pools, slalom, banks, speed and freestyle. It’s excellent for getting vertical and cranking super tight turns. For wheels, I’m into road Riders, mostly 4’s and 6’s. I like Half Tracks and Bennett Pros for trucks, and generally use an open-cased precision bearing.

What are your favorite spots?
The keyhole is the best pool I’ve ridden. It had plenty of room to push, and had a perfectly round 13-foot bowl, good surface, lots of vertical. Bellagio is probably my favorite bank. The skyline pit has good steep walls, good for getting rad. Let’s see…the pipe was always fun. There are some other great ones, but I really can’t talk about them or say where they are.

Who are your favorite skaters?
Bobby Biniak, Jay Adams, Baby Paul Cullen, Stacy Peralta, James Muir, Wentzle Ruml, Torger Johnson. For overall, I’d say Torger. For my side of town, I’d say Biniak, and for the down-south style, Brad Logan.

What are the high points of your skating career?
(Laughing) The high points? All-night sessions at the Concourse, midnight el rollos at the Pipeline, and skating the Soul Bowl during the lunar eclipse.

What are the low points of your skate career?
Ripoffs. Contests in general.

Ripoffs? Do you feel that you’ve been exploited?
Yeah, a lot.

Does that bother you?
Yeah, that’s why I did something about it. Now I’ve got a lawyer and an agent to back me up. Before, people took advantage of me and of a lot of other kids ‘cause we didn’t know any better. Times are changing; we are learning fast. If I’m the first one to do something about it, then that’s going to further the sport.

Do you consider yourself a professional?
Yes, I do. Totally professional…thoroughly.

I don’t do anything for free
I’m starting to, and it’s going to get better. I’m not able to discuss that quite yet.
How do you think the whole pro thing is developing?

It’s improving, but it’s happening slowly. Two years ago, you got a skateboard or pair of wheels for winning a contest. Now you win money; not a lot, but enough for you to keep going for a little while.

What kind of future do you envision for professional skateboarding?
In my mind, I always keep the positive image that it will become as big as say tennis or golf. Maybe not as big as football, ‘cause football is a blood sport, and people dig to see that stuff. Skateboarding is a blood sport, too but in competition you don’t see any blood, ‘cause skaters are such perfectionists they usually don’t fall. Once they start making bigger, more demanding tracks, you’ll start drawing more people. As things start to get hairy instead of lightweight and piddly, people will start to notice.

You’d push it for money?

How far?
As for as it’s safe for me.

How far is that?
I haven’t seen the limit yet. No one’s yet shown me anything made for the purpose of skateboarding that would psych me from trying it and laying down my lines. I haven’t seen anything that heavy yet.

How about in the wild environs?
The heaviest thing so for is the pipe.

How for did you push it there?
As far as it would let me. I ended up jumping from the roof a lot of times…but still the times that I did make it, I pushed it as far as I could.

What are your feelings about contests?
I don’t dig them in particular. I just enter to keep in touch with what’s going on. Also, there is where the money is. Right now, if you’re into making money, you’ve got to win the contests.

What was your favorite contest?
The La Costa Summer Contest.

What was your least favorite contest?
It would be hard to pick one out, there have been so many.

What do you think the major problems are at a contest?
Equipment malfunctions. Brain malfunctions on the part of the officials.

Do people cheat in contests?

Are the rules applied evenly in contests?
No. Some people get away with infractions of the rules. Other guys are bitchers…little crying babies always looking for the loopholes, trying to screw the other guy and get by him. I won’t mention any names here; everyone knows who they are.

Jim Goodrich

How are you treated by promoters at a major meet?
Your team sponsor usually takes care of you. The people who run the contests generally don’t do much. Contestants should be treated better since we are promoting the contest just by being there. We’re putting our asses on the line and not getting shit for it. The people who are putting on the contests don’t have their shit together enough to make the skateboarders look like they have their shit together, and everyone loses. It’s gonna be up to the people with the money to get it together with the skaters right now, or it’s all gonna slip away.

Do you feel that you’ve been treated fairly by promoters?
No, not yet…they might someday.

What would you consider fair treatment?
To pay me for my talent, and not waste my time.

What sort of psychological conditions do you find among the competitors at a major meet. What are the vibes all about?
My friends and I all have very positive attitudes. We feed on the frenzy and hype each other up. I guess we tend to be a bit rowdy. The guys with the positive approach are the only ones I really know. Some of the other people are shying off, just hiding on the edges in their shells. They act like they are afraid of you.

Do you have any fear in a contest situation, fear of other people?
No. I don’t fear any of those people; they can’t do anything to me.

Could You do anything to them?
Yes, I could do a lot to them.

Do they know it?
Yeah, I think that they do. It’s not just me personally that scares them. It’s more the other people I know who think the same way I do. They seem to be afraid of what we think, of what we represent.

What suggestions do you have for the improvement of contests?
First off, before they can improve, they’ve got to be able to pull off the ones they put on now. The last contest I was in was so un-together they lost my time during one of the final runs for the slalom event. On this particular run, the guy I’m racing posts the fastest time, the one that wins him first, while they have no time for me. Things like that just aren’t professional. They’ve got to get the equipment and the officials together; the rules must be set up and applied evenly, in all instances and for all persons. In general, I think having more all-around contests would be much better. It would put everyone through their paces, and separate the one-event specialists from the skaters. I’d also be up for straight bank and pool contests. Sooner or later, one of the parks is going to have to build a pool-like situation. If they don’t, we’ll have to do it. Right now there is a lot of energy in pool riding, yet the promoters just ignore the competitive possibilities of it. For courses in slalom, I think a run at least a quarter-of-a-mile long with banks and curves would get things moving. For banks, just take the best skate park you find and blow it up five or ten times, and you’d have a good bank setup. A contest in that environment would be like having a surf contest in big waves. Anyone can squeak by on the smaller banks; it’s the bigger ones with speed that can kick your ass. A contest at the Pipeline would also be a lot of fun. They could have events for both speed and style; upside slalom gates would be a gas.

You have attracted a lot of mass-media coverage lately; what is that like?
The commercial ones are fine. You satisfy the director or whatever, and they satisfy you with payment. Everybody works together and everybody profits. A lot of the other newspaper and magazine people really try to use you. They want to attract interest to themselves through you…your trip becomes a vehicle for them. They have no interest in being honest or accurate; they just want their idea of a good story. The surf and skate media people are a lot better. They are a very different sort of media people. They’re much more into having a good time than just business. They take it easier, also they know what it’s all about.

Do you practice specific contest events?
No, I just skate like usual. Occasionally I might run gates or do a flat freestyle just for a trip…something else to do. I definitely don’t have a training program or anything like that, though.

What about barrel jumping?
(Laughing) I never practice barrel jumps. If they are there in a contest, I’ll jump ‘em…why not, it’s fun and you can make it.

How did you prepare for the Carlsbad Contest? Did you have any specific strategy?
I stayed up in Hollywood prior to the contest. I skated the “Pit,” worked with the designers who were making my outfit for the contest…let’s see, what else…just hung out on Sunset, hung out at the Roxy, saw rock and roll bands and generally had a good time. My only strategy was to go as fast as I could and keep it all loose as I could.

What was the trip on your uniform?
I wanted to look different; I wasn’t into wearing the typical surf rat costume-the trunks, T-shirt and jock socks. I wanted a professional appearance, something new and different. What we came up with was part rock ‘n roll mixed with the Franz Klammer effect. It was a functional, form-fitting, stretchable, lightweight suit designed specifically for skateboarding. If other people would dress up and clean up their acts , the sport would look more pro and classy. You know, class among gruel. Right now everyone looks the same. I was just trying to set a new standard, to impress people outside of the sport, to show them it was more than just a bunch of kids skating around, to help them enjoy the skateboarder as a professional entertainer and athlete.

Are you going to continue in the specialized uniform direction?
For sure. Right now Nudies in North Hollywood is designing up my whole new ensemble. This one’s really going to be different; it might blow some minds.

Does heavy press or TV coverage at an event bother you?
Not really, as long as they realize that it’s a contest, and they stay out of the way.

Do you like skating around cameras?
It’s fun; you draw the lines and come really close, playing hit and miss with them. It’s double timing, yours and the photographers. If they are fast, there’s no problem; if they’re slow, well (laughing) then you bang their heads. The good photographers don’t really get in the way though.

Do you feel that media keeps up with the state of the art?
No way; the level advances upward too rapidly. Live television would be the only up-to-date way To cover it. Live TV matches would stimulate public interest and awareness. People outside of skateboarding have no idea of what’s going on.

Jim Goodrich

Have people acted any differently towards you since you’ve gained recognition?
Some people, not a lot. Most people don’t know who I am, so I’m just another person on the street. Except the other night at the Starship concert, it was kind of weird. I’m friends with their lead Craig Chaquico, through skating. I’ve been a few times with him and some of the Starship roadies. Anyway, Craig invited some friends and I to go with to the concert. We’re standing backstage at the Forum with our passes, and some guy stops us, so we talk to him, and finally somebody who is a bigger person in the command chain clears us again. So they escort us onto the stage area, and we’re sitting there, and some other guy hassles us. We get cleared again, but the same scene keeps happening again, say three or four more times, you know. . . hassled, cleared, hassled, cleared. We’re in the process of splitting, ’cause the whole scene isn’t worth the stress, when the original guy who OK’d us spots us, stops us, and gets everything together. The head guy takes us back onto the stage, and finally everyone understands that we are supposed to be there. Finally the guys who had been hassling us says, “who are you, anyway, man?” So I tell him my name, not like it’s any big thing, and they go, “Oh, Tony Alva, why didn’t you tell us?” You know, shit like that. All of a sudden, it’s a totally different trip. We are being treated like we’re part of the band. Me, Bunker and our chicks are on stage for the show, just sitting on the amps, watching the scene. It was like you’re nobody until you’re proven somebody. The Starship has so many people surrounding them, it’s hard to get through to the main people.

Do you have people surrounding you yet?
No, I don’t want any; I don’t need any. I just hang with my friends.

What are the advantages of being known?
It opens doors, meeting people, those sort of things.

What are the disadvantages?
Loss of privacy. People that don’t understand what you want and trying to work you for what they want. Plain rudeness through jealousy.

Did you ever figure that you would be World Champion?
Ever Since I started skateboarding, I had it in my mind that I could be World Champion.

Is your skateboarding trip together?
It’s at the ability level that I want. It always is until I improve…then it’s at a new level. It continually changes.

What do you think you’ll get out of being World Champion?
(Laughing) Money, exposure, maybe travel opportunities.

Have you gotten a lot of offers since you won the title?
I haven’t really been around…besides I let my business people take care of business.

Where have you been?
Hiding out.

From the pressures.

Where are the pressures coming from?
From people who don’t know where I am; it started after I won. I went home to see my friends and do some real skating. The other people I shine on, don’t really pay any attention.

What kind of music do you like?
All kinds…rock, reggae, a little bit of soul, R & B…groups like AWB, Boz Skaggs, Zeppelin, Stones, Hendrix, Ted Nugent, Starship.

Does the music influence you?
Music? Yeah, a lot. When I skate, it’s towards the Nugent, Hendrix, Zeppelin style. Totally full-out radical, but having a purpose in being that radical, and carrying through with it. Just making it flow with what you’re doing, the same way they do. Their music flows with what they want to tell people. I usually skate with a song in my mind.

Do you see parallels between skate stardom and rock ‘n roll stardom?
It’s almost exactly the same thing, except the skaters aren’t making nearly as much money right now. It’s similar in the way people respond towards you, in the kind of people it takes to be a rock star or a skate star, the kinds of things either group likes to do when they aren’t skating or playing music. Both music and skating are ways of getting high.

What do you think of girls in skateboarding?
I really dig it, like to see it. . . hate to see them fall and get hurt, though. I respect girls who get into skating ’cause they have to go out and compete against the best guys just to be able to skate. You have got to hand it to any girl who will put up with that radical sort of nature that’s common to skateboarding.

You’re part Indian; what tribe?
Hopi, which is a peaceful India…super peaceful.

Do you relate to your Indian Heritage?
Yes, they were here before anybody else was. I can feel that. They were just like the Hawaiians are now. They have had their troubles with people taking things from them and putting them where they want them. I’ve learned about the inner peace from them. I think they decided to just kick back, and do whatever they want, man…’cause that’s the only way that anything’s going to happen, ’cause they know they can’t go out and start killing people, ’cause that will only make it worse…where if they just cruise all day, maybe they will be happy until they die.

What do you plan to be doing in ten years, or five years, or two months? Do you plan ahead?
Lately I’ve been living from day to day. When I have more money, I’ll start looking towards the future; I’ll have to. Not having much money, you don’t have to worry about it. Once you’ve got it, you have got to try to keep it.

Do you see money as a hangup?
I know it is, it’s one of the biggest hangups in the world.

What are your immediate plans?
I’m going back to the islands to ride some good waves, visit with friends and skate a little.

How was it last year?
I dug the juice. I ended up staying with Rabbit and Howzit Howie, Michael Hopper, Jack McCoy; Ian and Owl were all living around there too. We raged all of the time. The Australians had an excellent attitude. Their attitude about surfing is the same as our attitude about skating-they’re into doing anything and everything that’s radical and new. Going for it just because it’s radical, make it or not.

What surf spots did you like most?
Velzyland, Laniakea, Off-the Walls, and Sunset.

What skate spots?
Stoker Hill and Wallos were my favorites. There were a lot of good unnamed drainage ditches…always dry, good for skating.

What skaters impressed you most?
Aborigine and Gary Owens. Owens is insane; he never wears shoes, and takes off on these completely vertical walls that are not rounded at the bottom. Owens goes straight down, free falls into the flat, and absorbs the shock with his body. He rides as steep of walls as I have ever seen. He’s got no fear…a really good guy. I’m sure he’s totally unreal now. While I was there, we would only skate during the flat spells. There are a lot of kids who could be unreal skaters. They have certainly got the ability, but they are so much into surfing they hardly ever do it.

Do you ever get into any hassles in the Islands?
I try to be friends with everyone. I never had any trouble except for those fucking mainland haoles. They push their weight around and have really bid mouths. The locals were super cool; I got along fine with them. In fact, a couple of times these fucking haoles tried to beef me, and the locals backed me up. Me and da bros punch their lights good man! Dem haoles try beef me no more.

Any views on the upcoming Hawaiian surf season?
It’s the year of the axe. If the haoles don’t mellow out, there’s gonna be some heavy beefing. I think the local boys may start taking it.

Do you worry about your public image?
No, I just try to be myself.}

What is the worst band you’ve ever heard?
(Laughing) It’s hard to say, there are so many shitty ones…how about the Osmands…

How do you think this interview will affect you?
Not much. It might blow some people away, ’cause they don’t even understand, but my friends will like it, laugh with it. Of course, if I was just talking with my friends, it would be a lot different.

How so?
(Laughing) Well…they wouldn’t even print it.

Any general advice for the skating public?
Yeah, learn to skate a pool before you do anything else. Keep skating; have fun.

Thank You: http://www.tonyalva.com


3 thoughts on “Tony Alva’s First Interview To Skateboarder Magazine 1977

  1. Steven Marchand 07/06/2014 — 2:52 am

    Hadn’t read this before, but it was really spot on to my impression of Tony at the time. A kid jus’ doin’ his thing on his own terms. Our things crossed paths one evening at Carlsbad by way of one of the snake runs. I just started chasing some kid with good lines. I think he might of looked back a couple of times surprised to see some east county lookin’ dude in Levi Big Bells rippin up his ass. I was just havin fun. Later someone said “Do you know who that was?” I didn’t but the kid was fast and I was havin’ a blast. Now years later i’m skating with some of my daughters friends and I’m thinking “these kids got no style, they just want to bomb”. My point? Guess I was just lucky rippin’ around from spot to spot sucking in a little aura of all the legends. To realize it as a contribution to a(mine) healthy mindset feels good. So just wanted to say thanks to all of those who pushed and continue to push on. Late-


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