While You Were Complaining About 42mm Wheels….

For how good the early 90s were there was somethings that weren’t. My first real skateboard was a Roskopp III and was about 10 inches wide. I was naive about shapes and sizes at this point, graphics were my selling point. With street skating coming in hot, boards started to morph into smaller and smaller shapes. After a while Mini shapes for kids that were 9 inches were considered normal sized. Boards started feeling a bit uncomfortable to a 6’4″ dude mashing around with a size 13 foot.

Vert was dying and street skating was almost throwing it in their face with how weird boards were getting. Football shaped boards were everywhere. Pinched noses and tails were a nightmare. We all rode them though because you couldn’t deny the direction and how everything was changing. It needed to, things were getting stale unless you asked Santa Cruz, Powell & Peralta, or Vision. They thought things were just fine. All this time boards just kept getting smaller.

By 93 it was hard to find a good board in any thing above 8 inches. The thought was a good board wasn’t from the above mentioned brands. You wanted a World board or anything from their camp. The problem was there weren’t any bigger Blind, Plan B, or 101 boards. 7.5 was what everyone wanted and then it seemed they were seeing who could make the smallest functional board. Grown men were riding 7.25 boards? It was a dark time.

I was lucky enough to meet a Pro Skater by the name of Ozzy Alvarez during a San Diego trip. He was sponsored by Zorlac and we hit it off immediately. He quit Zorlac to skate for Fish Lips and I started working there. We worked on shapes together and the wood shop would ruin them every time. Shortly after we both jumped ship to a new board company called Entity that was backed by Gullwing Trucks. There we worked with a real wood shop and it was a huge step up in quality. The small board craze was in full effect. These days you went to Pacific Drive and found boards with good shapes and traced them out on paper and then off to the wood shop to get sample shapes. You’d get a Mike Carroll nose with a Alphozo Rawls tail and write down the wheel base and figure it all out.

Through Entity I was able to make my own 8 inch shape with a Porno for Pyros graphics. It had a devil on it so Ozzy was down. I was into Jane’s Addiction so at the time I was all about Porno for Pyros. The board turned out rad with a yellow to orange fade. Ozzy doesn’t have one in his collection and I wish I could find one. Ozzy was good like that, he wanted to see his friends happy.

Years later and a few companies deeper, Ozzy always made sure to keep me stoked on what he had going on. I was eventually a TM for one of the companies he started. We had a good thing going and we are still great friends. These days I’m bringing him boards whenever I make the trip to LA. Never forget the people who did you right and you’ll never go wrong. -ERL


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