Zephyr Team: Icons Shaping Modern Skateboarding | KCET
Zephyr Team: Icons Shaping Modern Skateboarding
Jeff Ho is the embodiment of Venice surf and skate and in many ways can be considered one of the godfathers of modern skateboarding. At the 1975 Del Mar skateboard competition, Jeff Ho's skate team, Zephyr, broke onto the scene with progressive techniques born right out of the sea. The wasteland of the Venice amusement piers became a challenging course of broken timber and rebar jutting out of the ocean. The original POP pier was home to the likes of Nathan Pratt, Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Allen Sarlo and Peggy Oki who would surf during the day, and skate through the streets of Venice at night. With Skip Engblom and Craig Stecyk, Jeff Ho opened Jeff Ho Surfboards in 1971, providing refuge for the Zephyr skate team.
Numerous films have epitomized the story of Jeff Ho and the Zephyr team, however, his image portrayed is simply a facade. Ho shies away from the spectacle and cares nothing for infamy, sarcastically asking: 'What's Dogtown? What are the Z-Boys?' While he might come off as a street thug, rough around the edges, his interactions with Matt Smith, the newest addition to Zephyr, as well as long time member, Allen Sarlo, prove otherwise. To them, Ho is a father figure who's taken them under his wing, and set them straight. Whether or not you believe he's the real deal doesn't matter, because he just doesn't care. For him, it's all about surf and skate.
Surf and Skate
"Back in the fifties, there was a movie called Gidget. I saw that as a young kid and I said, 'wow, that's what I want to do, I want to surf.'"
Venice has not changed. I mean, it's landscape has changed, there's new paint on some of these buildings, certainly they've remodeled a little bit. It's changed its face a little bit.
Me being a little kid I used to get out of the water and as soon as you hit the boardwalk, you just ran home, ran as fast as you can because you didn't want to get mugged or beat up.
"I went over my friend's house for a Cub Scout party and he had an actual skateboard sitting there. I was able to ride them, I wasn't standing up on them, I was too afraid, I was just rolling around on my knees. From that instant I was hooked."