The Early Years

Custom Skateboard home Kirk's Home
The beginning;



Cadillac Wheels. Those beautiful clear yellow wheels. We wanted them. I still have my first cadillac blue tar wheels. Steel wheels were what we were replacing and the difference was amazing. Smooth, fast and real traction. You could still break them free and slide but they would grip as you turn and totally changed skateboarding. So we starting on our sidewalks and driveways. As we progressed we found asphalt roads, and cement ditches. And this was the start of the vertical movement for us. It was many years before we began to try to make our own ramps, after all we were in middle school still.

Bobby Huffman, his younger brother and I were close buddies who skated together as much as possible. We were fortunate that some new subdivisions and roads were being built near where we lived. Then we found the ditch beside US 90 near the Scenic Hills subdivision. The walls of the ditch were about 1 and half feet tall, much higher than most ditches, and our first experience of riding ditches. We weren't good but we were learning.

The University of West Florida was our other favorite spot. (See video)

We loved the ride the long winding hills throughout the University. At that time is was a small school and not very busy. We had hills to ride down, and the basketball courts to practice freestyle. Perfect smooth cement to practice nose wheelies, tail wheelies, one foot tail, two board tail, one foot nose, stacked board nose wheelies, 360's and jumps.

Then we could head down the sidewalk hills for a speed run and cool off. We would ride down under the registration buildings where there were small fish pools and neat tile floors. A couple of buildings had ramps going up to different floors we could ride. Our first challenge was to try to ride the asphalt walkway down the hill toward the nature trail. Fast, thin, and not real smooth. It was fun ride.

Lots of curbs to kickturn on and a few shallow ditches.

My first freestyle board was a double kick-tail aluminum board. I kept it for years. I think I might still have it but I can't remember who made it. It was very light but after dragging the tail doing wheelies and kickturns, it would be a dangerous weapon with a razor sharp edge. I had quite a few cuts from that board.

We found lots of places to skate at UWF. Over time the university began to expand so they built new sidewalks, roads, and buildings. Much of the campus was hilly so most of the new cements was great for skating. I may post a map, don't know how many other people skated alot there. There was a very steep sidewalk on the backside of the campus. This was in the time of thin boards and trucks so the boards weren't as stable, nor were we as skilled. I still remember steaking down that hill, the board beginning to shake like crazy and then flipping, rolling and totally clocking my head going down that hill. We would ride sidewalk to sidewalk doing freestyle then downhill riding for hours. Then back to the basketball courts to freestyle again. Ed lived right near the college on a nice road with a real steep valley type hill but the asphalt was a little rough. We spent many hours skating on his driveway and riding the curbs. We started high-school and I started meeting some new friends to skate with.

My boards

About this time I got my new freestyle aluminum "Bonzai" board. It was a great freestyle board but eventually I got a new Peralta board. It was longer and a little wider. We hadn't figured out that a really wide board and trucks would work better yet but we were getting the idea.

I was starting High School and Ed whom I had met skating moved to my school zone and we met at high school. I also had a class where I saw this guy bring a skateboard to school. He looked like the ultimate surfer dude, curly bleach blonde hair, tanned, and wearing surf t-shirts. It was funny how we would wear surf t-shirts to look cool, only certain shirts would do, the image had to be on the back with the shop logo on the front. You could tell the cheap knockoffs by the picture on the front. We started talking and the three of us became best friends. We would bring our boards to school and skate during PE time. We even skated through the halls a few times. This was the beginning of a great friendship between Ed, Rip and I. I remember one crazy class clown who borrowed my board when flying through the second floor of the main Tate High building, tried to turn into class and slid right into the door frame. BAM! Hilarious. I had to run grab my board and hide it in the bathroom so it wouldn't get taken away. This is about the time when me and Ed got the idea to build our own boards and Custom Skateboards was born. The picture to the right shows my Bonzai board and two of our Custom models. A long board with kicktail, and a freestyle/ramp board. Ed was the artist of the team. He had been learning to airbrush and would design the logos and images on the undersides of our boards. We sold a few from a sport store in Cordova Mall back then. Can't remember how many but I think it was only two or three.

A lot of new construction with asphalt roads were starting to be built. Any smooth asphalt we could find was a place to skate. This was pretty early for us so the idea of skating ditches and walls was still new. We would skate the ditch at Scenic hills and the curbs of streets but we didn't have much else. We would look for spots but not much was around the Ensley area of Pensacola. But we were learning to kickturn, nose and tail wheelies, and do 360's, 520's and 720's.

So we skated as much as we could at the university but we were always on the lookout for a new place to skate. About this time we began to hear about the 1st Baptist Church downtown. We called it Roadway cause it was next to the Roadway Inn Motel but it was really the Churches parking lot where most of the skating occurred. It was a great place to start. Long slight hills going across the parking lot and steeper hills and sloped driveways as you went down the road between the church and motel. It became as popular gathering place for weekend skating and eventually was the place for the first contests that I knew of in our area. Down hill racing, slalom, and freestyle were the main events. It soon became the favorite place to meet other skaters and have a great time. I spent most every Friday and Saturday afternoon and night there. I have just found more super8 movies from an early skate trip there when I was 14 with my friends Bobby and Tony Huffman. I will add the video here later. I am going to have the super8 film reconverted to digital video soon. Hopefully the quality will be better.We would have nose and tail wheelie contests, downhill nose and tail wheelie races, shoot the palm tree tube and go as fast down the hill as we could. At first we were dodging the cars and sometimes getting in trouble but then they started blocking off the roads for us on weekends and we could skate without worrying about getting killed. I don't have many pictures from this time but I will link to a few here. Ed collected quite a few newspaper articles that I will post here.

Skating was beginning to take off around the country and here in Pensacola and the stage was set for the end of the Early years and the beginning of the1st Baptist Church and Paved Wave area of Pensacola Skateboarding.

Click here to see more photos.


Just added two new videos Roadway Inn - 1st Baptist Church sometime around 1975

And The RatHole Pool

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