Dogtown And Z-Boys

Dogtown And Z-Boys


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The history of the Z Boys is the stuff of legend. If it wasn't for a young freelance writer/photographer, Craig Steyck, who flogged stories about them in the early Seventies, they would have been unknown to everyone except Californian aficionados.

Dogtown is the poor part of Santa Monica. "This was not the beach that people wanted to vacation in," one of the Z Boys remembers. It had the Zephyr surfboard shop, run by innovative young men, with revolutionary ideas on board design. They were anti-commercial, dedicated to the wave culture, serious guys with a purpose. Kids congregated there, with the result that surfing became better than homelife, which, for many was dysfunctional. A tribal, competitive attitude took hold. Tourists and strangers were discouraged from putting a foot in the water. They threw concrete at those who dared.

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In 1972, when new wheels were designed for skateboards, the Z Boys used techniques picked up from the surfers. They were extraordinary, skating without helmets or knee pads, invading empty swimming pools like backstreet bandits, brave and single-minded and uniquely talented.

They became a team, retaining their tribal unity, and competed in national competitions. Their stars were seduced away with lucrative contracts. The Z Boys broke up.

This documentary, created and edited by Steyck and Stacy Peralta, an ex-Z Boy, is an exhilarating insight into a moment in Californian history when some underprivileged kids broke the rules and did things on skateboards that had never been seen before. "It's not a sport," a skater recalls. "It's almost an art form."

It doesn't matter that one is in prison now, another dead, two more living in suburbia with families and sensible jobs. The dream may have passed, but no one can take away the record of what they achieved and how they shocked the established order with their renegade style.

Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2002
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Dogtown And Z-Boys packshot
Absorbing documentary about the birth of modern skateboarding, told by those who were there.
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Read more Dogtown And Z-Boys reviews:

Keith Hennessey Brown ***1/2
Gator MacReady ***

Director: Stacy Peralta

Writer: Craig Steyck

Starring: Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, Bob Biniak, Jay Adams, Shogo Kubo, Jim Muir, Peggy Oki, Glen E Friedman, Ian MacKaye, Henry Rollins

Year: 2000

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


EIFF 2001

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