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Skateboarding 70's Style
photos by Lance Smith
by Kim Cespedes
posted 2005-07-16

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The seventies was a magical time for skateboarding. After years of being an underground sport for young kids with no drivers license, riding a skateboard soon found a lifestyle being built around it. Competition, ramps, hills, new styles, new equipment and a new way of riding.

Those involved with this emerging athleticism were some of the greatest names of the time on skateboards. Our friend and staff photographer, Lance Smith, was on the firing line those years and has the celluloid to prove it.

Photo by Lance Smith
Photo by Lance Smith

When we saw the shots that Lance put up for inspection, one jumped out and asked to be defined. It was a cool photo of young girl from the era. A young girl that was not only a red hot skater but a World Champion more than once. Her name is Kim Cespedes and she set the skate world on fire. From her landmark sponsorship with Tracker Trucks and Hobie to numerous articles and reviews in Skateboard World, Skateboarder Magazine, National Skateboard Review, to the events that she challenged all comers and then her first World Championships in 1975 at Del Mar's Skate Park.

She was one of the very best.

Kim was always known as a charger. She set the pace and others followed, both male and female. We caught up with Kim recently to ask about those days and how today's skaters hold up to the pros in the seventies. We think you'll find her thoughts illuminating.

-- Kendog

Kim Cespedes - Image of a Skater

Photo by Lance Smith
Photo by Lance Smith

The 70's as an Era
"The coolest thing about skating in this era, was knowing that all the skate moves we we're doing were really fresh. Another words, we we're inventing it as we went along. Knowing and seeing new moves for the first time, we we're all growing with the sport as it progressed. This is still present in today's skating, only difference is that skater's are doing much more radical maneuvers, on more intense levels. They also have huge arena's to perform in, as well as superior skate parks and ramps to excel in. Oh yeah, and the equipment available is insane too. It blows my mind to see what skaters are doing today."

Photo by Lance Smith
Photo by Lance Smith

"Huge difference. Today's equipment is superior, wheels are faster, trucks are stronger, and plenty of different board designs are available. The difference between the equipment, is that back in the 70's what we rode really dictated how we skated. In other words we we're more limited on what we could do, being equipment limited us in what we could do. Looking back now I am amazed at what we we're doing on crappy boards, and that says a lot. The other part of it was the maneuvers we're also being invented as we went along, as the equipment got better, so did we as skaters."

"I used Hobie boards and Tracker Trucks, various wheels. My racing skates we're made by Turner Summer Ski. Bobby Turner made my boards. Best racing boards ever. He made the reverse camber boards out of fiberglass and foam. I have a few vintage ones, they probably could sell on e-bay for some bucks...but I don't want to sell them because I'd never be able to replace them. BT passed away a few years back."

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