Dogtown and Z-Boys

Dogtown and Z-Boys (Stacy Peralta, 2001)
Just as a bunch of The Beach Boys songs reminds us, California and surfing is the real thing. The History of skateboarding has everything to owe to surfing and its invention is in most part due to a derived product from the wave riding movement. In California a bunch of kids wanted to be the next champions of surfing but had to compensate for the lack of waves in their area with another standing sideways item. It was natural that they go to the four wheeled wood planks to fulfill their needs of sensations.
They were the Zephyr surfshop skating team formed of some of the legends to be of the likes of Tony Alva,  Jay Adams, Bob Biniak, Peggy Oki, Stacy Peralta, Wentzel Ruml, and many others. Their style, borrowed from their surfing idols, molded the basic tricks of the new sport, or subculture, that was gonna be skateboarding. Widely influential the Z-Boys traveled the world and some who had bigger egos and success like Alva while others become recognized film directors like Peralta. They left their mark on the sport and its culture.
Mixed with head interviews of the time the documentary was shot and archive images of the Zephyr films, this entertaining story of a young sport that never really caught on mainstream media is a must. In 2006, Peralta stated that there was more than a million DVDs and 700 000 VHS of the movie that were sold. It is really a success and proves that this documentary brings a little coverage on one of the many blind spots of history of the skateboarding world in general. It is so efficient that the author of those lines ordered the Blu-Ray when he finished his viewing.
The soundtrack is also a nice overview of the time era, but it is widely filled with songs that are well known and besides being solid songs it could have had some more underground bands of the era that could have helped create a particularly more counter culture accent to the whole film. It is, however, this critic’s opinion on music in general which I think is too mainstream to fit to the images of skateboarding in a backyard pool.
Being a skater for almost fifteen years now, I can’t kick myself more in the butt to not have seen this essential documentary. The conslusion of Dogtown and Z-Boys leads to one major issue: there is so much still to cover and document on the subject that I hope Stacy Peralta will live at least another hundred years to make more docs like this one. Recently, he released Bones Brigade about the team that he was on after he leaft the Z-Boys. It will be reviewed here along with STOKED : The Rise and Fall of Gator and Waiting For Lightning.
As a curiosity, who in my readers is a regular skater? Who has skated when he was younger?


  1. This is easily one of my all-time favorite documentaries. I just wish it was longer. It had a great soundtrack and some great backstory into the world of skateboarding that includes some fine narration by Sean Penn.

    It also features one of my all-time favorite sequences in the film in the skateboarding contest scene where all of those 60s skateboarders were doing lame tricks to 60s pop music and then... KAH-BLAM!!! The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" hits and it's go-time.

    1. It could last 2X or 3X longer and it would pass real quick! Penn's narration is also very good, not too present but just enough to get us through.

      I love this sequence, it shows just how bad those guys were for their time!

      Thanx for commenting!


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