Bird’s Eye

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Photo eBook Video Preview: AXLES AND AIR – Skateboarding 1978 – 1980 (Old School Skateboard Photos)

The photo eBook:  AXLES AND AIR — Skateboarding 1978 – 1980
is available at

C.R. Stecyk III delivered words and images from his world to ours in the pages of Skateboarder Magazine. We, like many skaters throughout the world, took his stories and made them our own.

Carved in concrete on the corner of the block I grew up on are the words T-Boyz, D-Town, and Alva. Etched alongside these words is a cross with the initials DT below it and the date 3-10-78. This is about the same time the earliest of these pictures were made.

These photographs document the skate scene in Tacoma, WA (U.S.) from 1978 to 1980. Inspiration came from 1,100 miles south of us but our world had little in common with what we saw in the magazine. Physical geography and the built environment dictates any practice one endeavors and skating is no exception. Los Angeles had the pools, parks, and ditches — we had the street, loading dock banks, and the wooden ramps we built.

Southern California’s drought gave birth to pool riding. The Puget Sound finds itself blanketed in a gray overcast about 225 days annually and 150 of those deliver rain. This climate turned our ramps & halfpipes into weather-beaten sparring partners.

These images are a glimpse into my formative years — a time when skating was beneath the radar of society, and a time when the word “rad” actually meant something.

Steve McElrath

September, 2013


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Mark Wand — Marginal Way Skate Park – Seattle 2013


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The Evergreen State — 2013


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Almost Dawn – Tacoma, WA — 2009


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Entrance – Tacoma, WA — 2013


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Bridge Jumpers – Southern Oregon — 1992


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3-D Litter – Tacoma, WA — 2013


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Drain – Damp Harbor — 2013


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