Barry Walsh interviewed in issue 1 of the 1977 magazine Skateboard Scene

Barry Walsh as interviewed in issue 1 of the magazine “SKATEBOARD SCENE” – the radical read for radical riders (45p) – by Willie Samson.

We kick off our first issue with Barry Walsh’s interview. Barry isn’t the slalom champ of Bexhill. Nor did he invent a new hydrolastic nylon bearing to revolutionise the world’s wheel design. Barry can ride a board, but he admits he’s no ace. He hasn’t the time to practice. Because he spends every spare minute and a lot that aren’t spare working in the interests of skateboarding. He’s the chairman of the first non-profit making organisation in British riding, the Skateboard Association (BSA).

Barry Walsh is a trim young guy of about twenty-five (in 1977). A journalist by profession, his official title is Research Press Officer of the British Safety Council. When I spoke to him, he was on his way to an afternoon session with the DJ’s of London’s Capital Radio he was organising a Safe Driving Week which involved him starting work at 5.30 am and working through till 6.00 pm. Then he started his normal duties… Nevertheless, he somehow found time to talk to ‘Skateboard Scene’ about his involvement in the sport, his view of its future and his fears regarding its commercialisation by unscrupulous businessmen.

 

WS How did you first become aware of skateboarding as a ”sport”

BW l used to do some football coaching in the evenings and suddenly kids started turning up at the ground on skateboards. That was about eighteen months ago. It sort of seized my interest from the start. Then, because I was working for an organisation which promoted safety, I couldn’t help noticing the outcry of certain other bodies against the sport. There’d been twelve or so deaths in the USA and that caused a lot of adverse criticism over here. I thought it was unjustified criticism.

WS You don’t feel that skate board riding is dangerous?

BW It’s like anything else. It’s dangerous if it isn’t properly controlled. The deaths in the USA were the result of traffic accidents 7 kids riding the wrong gear in the wrong place and coming into confrontation with lorries etc. There’s nothing intrinsically dangerous about skateboarding that education can‘t put right.

WS So you felt that ROSPA’s attempts to ban skateboarding were wrong.

BW Yes, but I don’t want to knock ROSPA. Since they’ve understood that riding is a real sport, they’ve been great. You can’t blame them for getting uptight in the early days. Remember that the first safety equipment hit the market about a year after the first board. That’s a frightening gap. It was irresponsible of the manufacturers and importers of boards to allow that situation to develop. The horror stories from America made things worse, parents got worried and the sport suffered. Skateboarding was just a street mess a dangerous rip-off.

WS How did the BSA first begin?

BW Well. (Walsh is a modest man – Ed.) Er, in my capacity as an official of the British Safety Council, I was made officially aware that skate-boarding existed and that it was potentially dangerous if the right influences weren’t exerted from the start. So l organised a general meeting of the interested parties at the Sports Council HQ in London. There were manufacturers present and riders and clubs and importers. And it was agreed that some sort of governing body was required to steer the development of the sport. A couple of guys – Vince Fitzgerald of The Source and Arthur Howard of Skatopia – volunteered themselves as chairmen.

Bristol Skateboard Centre in 1977

Bristol Skateboard Centre was a magnet for West Country skateboarders in the late 1970s. They stocked a good range of brands like Bennett, Hobie and Alligator Wheels. Some of the boards on display in the photo of the shop look pretty long. Precursors to today’s longboards?

Profile of 1970s US skateboard star Mike Weed

Mike Weed was one of the great all-round American skateboarders of the 1970s and some say the most photographed around the US circuit. His style and balance drew cameramen to him. They knew where to go for the best action shots.

Fitness, Mike feels, was the key to his success. He spent literally hours a day perfecting his mind-blowing tricks. To him, walking the dog was like he was ripping it out of a machine gun! Given half a chance though he’d pick his way along to more radical terrains. Genuine pools and pipe-lines were attractions he simply couldn’t resist, even though he was the first to admit that skateparks were the greatest thing to happen to skateboarding since the development of the urethane wheel. Mike Weed demonstrated safety techniques and tested new products when working for Hobie. Whilst at home this 18-year-old (in 1977) skate-star got off on his guitar playing and a mania for good organic food.

Here are some of Mike Weed’s contest results, as listed in 1977 by the UK Skateboarder magazine:
1st place. Arizona State. Pro Free-style1975;
3rd place. LA Costa. Pro Slalom;
3rd place. Long Beach World Contest. Pro Free-style;
3rd place . Carlsbad World Contest. Bowl Riding:
lst place. Carlsbad World Contest. Flatland Free-style. l975;
1st place. Pro Free- style A Ventura State Championship:
1st place. Pro Free-style 7 Northern California. Pro-Am;
1st place. Pro Free-style 7 Belmont South Bay Open;
2nd place. Pro Free-style – Long Beach World’s Invitational.
Film Roles: Goin’ Surfin’, Downhill Motion and the award-winning film The Magic Rolling Board. Five Summer Stories, Mike also featured in a TV soft drink commercial.

This was re-worded from an article in 1977 Skatboarder magazine.

RIP Mike Weed 1958-2014

The £15 Coyote precision engineering vintage skateboard ad

This ad for the budget Coyote complete skateboard from 1977 shows a board that many who had saved their pocket money for a skateboard, but couldn’t afford to build one from individual components, would end up buying. This model probably shifted a few units during the 1970s UK skateboard craze because of its low price. So enjoy this bit of nostalgia…

thecoyotepennyskateboard197