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Venice Skate Park

Corey Wilson


Behind the Shot

Venice Beach, California, is widely considered the birthplace of modern skateboarding. Skateboarding had been around in California since the 1950s, when surfers attached roller skate wheels to smaller wooden versions of their surfboards to “sidewalk surf.” The literal reinvention of the wheel in 1973 changed skateboarding. The introduction of urethane wheels improved performance on asphalt and cement, which ushered in faster rides and more control. The era of what we consider “modern” skateboarding began.

In 1976, a devastating drought hit Southern California. Officials ordered that no swimming pools could be filled, leaving tens of thousands of backyard pools across Southern California empty and dry. No one knows exactly who was the first to drop into an empty pool was, but Venice’s Z-Boys were the first to be recognized for the pioneering aerial tricks associated with “bowl” skateboarding.

In 1999, professional and amateur skaters began to lobby local officials to build a world-class skate park to honor the legacy of skateboarding, and to reinforce Venice Beach as the home of modern skateboarding. In 2009, the world-class, 16,000-square-foot, $2.4 million park was opened to the public.

Corey visited the park just after sunset, with the ocean mist softening the scene. “It was late summer, when the beaches sometimes stay foggy all day. This was one of those days. The softness of the scene was really appealing to me, and I loved the shapes and lines in the park.”