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The Beginning of Santa Cruz Skateboards and the Birth of an Industry

As told by Richard Novak, co- founder of NHS/Santa Cruz Skateboards

“In 1973, my partners Doug Haut, Jay Shuirman and I sold fibreglass raw materials to surfboard shops, Boat makers and guys that made fairings for race cars and tomato carriers. We sold this guy a bunch of pultruded fibreglass sheet material. He burned us, so we went back and picked it all up from him. A the same time, a friend of ours, Jimmy Hoffman, was living in Hawaii, and on a surf trip over there, the McCully Bike Shop people in Honolulu asked us if we could make and sell them some skateboards. We were already making surfboard fins so it was easy for us to make some skateboard decks from all this left over fibreglass material. We made 500 skateboards, with loose ball bearings, urethane roller skate wheels and roller skate trucks, and they sold out immediately. We built another 500 boards and they sold out, too. Overnight we were in business. Then in late 1974 this guy Tony Roderick came into our surf shop with a revolutionary idea of blending a precision bearing, used in copy machines, with a urethane wheel. We helped him tweak it a bit so it would work, and thus spawned the Road Rider Wheel. From that day forward the Road Rider Wheel and precision bearing changed skateboarding forever. Also at that time, Ron Bennett developed the Benet Truck, while G&S had the fibreflex board. We all ran into each other in L.A. at the Hang Ten contest in 1975 and said, OK, we have skateboard wheels and bearings. We have skateboard trucks. We have composite skateboard decks. The three main components are now all leading edge and designed specifically for skateboarding. Now we have a real skateboarding industry. This group was Bill Bahne, Jay Sherman, Brian Logan, Dave McIntyre, Dave Dominy, Paul Sims, Ron Bennet, a couple of guys from Skateboarder magazine and me. We were interested in setting the foundation of an actual skateboard industry, not reliant on anyone but ourselves. We wanted to support pro riders, promotion and advancement in technology. Before that, it was just a fad. After we set it all up, it was an actual industry. And here we are today – NHS is still rolling 40 + years later, always innovating and always having fun.”

– Richard Novak