The South Bay gave birth to surfing when Hawaiian native George Freeth shared and taught the sport in Redondo Beach in the Summer of 1909. A few decades later Body Glove International, LLC had developed the first practical surfing wetsuit.The company was founded in 1953 by brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell.
This invention took place in the back of the iconic Dive N’ Surf shop in Redondo Beach. The wet suit would not be their only invention. The brothers were first to begin experimenting with fiberglass shells.
Many iconic surfing traditions were born in the South Bay. Dewey Weber surfboards and Hap Jacobs, much of the innovation that is today’s surf board came from our geography.
And it didn’t stop there. Skateboarding was transformed in the 70’s with the end of the metal and clay wheels. Originally created in 1963 in Santa Monica and Makaha Surf, the introduction of the Urethane soft wheel would make sidewalk surfing an experience attainable by the willing.
The wheel was called Cadillac in 1973, and all the local kids demanded Cadillac wheels.
It was not long before companies began to innovate like Kryptonite in Hawthorne, and the Ty Stick board out of Hermosa Beach surf shop Unity. It was not long before other local surf shops began to see the cross over opportunities with sidewalk surfing.
It would not be long before skate parks began to pop up. No doubt inspired by the boys down the beach in Venice. The Dog Town Boys were always looking for empty pools to ride while risking danger with the law. In fact, really the sport was born there.
But the surf vibe always has belonged to the South Bay and is why much of the growth came from our towns. Torrance would build Skateboard World as seen above in the photo, and Carson would build the Runway. Which boasted of its very large 20′ “pool’.
These parks began poppling up all over Wouthern California. But it would not be long until the lawsuits began flowing through. And as fast as they came they went just as fast.
But the sport hung in there, and many cities sponsor parks. Alondra Park, Hermosa Beach, San Pedro, Gardena, Hawthorne, all have city sponsored skate parks.