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Born in Long Beach, California, on August 7, 1945 (the day after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan) James O’Mahoney was responsible for creating the first true national skateboarding organization when he founded the U.S. Skateboard Association (USSA) in 1974. A few years later, he would also organize the first global equivalent with the World Skateboard Association (WSA). Through his work at the USSA, James helped promote the vast majority of national competitions from ’74 through the turn of the ’80s. In addition to his work promoting contests, James also founded and published Skateboard Magazine in 1975 (a few months before Skateboarder returned as a bi-monthly), for which he went on to assemble a team of skaters including Russ Howell, Gordy Lienemann, Steve Monahan and Tom Sims.
James was also the first to make a skateboarding safety film and a freestyle trick book. He set the world’s first records for the sport of skateboarding, including speed at Signal Hill, first bank and bowl, first vertical wall ride, first pipe past vertical, etc. A lifelong surfer, James began competing in surf contests in 1983, winning the West Coast Surfing Championships, now called the U.S. Open, among other placings. In 1992, he established the Santa Barbara Surfing Museum, where he continues to curate and exhibit his collection of surf / skate memorabilia today.