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Jeff Ho started building and riding skateboards in the 1950s, with discarded wooden planks and metal roller skate wheels. By the ’60s, he was perfecting his style, do-it-yourself aesthetic and revolutionary designs for surfboards and skateboards. Others took notice. By the ’70s, he opened his own storefront and workshop near Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California. The Jeff Ho Zephyr shop became ground zero for a community of like-minded surfers and skaters. From his humble beginnings, Jeff always prioritized community and his responsibility to serve it. Founding the Zephyr skateboard team was a natural part of the progression. Ocean Park was then the low-budget section of Santa Monica and home to artists, musicians, political activists, religious cults, and surfers and skaters. Zephyr sat in the middle of this potent cultural mix.
John Baldessari’s art studio shared an alley with Jeff’s workshop, the SLA had a safe house up the block, and Ceasar Chavez strategized during walks on the beach. Bob Dylan and Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers lived within a few blocks. It was a cultural center amidst a society in decay. This was perfect timing for Jeff Ho and the Zephry team to throw down. The Bahne-Cadillac Nationals at the Del Mar Fairgrounds was the their strike point. Within a few short hours in 1975, the Zephyr crew upended the nascent skateboard industry. They introduced a swagger that radically changed the direction of skateboarding, and thereafter, for a long time, skateboarding history was written in terms of before—or after—Del Mar. Jeff Ho is more than a designer, he’s the early architect of the attitude that has defined skateboarding ever since.