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Brad Bowman is widely recognized as one of the most stylish skateboarders of the late 1970s. His appearances on the pages of Skateboarder magazine ripping backyard pools and skateparks comprise some of the most memorable and beloved photos of that time period. Brad’s first metal-wheeled skateboard ride–in Indiana in the mid-1960s–lasted less than 10 seconds and ended with a bloody elbow and a hipper. A few years later, living in Corona Del Mar, California, Brad passed a toy store window display containing a clay-wheeled Super Surfer inlaid with beautiful exotic wood. Soon thereafter, he talked his mom into getting him one.
Although Brad loved riding the streets and hills of Corona Del Mar, his mother got a job that moved them up to the San Fernando Valley. There, Brad fell hard for motocross and BMX, and skateboarding briefly took a back seat. But soon enough, he met a pack of local skaters who became his crew at daily sessions in the valley’s numerous ditches, banks, and pools. Another move to Reseda accelerated Brad’s skating career, as his new school was located just three minutes from the Skatercross, which became his second home and advanced stomping grounds.
All of the top pros ripped the vertical snake run at Skatercross, stoking the local groms with varied lines. Photographers Stan Sharp and Bill Sharp, Jim O’Mahoney, Jim Goodrich and Hugh Holland captured images of Brad’s impeccable style that made the pages of skateboard magazines worldwide. This was the fuel that kept Brad fired up to excel and gain sponsorship. West Valley Surf Shop owner Glen Kennedy added Brad to his team, and many high-profile sponsors soon followed, including G&S, Gullwing, Independent, Kryptonics, Val Surf, and Sims, who awarded his talent with several pro model decks. In 1979, Brad, along with Steve Olson and Salba, was among the first to introduce punk rock to skateboarding. After his pro career ended in 1981, Brad became a hair stylist.