It was 1975 when Hugh Holland happened across a gang of skateboarders cruising the drainage ditches of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, California. In awe of their finesse, Holland realized he had found the next subject of his photographic endeavors.
Holland captured images of the sport, along with its accompanying culture, until 1978. At this time, the sport was truly exploding. What was once a way for surfers to get through dry spells without waves was well on its way to becoming the nearly $5 billion merchandising empire it is today.
At around this time, high demand meant that skate parks started popping up all over California and the rest of the country. But high liability insurance rates meant that these parks struggled to stay open — and that illegally boarding in a neighbor’s empty pool became a popular alternative.
Before Holland bade adieu to skateboarding, he captured the careful choreography of Zephyr team (the Z-boys) members, including Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva and Jay Adams, at a time when every trick was new and entire days were spent honing skills under the golden California sun. For a little bit of perspective, all of these photos were taken before Alan Gelfund invented the maneuver called the “ollie” in 1978: