Dogtown As a concept has existed since the early 1970's. It was the birthplace of progressive skateboarding, Santa Monica/Venice, California. In the celebrated documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, Venice was a forgotten slum by the sea. Out of the wreckage of Abbot Kinney's dream town gone bad, roamed young surfers searching for outlets after the surf got blown out. They found it through an aggressive approach to skateboarding never seen before. Jim Muir, the founder of Dogtown Skateboards, was one of these kids. For nearly 30 years Dogtown Skateboards has been synonymous with hardcore skateboarding and has a hardcore loyal following.
Venice, California, circa early 1970's, a group of kids rode hand me down clay wheel skateboards, trying to emulate the surf moves of Larry Bertlemann, Buttons and Mark Liddell. They'd speed down the block, bombing the hills and running the stop signs at the bottom with reckless abandon. This group of surf /skate rats soon came to be known as the Zephyr Team. Being poor kids in a mixed ethnic neighborhood made them grow up fast. Low income backgrounds often lead to creativity and ingenuity by necessity. As the skateboard movement of the 70's became surf /skate and the Zephyr Team had imploded a partnership between 19 yr. old Jim Muir(Reddogg) and 21 yr. old Wes Humpston(Bulldog) came to effect.
In early 1977 Tom Sims(Sims Skateboards & Snowboards) made the first two laminated skateboards produced by a water-ski company. A good idea. At the time riding for Sims the two boards went to Reddogg and Bob Biniak. These boards were 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch thinner and half the weight of all other production boards. They were above and beyond the best boards they had ever ridden. At the time Jim went to tell Tom how good these boards were, he kicked Jim off the Sims team for having a Makaha Skateboard Club patch his mom had found at the Salvation Army and sewn it onto his shorts, and also said, ” these are too expensive to make”. A bad idea.
Bob rode his and gave it to Bulldog when he considered it worn out. Jim and Wes were skating these early laminates in pools and knew that these board's days were numbered. With no board sponsor and all production boards too heavy for pool riding, Jim decided to design his own pool board. He searched hardwood supply houses while working a summer construction job. This led him to experiment with different wood for a lighter board. He tried to recreate the lightweight high performance laminated board similar to what Sims had given him. He made a pool board that was even lighter. Wes had a go on it and the boys knew they were onto something.
These were the first hand made Dogtown boards. They didn't know it yet, but the Dogtown boards and graphics designed by Wes helped launched the hardcore Venice skate mystique that continues today.