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the Week

Barefooting related images and material:

... will be provided here on a transient basis. Material will be here for about one week before being changed.

Someone once posted:
Years ago (in the 60's and 70's) skateboarding was a sport that MANY young people enjoyed doing barefoot. Now, you NEVER see a skateboarder barefoot! NEVER! In fact, if you visit the skateboarding sites, and look up the history of skateboarding, they do not even acknowledge that the early skateboarders preferred to do it barefoot. (There were many neat tricks that required you to be barefoot.)

Time for a little barefooting archaeology. Yes, kids definitely used to skateboard barefoot. I think two things enabled that. First, kids went barefoot in general a lot more. Second, the boards in use at that time were often the "banana" type boards. I've tried my son's skateboard and the first thing I noticed was that the edges were too sharp to comfortably curl my toes around. They aren't really designed to be foot-friendly, but I suppose one could adapt. I also tried an old style "banana" board. It's much thicker with nicely curved and smooth edges. It felt very natural in bare feet. I saw an (older) skateboarding book once, that included a short section on barefoot tricks. This included a diagram of something called the "gorilla grip" where the toes are wrapped under the board for jumps made while holding onto the board with one's feet.

I had heard about this 18 minute film short (SkaterDater, 1965) from a friend who had seen it while I was college. It was made in southern California in 1965 with kids the director (Noel Black) found off the street. It was nominated for Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1966, and was the 1966 Grand Prix winner at Cannes Film Festival. It has no dialogue, a very simple plot and some great surfing music. What makes it interesting to barefooting history, is that the seven boys (aged about 12 to 15) starring as the skateboarding gang are barefoot the entire time. Bare feet are THE style and their feet are weatherbeaten, callused and dirty.

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I think my son didn't really believe that kids in those days skateboarded barefoot (and went barefoot as much as I was telling him). Now he's seen. Anyway, I finally got hold of a copy of this film. It transported me back to the time I first came to the USA from Britain (Florida, 1965. I was ten).