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The world’s first skateboard movie.

“Skaterdater” tells the story of a group of seven young skateboarders who ride around Los Angeles showcasing their talent.

The plot begins when one of them falls in love with a girl after crashing against her bike, and they start hanging out. The movie has no dialogue so the way they tell the story is self-evident. From the storytelling perspective, the characters are always in motion.

One of his skater friends is not happy with the budding romance and challenges his mate for a skateboarding duel down a hill street.  It’s the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl back story.

“Skaterdater” is easily the most acclaimed movie in the history of skateboarding. It wasn’t designed as a movie about skateboarding, but it became one. It promoted the sport without attempting to do it.

Even with no dialogue the music really scores with the scenes, the camera angles, the music and the final edit speak for themselves.

The opening section with the barefooted tic-tacs and the cross-stepping moves on an original old school skateboard is enough to keep anyone glued to the film. One of the skateboards the boys rode in the show was a Makaha Commander.

In 1965, the Beach Boys had their second No. 1 hit with “Help Me, Rhonda,” and, for the first time, the National Skateboarding Championships aired on network television.

Skatedater is to skateboarding what “The Endless Summer” is to surfing or Warren Millers “Deep and Light” is to skiing. They’re all timeless masterpieces that illustrate self expression and the freedom of sports.  sports.

Restored by the Academy Film Archive

The short 18-minute film was nominated for Best Short Subject (Live Action) at the 1966 Academy Awards and won the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film Technical Grand Prize at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.

“Skaterdater” was shot with a low budget – only $9,000 – using a 35mm film camera.

The skateboarders performed most of the stunts at Torrance’s Rolling Hills Plaza, San Pedro’s Averill Park, Palos Verdes Estates’ Malaga Cove Plaza, Lomita’s Cypress Street, and Redondo Beach.

The movie also features an original surf music soundtrack by Mike Curb, of the Mike Curb Congregation who later founded Curb Records. The music is set perfectly to the scenes.

skaterdater

The cast included Bill McKaig, Bruce McKaig, Ceilo Weislo, Gary Hill, Gary Jennings, Gregg Carroll, Melissa Mallory, Mike Mel, Molly Macloud, and Rick Anderson.

Their ages ranged from 13 to 15. Mostof the ‘actors’ the group went to Newton Elementary and then South High School in Torrance, California.

The film was restored by the Academy Film Archive in 2010, and SurferToday has been granted permission to make it publicly available, courtesy of the Noel Black Estate.

“Skaterdater” is one of the most important skateboard and action sports movies of all time. 

It’s timeless in the sense that it’s really the classic boy-meets-girl story. Fifty-five years later, it is a snapshot in time of when skateboarding was not even a sport.

People did not know what to make of it. They marveled at the tricks and speed of the riders which were pretty good for the time given the quality of the equipment at the time.

The movie revolutionized the way filmmakers shot subsequent skiing and surfing movies. 

Skateboarding films now employ the use of the extreme low angle camera at wheel level. The lens just barely scraping the ground to capture the board and the rider at ground level. For the film, they built an outrigger platform connected to a bicycle that a dolly grip would operate. They did this so they could keep pace with the riders and get the lens as low as they could to the ground to accentuate the speed and detail of the riders’ footwork.

They shot it over a 2 month period on the weekends. Each time it was a struggle just to get all ‘actors’ to show up at a location.

The movie seems to be surrounded by a somehow timeless aura. 

The timeless aura that surrounds “Skaterdater” is due in part to the storyline. I think most of us can find a piece of ourselves in each of the characters.

One of the skaters in the film Gregg Carroll, went on to have a very successful skateboarding career.

Skaterdater captures a charm, innocence and purity about these kids that probably doesn’t exist in todays world.

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