Skateboarding in the 70s, Hugh Holland "Locals Only"

In the mid 70s, 1975-1978, the photographer Hugh Holland documented the Los Angeles skateboarding scene. While still a small sub-culture in most of the nation, skateboarding was quite popular in California, and growing fast. Originally created by surfers, skateboarding was starting to claim its own unique identity in those years. Hugh Holland hung out with skateboarders of the time and traveled to empty backyard pools and other lesser-known spots with them, documenting the look, the tricks, and the style of the time, which were later collected in a book titled "Locals Only."

One thing I noticed -besides all the tube socks, long hair, and short shorts- is the number of girls. It seems there were more female skaters back then, and there were already well-known female skaters like Patti McGee and Ellen O'neal. We could definitely use more female skaters today.

The book and the pictures were used as a visual reference for the Lords of Dogtown movie, and the photographer Hugh Holland was credited in the movie. (PS. Most but not all of the following images are by Hugh Holland.)

^ Ellen O'neal, photo by Warren Bolster




^ Ellen O'neal



^ Above 2 pics: Patti McGee



According to this Washington Post article, California was going through some drought around that time, and the resulting increase in empty swimming pools became an important factor in the increasing popularity of pool and vert skating.

^ Ellen O'neal






^ Barefoot pool skating. You don't see that much today.




Besides these cool pictures, if you'd also want to see some video footage of this early skate scene here's a great one that talks about skateboarding in the 70s:


Images from Planet Blue, I-D Vice, and The Washington Post

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