Choosing a new 'board, like most people, was a very personal choice for me to make. Everybody had their fave brand that they would swear by. Trendy shapes and graphics came and went as fast as the frontside grinds we all did with them.
I always had a bit of a different taste for decks. Sure they were all "wood", but some boards were still just cooler than others. I really liked what was coming out of the Dogtown "school of design". Z products would sell (and still do!), "blanks". A "Blank" was the "deck" before it was cut to shape and sanded/painted. One of Z's finished decks was a "Z-33", meaning it was 33" long. I had several of those and still ride one today. In the early 80's Dogtown Skates wasn't making boards. Well.. at least none were making it to Michigan.
Ok ... so I pick up the latest "Thrasher" and in there is an ad for a small company called "Santa Monica Airlines". This kinda looked intriging. Problem was.. they were only being sold in two shops. One in Cali... and one in Jacksonville, Florida. Well.. it just so happens that Jeff Hadley and I were planning a trip down to the 1983 Kona Nationals at Kona skatepark, which is in Jacksonville. Ok .. no problem, a side trip was in order.
Sunrise Surf shop was the name of the place and was located pretty much near the beach in a small strip mall kinda deal. I go in, all excited about seeing these new SMA boards, and the cat working there asks if he can help me. I go into this story about seeing an ad in Thrasher for SMA boards. The guy looks at me a bit confused.. then after a few moments goes.. "Oh yea! .. I kinda forgot about those... we got a box a couple weeks ago but I haven't opened it yet".
Ok .. so he goes to the back of the shop and drags this big box out front. Together, we opened it up and found a stack of about 20 decks. He didn't seem very impressed but I sure was!.. EVERY one of these boards was different!! No two boards had the exact same shape or graphics. Oh .. and they were all undrilled. Now... I was all over that.. I thought.. "Wow.. I can choose my OWN truck spacing, amount of nose and tail". I had to touch EACH and everyone of these. I felt like I could feel the power each board posessed. I remember being in awe of this stack of decks. I had limited cash with me or I would have bought several of them. As it turned out I could only buy one. The one I ended up with was a nice 11" X 31" "flat pig" style with airbrushed graphics on the bottom.
Now.. fast forward about 5 years...1988
I once again find myself at Kona Skatepark only this time I am with David Tuck. We had some free time in between sessions and I wanted to go back to Sunrise Surf shop just to see what they had in stock. I think we were just looking for stickers or something.. neither one of us needed anything really. So we get there.. and are checking everything out... this guy comes up to me and asks if he can help me. I said "no .. I'm just looking around" and he goes back over and sits down behind the counter. After a few moments I decide to go over and tell him the story about being in this shop a few years prior and buying that SMA board. As I am telling him the story... his eyes light up! it was the same guy! and he remembered me! .. Ok .. so that was all cool! .. we laughed about that for a bit.. then he goes... "Hang on. .. let me run in the back". A couple of minutes later he comes back out front carrying a familier looking deck.
He hands me the board and sez "Here.. you can have this". I was in shock! .. it was another one of those SMA decks from that first shipment!. He told me that was the last one and nobody wanted to buy it due to having to drill their own truck mounting holes. He also said that shipment of SMA decks were hard to sell for that same reason. He then tells me that he totally remembered my enthusiasm for the decks and now it seemed "right" to give me this last one.
So dig that.. out of this ultra cool shipment of "one of a kind" Santa Monica Airline boards....I got the first and the last one.
This is the board pictured here... and I still have it today. Oh .. and its NOT for sale.---Wes