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Art Brewer:  , Jeff Divine: , Steve Wilkings:


The Larry Bertlemann legacy isn’t in laying the groundwork for mega-sponsorship deals for today’s professional surfers—though he did that both inside and outside the industry by brokering his own agreements with airlines, soda companies, and carmakers. It isn’t in single-handedly inspiring Santa Monica’s “Z-Boys” to revolutionize skateboarding, although he did that as well. And it isn’t in his pioneering use of video for training, his use of shorter boards in big waves, or his aerial trailblazing while way past his prime in the mid-’80s—all undeniable accomplishments. Nope, the Rubberman did his most groundbreaking work when he was barely a man at all.


1973: With the invention of urethane wheels, new possibilities emerge. What once was a noisy, bumpy ride is now smooth and silent. Banks and ditches become skateable, as these new wheels can grip the concrete. Surfers like Larry Bertlemann inspire a new and radical form of skating, as surfing begins to turn toward a shorter board with more fluid moves. From this point on, skating will never be the same.




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