Punk rock has always run through my veins. My brother and I grew up in the South Bay of Los Angeles where bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Descendents, The Minutemen, Redd Kross, and Pennywise were born. It was normal to hear loud, crusty chords screaming from a neighborhood garage. Instances of punk bands duping unsuspecting bar, bowling alley, and coffee shop owners into booking their acts (and subsequently wrecking the place) were frequent. As a kid, I loved the sound and speed of punk rock, but it really didn’t totally envelope my soul until I began to understand the art form in its entirety. It wasn’t until my teen years that I would figure that out. And, by then, I would live in another bastion of punk rock, the East Bay.
The East Bay of San Francisco is home to punk rock legends Operation Ivy, Rancid, Jawbreaker, Crimpshrine, Fifteen, and the famous 924 Gilman Street venue. In the late 1980s-early 1990s, the scene was perfect for young punks as it centered more around the music and less around drugs and alcohol. The East Bay punkosphere served a larger purpose to give teenage outcasts a place to call home and stay out of trouble. If the L.A. punk scene was about aggression and destruction, the Oakland/Berkeley punk scene was about the community and its youth. One of the habitats most dominated by the punk rock youth was Telegraph Avenue, a swath of road that stretches from Old Historic Oakland to the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
The first time I ever saw a dead seal was at the mouth of San Pedro Creek right where it empties into the Pacific Ocean at Linda Mar State Beach in Pacifica, California. The seal had gotten its head ripped off, undoubtedly by a great white shark, and was decomposing in about four inches of water. My brother, some buddies, and I had just come in from a surf when we spotted it. Of course we were rattled by what we saw. A large, deadly predator had displayed its position in the food chain for us to see. So, we did what teenage boys always do in that situation: we poked and prodded it with the noses of our surfboards and made jokes about it. Oddly enough, that was the second most notable thing I saw that day. The first, of course, being boobies.
In the early 1990s, we lived in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area). It was too far from the coast to surf during the week, so on weekends me, my brother, and our circle of friends would proposition one of our parents (usually Chuck) to take us. Almost every weekend was the same thing: get up at the crack of dawn, drive to Pacifica, stop at Nor Cal Surf Shop for something that someone invariably left at home, surf, feast, and then drive home.
The aforementioned weekend was a little off. The fog was thick and the air felt colder than it actually was. My brother, our buddies, and I were all bundled up in hoodies and beanies, but somehow we were still shivering. It wasn’t exactly the same type of shivering like you would be doing if you were cold. It was almost a fearful shivering. No one forgot anything this time, but we decided to go into Nor Cal Surf Shop, anyway. We were stalling. For what? I don’t know.
The Law of Attraction centers around the belief that like attracts like. When you surround yourself with positive people and positive thoughts, great things happen. The Manhattan Beach Surf Club in the 1950s was prime example of the phenomenon, as it attracted two of the most legendary figures in the history of surfing. It was in this club that Dale Velzy met Greg Noll and taught him how to shape surfboards. Noll then passed his craft (and surf shop) on to Eddie Talbot in 1972. Eddie and his partners picked up where Noll left off and changed the name to E.T. Surfboards.
E.T. Surfboards c. 1972
I don’t remember exactly when my twin brother, Eric, and I first went in to E.T. Surfboards, I just know we were young. We didn’t surf yet, but were hypnotized by the smell of freshly glassed surfboards, Neoprene, Sex Wax, and the salty air of nearby Hermosa Beach. The colors were intoxicating (this would have been the early 1980s in the height of the neon era). Our eyes would dart from Slime Balls wheels to Body Glove wetsuits to the airbrush jobs on custom Pat Ryan or Ronnie Williamson boards. We knew we couldn’t afford anything in that store, but we were determined to be a part of it.
Honus Wagner is widely recognized as one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. Wagner was one of the first five members inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and his face adorns the rarest and most valuable baseball card of all time. His dramatic influence on the sport of baseball can still be seen today. But, did you know that Honus Wagner was also one of the key influences on Ambush Board Co.?
One of the things about Ambush Board Co. that I am most proud of is our history. The past 17+ years has written an intriguing story that most of the loyal Ambush Union are at least peripherally aware of. But, many don’t know the back story of how Ambush became Ambush long before there was such a thing as Ambush. Nature and nurture ensures that humans carry a piece of their parents on with them as they grow up. Similarly, Ambush was built on the legacies of all the shops that we identified with as kids, as adolescents, and onto adulthood. Each shop was an influencer in their own way and all left an indelible mark on what would become Ambush Board Co. In an effort to promote the soul of the core shop moving forward, I want to pay tribute to those shops that played a major role in the founding of Ambush Board Co. As the Winston Churchill (or Edmund Burke or George Santayana) quote says, “those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it.” In my estimation, those who do know their history are destined to build on it.
Chuck Morrow, owner, co-founder, and patriarch of Ambush Board Co. grew up poor in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. His mother, Marijana (no, not what you are thinking of) emigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia as a refugee at the end of World War II. As a single mother with a language barrier, Marijana struggled to make ends meet. Often times, dinner would be an onion steamed down to an edible form and sandwiched between two pieces of white bread. It would be an understatement to say that Chuck didn’t go shopping much as a kid. But, when he did, he made the most of it. He took in the whole experience and made it a family event.
Honus Wagner opened a specialty sporting goods store in downtown Pittsburgh in 1919, roughly two years after he retired as a player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The store immediately became a cultural epicenter for kids looking for the latest mitt, ladies shopping for tennis equipment, and fans of Honus Wagner the player. All would all lay claim that this was “their” shop. To customers of the boutique, Honus Wagner was more than a store. Shopping there meant that you were someone, you were a Pittsburgher.
“The best part about Game of Skate is getting the community together for a fun day of skateboarding”.
– Stormy Pruett
Yep. That’s what Game of Skate is all about. Twenty-one times we have amassed the local skate scene into the Ambush parking lot in an effort to bring everyone together for a friendly competition. Sure, this one was a little smaller than some of the other Games of Skate in the past. But, the vibe was one of the best. Those that came were there for the skateboarding, camaraderie, and, of course, to see who can dominate the flat ground. And, the one thing that was proven throughout the day is that everyone has been getting really, really good at skateboarding.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so, then you already know that the new Transworld video, Outliers, has premiered and will be available on iTunes October 30th. The dude behind the lens who created this whole project is Chris Thiessen. Chris is a Georgia native, and grew up skating in and around the metro Atlanta area. With that being said, Chris brought all the skateboarders involved with the video to Atlanta a couple times, and they destroyed some local spots. I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening of the video, and there is a ton of local Atlanta footage spread throughout the video. Not sure if you guys follow Transworld via social media, mainly Instagram, but they have been posting some pretty rad outtakes from the video. It just so happens that almost all of the outtake Instagram videos are of Atlanta spots. Not sure if he did this on purpose or not, but Chris is definitely showing some love for Atlanta skateboarding by posting all of these.
Our latest installment of the Ambush Alumni series features Bobby Sattler. Bobby, just like many of our esteemed alumni, started as your average shop rat gripping boards and vacuuming floors. Bobby was with us for 4 years, from 2000 to 2004. From the beginning, Bobby had a knack for graphics and design. This began in a high school class where he had access to a lab full of G4 Macs, which is impressive for any public school, especially back then. After graduating high school and taking a semester off to enjoy himself, Bobby found himself enrolled in school again at North Metro Tech (now part of Chattahoochee Tech) for Visual Communications-Print Design Specification.
“After I started college, Chuck (the owner of Ambush) presented an amazing opportunity to me. One I’m forever grateful for. The offer was to work on all the graphics for the boards, tees and events and the BuyWake stuff, which had recently launched, while also working the warehouse side with Eric, receiving and entering inventory and making deliveries to the two shops (Kennesaw and Gwinnett). That was such an invaluable time and experience for me—to be able to go to college for design and work as a graphic designer for Ambush at the same time.”
Pictured Left to Right: Bobby, Anna McFarland, Lee Elliott, Juston Tucker, and Kit Furderer
Skateboarding, tattoos, and art have been culturally forged together through decades of avant garde contrarianism, a blunt questioning of societal norms, and a passion for personal expression. The relationship between skateboarding and tattoos can be seen everywhere from board graphics to the amount of ink on the archetypal skater’s body. As skateboarding, art, and tattoos weave in and out of each other’s existence they leave lasting impressions on one another. In Atlanta, none have done that more than Ambush Board Co., Craig Foster, Jules Woods, and Skinwerks Tattoo.
This past Saturday, September 13th, 2014, the Kennesaw Skatepark hosted its very first Street League event. Street League was kind enough to send out 4 of their top Pro’s, including Paul Rodriguez, Ishod Wair, Tom Asta and Chaz Ortiz, to come and put on a demo for the local crowd. Oh, and our boy Justin Brock was out there having fun too! Watching these guys on TV is one thing, but witnessing their talent in person is jaw-dropping. Big thanks to Street League, Cricket Wireless and the Kennesaw Skatepark for making this all happen! Check out some photos and our recap video filmed by Matt Mazza.
Ambush Board Co. is a universally recognized global leader in Board Sports retail. Founded in 1997 in Kennesaw, Georgia, Ambush is owned and operated by a core group of devoted skaters, wakeboarders, and snowboarders who are deeply invested in the Board Sports community, and has evolved by staying true to their essential principles of Service, Knowledge, Integrity, Commitment, and Passion. Ambush always has been and always will be unyielding in their collective efforts to push the progression of Board Sports retail.
Ambush Board Co.
2555 Cobb Place Ln, Kennesaw, GA 30144
Phone: (770) 420-9111
Business/Creative Office: 1690 Roberts Blvd, Ste 105, Kennesaw, GA 30144 | (800) 408-9945 or (770) 406-6568
Warehouse/Distribution Center: 2750 Barrett Lakes Blvd, Kennesaw, GA 30144