Founder of Skateboard magazine and the Santa Barbara Surf Museum, and collector of ephemera
I met Jim O’Mahoney when I wrote an article about a documentary on the Signal Hill Speed Run, and visited him at his museum. I soon got a tour of the residence behind the Museum, where I entered a wonderland of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen. The two museums O’Mahoney runs display only a tiny fraction–like one drawer compared to a house full of cabinets.
Then we got talking about his history and that’s where I learned his storied past and how essential he was to skateboarding history. I’ve invited O’Mahoney to bring some of his collectibles to my “Specimen” show in 2013, and he didn’t disappoint. I knew at some point he’d make a great guest on the podcast.
Topic discussed include:
A quick audio tour of just one room in O’Mahoney’s place
“Progress” in the FunkZone
Growing up in Long Beach
His dad, Jacques O’Mahoney (The Range Rider, Yancy Derringer)
Lili St. Cyr
His Mom’s modeling school
His first skateboard
The big evolutionary leap in skateboarding: 1974
Starting Skateboard Magazine, setting up the U.S. Skateboard Association
How Santa Barbara was the first venue for skateboard racing and freestyle
How David Frost led to the Signal Hill Speed Run
The first editorial board of Skateboard Magazine
Why did Santa Barbara birth skateboarding?
The first wave of skate parks
Hangglider Magazine and his hanggliding accident
A brief story of the hangglider accident in Santa Barbara
How the USSA spread worldwide
The Signal Hill Speed Run
How Jim Fitzpatrick made skate parks viable again
Big Wheels and this video
Living in Mammoth and the first snowboards
How he got into collecting and antique store ownership
Moving to Santa Barbara
Starting the Surf Museum and the goodies inside
Traveling the world (twice) when he was a kid
His friendship with Jimmy Buffet
His skater friends
What rock stars actually skate?
The future of the FunkZone
What’s his favorite object in his collection?
His role model
The Surf Museum is located at 16 Helena Ave. #C, Santa Barbara, CA
And online here.
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