13 Apr 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Z-Flex Skateboards
As you probably know, Z-Flex is old. In fact, it’s so old that they’re credited with creating many of the things we take for granted in skateboarding today – like wheels that aren’t made of metal or decks that you can do tricks on.
Z-Flex has a history unlike any skate brand out there.
Most impressive is how they’ve managed to keep updating and progressing their products to keep up with the times while still staying true to their heritage. With so many years under their belt, they’ve been through practically every era of skateboarding with plenty of stories to tell.
Here are 5 things you might not have known about Z-Flex skateboards!
1. The first Z-Flex boards were made by Jay Adam’s step-dad
It’s no secret that Jay Adams was heavily involved with Z-Flex from the beginning. Although, it was actually his step-dad that created the brand’s very first products!
Before the first fiberglass Z-Flex deck was created, Jay and the Zephyr skate team riders were building their own decks by hand out of balsa wood or oak planks. The boards were flimsy, sometimes breaking within one day of skating.
Jay’s step-dad Kent Sherwood worked with fiberglass by trade. Kent created a skateboard mold and altered a self-made fiberglass formula mixture until he had created a board with the perfect amount of flex for skating at the time. This mixture then went on to be used in the creation of Z-Flex skateboards for years!
Nowadays, modern Z-Flex boards are constructed of seven plies of Canadian hardrock maple wood.
2. Early Z-Flex success came from skateboard wheels
Remember, there was once a time when skateboard wheels were made out of clay (or even worse – metal!) and simply rolling on a skateboard was a lot harder than it is today.
Shortly after the creation of their first iconic fiberglass boards, Z-Flex pioneered the use of urethane to create skateboard wheels. One of their first wheel models was the Z-Smooth wheel.
Today, Z-Flex still produces the Z-smooth wheel and it’s even found on their latest cruiser models like the Jay Adams ‘Metal Flake’ Cruiser and ‘Shadow Lurker’ cruiser! After the Z-Smooth, they developed an even faster “Z-Grooves” wheel, which laid the foundation for the skateboard wheel design used today.
It’s amazing to think that many of today’s top wheel companies like Bones and Spitfire have been (in)directly influenced by the Z-Flex crew in their earliest days!
3. Z-Flex created the “concave” of modern skateboard decks
Imagine if skateboard decks had remained totally flat. Chances are, very few of the tricks we know today would exist – and that’s if skateboarding was still even around at all!
The concave of a modern skateboard deck is what creates the unique leverage points that allow us to pop tricks and progress the sport like we have. Now, imagine if the Z-boys and Jay’s step-dad didn’t have the intuition to create this concave design when developing their first boards.
We may have a lot more to thank Z-Flex for than we think…
4. The “Jay Adams Model” is the oldest skateboard pro model graphic still in production
No pro model graphic has existed quite like (or as long!) as the Z-Flex “Jay Adams Model” skateboard.
While it has existed in nearly every color, it has retained the same, simplistic style of two vertical Z-Flex brand logos and a clean “Jay Adams Model” lettering for over 40 years. The graphic was first seen in 1978 and can still be found in shops like Cruisin City today! No other pro model graphic can say the same.
When you skate Jay’s pro model, you are truly skating a piece of history – it’s even featured in the National Museum of American History!
5. You can still pay your respects to Jay Adams at Dogtown Coffee in Santa Monica, CA.
Nowadays, the famous Zephyr Surf Shop that was once home to the Z-Boys in Santa Monica has shut down. Fortunately, there are still plenty of surf/skate vibes to be found at the historic location.
Dogtown Coffee is now located in the same building. Dogtown Coffee features a café serving local and organic food and micro-roasted coffee among photos and skate-relics of the past.
Most importantly, you can find a beautiful mural paying tribute to the great Jay Adams on the side of the building.
Rest in paradise Jay.
Text by Skatetexter.