Just as skateboarding is deeply rooted in California culture, Jack Smith is equally rooted in Morro Bay.
Smith, 60, the skateboarding legend from the sport’s “Golden Era” of the 1970s and most recently, publisher and curator, first stepped foot on a skateboard in 1964 — the year the city was founded.
He has skateboarded across the country four times since 1976, most recently in 2013.
I remember when I first started skating, I had friends say, aren’t you a little too old? I said, hey, I’ll be doing this in my 40s and 50s.
Though an attempt to become the first person to ride an electric skateboard across the country in 2016 ended early for safety reasons near Boise, Idaho, the trip raised about $3,000 for a nonprofit that provides skateboards to needy kids.
Known for those time- and distance-defying cross-country treks on his board, Smith in recent years has found meaningful ways to give back to the community while promoting the sport he loves.
In 2012, Smith opened the Morro Bay Skateboarding Museum, which recently held its grand re-opening at its new location at 699 Embarcadero.
“I started collecting old boards and memorabilia in the late ’80s and over the years had bought and sold a bunch of it, I just thought, you know, the history of skateboarding should be shared with the public.”
The same year, he founded The Skateboarder’s Journal, an influential magazine found in major bookstores and online.
“I remember when I first started skating, I had friends say, aren’t you a little too old?” he recalled. “I said, hey, I’ll be doing this in my 40s and 50s.”
Despite his deep connections to the worldwide skating community, Smith said his lifelong local connections are what he loves best about his hometown.
“I love the continuity of the people in Morro Bay,” Smith said. “Buildings change, city councils change, but a lot of people I grew up with are still here — it’s nice to have that constant.”