It's been exactly 40 years since surfers Richard Novak, Doug Haut and Jay Shuirman founded NHS, Inc back in 1973 in the small coastal town of Santa Cruz, California. Since then NHS and its house of brands that today include Santa Cruz, Creature, Flip, Krux, Mob, Independent, Ricta and others have played a major roll in not only the progression of skateboarding through the support and endorsement of some of the most noteworthy pros in history, but through its commitment to building quality skateboard parts, improving on its existing ones and branding them all with some of the most iconic graphics of all time. Now ubiquitous throughout popular culture, Jim Phillips' infamous Screaming Hand graphic has origins dating back to the 1950s, but it wasn't until around 1985 that the graphic was officially used by Phillips to serve as the branding for Santa Cruz' Speed Wheels line. Since that day, the Screaming Hand has evolved into an icon synonymous with hardcore skateboarding and Santa Cruz has been right there along side it for the ride.
There's hardly a skate brand under the sun that can claim the kind of history and longevity that Santa Cruz can. Apart from it's graphic influence, the brand has been responsible for releasing some of the most watched skateboard videos in history including legendary 80s titles like Speed Freaks, Streets On Fire, Wheels Of Fire and Risk It and continued that tradition throught the 90s and 2000s with the release of influential video features including classics like Gurate, Out There and Ammo. Hand in hand with its videos, Santa Cruz is also single handedly responsible for finding and nurturing some of the most revered names in professional skateboarding including icons like Jason Jessee, Eric Dressen, Tim Brauch, Tom Knox, Rob Roskopp, Christian Hosoi and many others. Today the brand is still as committed to finding the best skate talent as it was in the 80s and 90s and currently sponsors modern pros including Shuriken Shannon, Justin Strubing, Emmanuel Guzman and others.
You could literally write an entire book on the tide of influence the Santa Cruz brand has had on skateboarding and the culture space at large, but since we're limited to the blog here CCS has compiled (with the help of NHS) some nostalgic imagery spanning Santa Cruz' four decades of existence that will likely take you for a stroll, errr, skate down memory lane. Here's to 40 years of the best in skateboarding and a mighty toast to 40 more!
Jason Jessee Photo: Steve Keenan
Jeff Kendall Photo: Steve Keenan
Eric Dressen Photo: Steve Keenan
Steve Olson Photo: Joe Brook
Jason Jessee Photo: Joe Brook
Rob Roskopp Photo: Steve Keenan
Salba Photo: Jordan Tabayoyon
Tom Knox Photo: Steve Keenan
Salba Photo: Steve Keenan
Emmanuel Guzman Photo: Jordan Tabayoyon