For those of you completely in the dark and new, here you go. BS and FS Ollies were done at different places in history and were called different things. Jeff Tatum: JT Air (BS Ollie), Alan Gelfand: FS Ollie. Frontside airs were done in different places and in a totally different fashion : TA & George Orton. Who was first? Hmmm… Rock-n-Rolls were first done by Tim Marting but Steve Olson supposedly received the first photograph in the magazine. Hence, people think Steve Olson was the first to do them. It is also rumored that Chris Strople–the inventer of the Alley-oop air–did Rock-n-Rolls at this early stage. The Smith grind. Was it done by Alan Losi or Pat Ngoho or Mike Smith first? There are photographs and accounts that support all three. Gunnar Haugo did the Gunnair which is Duane Peter’s Indy air a few years before the fact. Documented. History. Questions. Questions. To my thinking, there was a huge period of discovery and possibly even these facts are not all together factual. Maybe there was a guy somewhere in Nebraska hucking frontside airs before others! Who really knows!? Does it all really matter? Credit has gone to others. A place in the sun denied. Some people have knocked back that bitter pill. Sadness. I feel for them.
In Jeff Grosso’s Love Letters, Jeff Tatum posed the question perfectly: “Who really invents anything?” I have to agree with him. They say that history is written by the victors and that half the world believes what the other half invents. Well… that might be so. The truth is the truth. There are no versions of the truth. Will we ever know? Will the Indy Air become the Gunnair? Will the BS Ollie become the JT Air? I don’t know. I think that they’ve become ingrained into the collective skateboarding consciousness as what they are. A BS Ollie and an Indy Air. It might be a shame, it might be untrue but its the way things are. I think it is amazing that these things were invented and passed on at all. I think that we are supremely lucky that Gunnar Haugo did the Gunnair. We are blessed that Jeff Tatum did the JT Air. I think we are fortunate that Ngoho, Losi and Smith were ripping and inventing things simultaneously. I think we were privileged to see Tim Marting, Chris Strople and Bulky Olson doing Rock-n-Rolls! I’m happy that Duane did his version of the Gunnair & named it an Indy. This is only my opinion and I hold the skaters that I’ve named in the highest regard and they should know it. I intend absolutely no disrespect. That being said, I simply thought that some of this should be illuminated. I may catch a bunch of angst for this. It matters not. One salient fact. The most important thing is that ALL of these guys collectively pushed skateboarding ahead to new uncharted territory for a billion of us to follow! Without each and every one of them… things might not be. Here is an epic Love Letters episode on Tom Groholski. He rules… and you can take my word on that one! If not, click the flick. Skate- Ozzie