In the late eighties when I wasn’t reading comic books, I was reading skateboard magazines. It wasn’t if I was any good at skateboarding, to be honest I was pretty terrible at it.
For the first (well, maybe second or third)time skateboarding, surfing, and other “extreme” sports were beginning to break in to the main stream of popular culture. I was a fan, but what twelve year old boy wasn’t? I viewed the professional skateboards like I did professional wrestlers, as real life superheroes. They were doing things most mortal men couldn’t do. They were flying through the air, performing inhuman acrobatic feats, and taking unimaginable amounts of pain and just getting up and doing it again.
But my favorite thing about ’80s skateboard and surf culture is the art. It felt like so many different world cultures, pop cultures, and art styles clashed together in one beautiful wave of subculture bliss. The colors popped, the graphic art was clean, and the imagination was unbridled. For most athletes in the extreme sports world, their reputation and fame hinged on the art that they displayed on their named skateboard decks. Because to most kids outside of urban epicenters of the sport they were a graphic, not a name.
Another place were art was most prevalent was in the advertising in the magazines. The walls of my room were covered in ads for things that I would never buy, but the art was awesome.But one ad did speak to me and had me begging my parents for a pair of shoes.
These were the shoes. Funny enough I found the exact ones I had in 1987 in a Google search. All I remember is finding them in a store around Christmas time with my parents and them buying them and making me wait until Christmas morning to open them.But at the time it didn’t matter what color they were or what design they had on them, I just wanted a pair of Airwalks…because of these guys.
In the pages of Transworld there were a series of ads (thinly disguised as comics) that stared Ollie Airwalk and Dak.Being a comic fan I gravitated to these ads and they did their job because I wanted a pair….any pair of Airwalks. Ollie is the green fellow above with a head shaped like a wave. Dak is the yellow pterodactyl. The comics were written and drawn by Mique.
They appeared in ads like these….
The pterodactyl was a huge part of Airwalks graphic design too, and to a pre-teen boy in the ’80s there was nothing cooler. One of the things I loved about the shoes were the pterodactyl headed shape their logo had on the side.
With there growing popularity in the skate shoe market, Airwalk even began making skateboards. One of their early designs had Ollie front and center. Shown in yellow on the deck, Ollie and Dak were known to change colors.
Sorry this little retrospective isn’t as in-depth as the one I wrote about T&C Surf Designs back in the spring, but this seems like a gem from the ’80s that is mostly lost to time. All I had were a couple scans I found through Google and fuzzy memories. I just had to get this memory out of my melon, so I enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane.