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April 09, 2020

Powell-Peralta: The highs and lows of the legendary skateboard brand

Skate culture is a dominant part of pop culture today, with big brands such as Adidas, Nike, Supreme and others constantly elevating and marketing skateboarding. It's a far different scene to modern skateboarding in the 1970s.

The legendary American skateboarding brand Powell Peralta formed in 1978, in the early days of modern skateboarding, and is still producing innovative skateboards, wheels, clothing, and accessories today. It was formed between engineer George Powell and professionally skateboarder Stacy Peralta.

Powell Peralta logo

George Powell started skateboarding in the 1960s. While studying at Stanford University he would peacefully skate around the campus with Christie (his now wife) at twilight when no one was around.

For Stacy Peralta, it was a dream come true to be paid to skateboard. He was in the first generation of skateboarding kids to become professional skateboarders. 

George and Stacy formed their skateboarding company after George was laid off from his job in the aerospace industry, and was eager to market his innovative skateboard wheels and boards. George had been exploring different materials that hadn't been used in composite boards at the time such as fiberglass and aluminum, and wheels made from urethane.

The Bones Brigade

George's role in the business was overseeing the skateboard design and manufacturing. Stacy Peralta focussed on marketing and advertising the brand. He also creating and managing a Powell-Peralta-sponsored skateboard team he named the Bones Brigade. The Bones Brigade was made up of a group of amateur skaters at the time, which are now well-recognized skateboarding legends.  This team included Tony Hawk, Rodney Mullen, Steve Caballero, and Tommy Guerrero.

powell peralta vintage ad

Tony Hawk vintage ad

Skateboarding pioneers

Powell-Peralta as well as creating innovative skateboards and wheels were pioneering new ideas not seen before in the skateboarding industry. They were creating limited edition one-off releases, collectible skateboard graphics, and skate videos. While commonplace today these were ideas not explored by skateboarding companies prior to Powell-Peralta.

Going their separate ways

At the company's financial peak it was making $30 million a year. Yet in the late 80s, there were a number of smaller skateboarding companies in the market that was previously dominated by just Powell-Peralta, Santa Cruz, and Vision. George and Stacy decided to go their separate ways in 1991 over a number of disagreements on how to move the company forward. Stacy wanted to split the brand into smaller companies while George felt this wouldn't work and require much investment. It was a big blow to the company when Stacy left to pursue a different career in directing and producing television. In 2001 his produced the famous award-winning documentary film 'Dogtown and Z-Boys'. The film explores the Zephyr skateboard team (of which Stacy was part of) in the 1970s.

Reigniting Powell-Peralta

Stacy and George teamed up once again in 2006. They agreed to reignite Powell-Peralta, putting former disagreements and bitterness behind them. The company still has much relevance today, one of the oldest skateboarding companies with a huge following. 

The company is no longer just Powell-Peralta. It's now Skate One Corp., which manufactures Bones Bearings, Bones Wheels, Mini Logo, Hoopla, Positiv, Golden Dragon skateboards, these wheels, Aera Trucks, RollerBones rollerskate wheels, and Powell-Peralta.

Shop Powell-Peralta collection

Powell Peralta collection





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