“BEST OF 2015 — Top 10 Photobooks”

Mother Jones Magazine


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This is the story of the Ollie and the skaters who used it to launch a revolution.

alan gelfand bruce walker

Reviews & Praise
  • It is seriously the best book I've read yet on skateboarding history—the intimate details as well as the broad view of the industry and pastime is phenomenal. Nezka Pfeifer, Curator, “Sidewalk Surfing: The Art & Culture of Skateboarding,” The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science & Art
  • ”A Secret History of the Ollie” is a massive book packed full of details, histories, anecdotes, photographs and miscellanea about 1970s skateboarding. . . . It is amazing detective work and a great value.Iain Borden, author of “Skateboarding, Space and the City”
  • This will be the reference point for all other ’70s-era skate histories going forward. Eastern Surf Magazine
  • Everyone thinks they know the skateboarding's history but what they really know is a series of half-facts compounded by hype and amnesia. This book will rewrite skateboarding history as we know it.Betsy Gordon, Smithsonian Institution
  • A Secret History of the Ollie is truly amazing. It is beyond anything that has ever been published before. Michael Brooke, publisher of Concrete Wave Magazine
  • Your [book] is a wonderful history textbook on 70's skateboarding unequaled and will stand the test of time. Larry Balma, co-founder of Tracker Trucks and former publisher of TransWorld Skateboarding, 1983-1996
  • Craig Snyder's work is much more than a secret history of the Ollie. It is a first-rate account of skateboarding. . . . Set against the backdrop of the sun-drenched coastal towns of Southern California and South Florida of the 1970s, this book transports readers to the era in which the acrobatics of today's X Games were born. H. Michael Gelfand, James Madison University
  • A Secret History of the Ollie is truly a masterpiece . . . It brings back a joyful time when experimentation was fueled with possibility. William H. Robertson, Ph.D., former pro skater, associate professor in science and technology education at the University of Texas, and author of “Action Science: Relevant Teaching and Active Learning”
  • If you think you need 900(!) pages of 1970s-to-early 80s skate history that shows that a raging world existed outside of Southern California, then make some room for this thang.Bill Daniel, Texas filmmaker, artist, photographer, and skater
  • Just started reading it . . . can't put it down. If I ever get to the point where I can afford employees at the Morro Bay Skatelab Skateboard Museum it will be required reading.Jack Smith, museum founder and director, and former publisher of The Skateboarder’s Journal

Every culture has a creation myth and skateboarding is no different. The Ollie forged a new identity for skateboarding after its invention in the 1970s, and it lies at the root of nearly every significant move in street skating today. This groundbreaking no-handed aerial has also affected the evolution of surfing and snowboarding, and has left a permanent impression upon popular culture and language. This is the story of the Ollie, the technology that set the stage for its creation, the pioneers who made it happen, and the skaters who used it to start a revolution.

Volume 1: The 1970s, contains a 912-page history of skateboarding, illustrated with over 1200 images and photographs, many of which have never been published before. Contributing photographers include Jim Goodrich, Lance Smith, Bruce Walker, Al Porterfield, Hunter Joslin, Jonathan Utz, J. Grant Brittain, and Nicolas Delvalle.



Best of 2015 – Top 10 Photobooks
Mother Jones Magazine
San Francisco, December 2015

Best in Category:
General Trade, Illustrated

58th Annual New England Book Show
Boston, May 2015

Gold Medal
FAPA President’s Book Awards
Orlando, August 2015

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A Secret History of the Ollie book display

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Photo credits: Image of Martin Rivera, Downtown Bogota, Colombia, 2011, by Nicolas Delvalle; iPad and Kindle image, courtesy of Kodomut.