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Tony Alva

Born in 1957 in Santa Monica, California, Tony is one of the original Z-Boys and considered by many to be one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.

The level of aggression that Alva introduced in the 70s was in stark contrast to the traditional freestyle-based feel of the era making him instantly stand out amongst other skaters. The prototype modern professional skateboarder and a charismatic character in the documentary Dogtown: The Legend of the Z-boys based on Tony’s legendary Venice skate crew, at age 19, Alva shunned the major skate companies to form his own skateboard company, Alva Skates. Alva's company was the first ever run and owned by a skateboarder as well as being one of the first to use layered maple plywood for the skate decks. It was Tony, back in ’77, who suggested to Vans founder Paul Van Doren to modify the classic Vans Authentic deck shoe, a favorite among the emerging skate pioneers for its grippy gum rubber waffle outsole, by adding collar padding and a heel cup for support to create the now-classic Vans Era style, the first shoe designed by skaters for skateboarding. Nearly 35 years later and Alva continues to shred, surfing and skating pools almost everyday. When people look up skateboarder in the dictionary, it’s Tony Alva’s face they should see.

Interview

What's the best trip you've ever been on? 

In the last couple of years it was a trip to Santiago, Chile. The country is still so untapped when it comes to skating, surfing and music and the people there are so hungry for it, so the kids are just amped when you’re there. The people are super friendly and the countryside is amazing. It’s just a really rad place.

Favorite Vans Rider? 

AVE. He’s so versatile and for how young he is, he’s really mature. He has a unique style and he’s a really good person overall. 

What trick can't you do that you wish you could? 

No handed 360 aerial, but will be landing it soon.

What are some interests/hobbies outside of skating? 

Surfing, Music, Art and Fashion. 

Last good book you read? 

John Lennon's biography by Philip Norman. It’s 800 pages and it’s good.