Jeff Ho Surfboards/Zephyr Productions Building

Jeff HO Zephyr door

What are the issues?

The proposed redevelopment of the site of the Jeff Ho Surfboards/Zephyr Productions building is an issue that has touched nerves on both sides of the surfing and development community. The proposal is to replace the site (currently where Horizons West Surf Shop is located) with a new energy efficient apartment complex has touched raw nerves. Folks on both sides of the issue (developers and surfers/skateboarders) interestingly enough have split and very passionate opinions about this issue. Folks who work side by side on in both the development and surf/skate community have radically different views of the importance of preservation versus the rights of developers and owmers to make a profit and the feeling that preservationists have just been spurred to action because of the popularity of the Lords of Dogtown and other romanticized nonsense.

I first became aware of this issue when I was driving one Wednesday evening listening the the Big Show with Steve Mason and John Ireland on radio station ESPN 710. They were interviewing Stacy Peralta, one of the original Z-Boys about the issue of preserving the site of the original Jeff Ho Surf Shop/Zephyr Productions building, and were very passionate that we should do something to make our voice heard rather than just shrugging our shoulders and knuckling under to big money:

I received a nice e-mail back from John Ireland when I e-mailed them about this issue. Their web site has some contact information for Ms Jing Yeo, who is the Liason to the Santa Monica Landmark Commission.

Thanks John and Steve for bringing this issue to the attention of your listeners!.

The Big Show With Steve Mason and John Ireland

Leed Apartment Complex Sign

Dogtown and Z-Boys

If you haven't seen this documentary by Stacy Peralta about the pioneering 1970's Zephyr skate team, I would highly recommend it. It will give you a lot of background on just why folks feel so passionate about this issue, and has marvelous interviews with the Z-Boys, Jeff Ho, and the other key players in that era. If you watch this a couple of times, I think you may find your self being swayed that something very special happenned here!:
The covetted Zephyr jacket       DogTown and Z-Boys

Pro-Landmark and Preservationist: Jacob Samuel

This is some background on Jacob's activities:

Jacob first raised a very big concern at meetings held by the developer about a month ago. We brought the petition to the last Landmarks Commission meeting in Santa Monica on Feb 12, 2007. For the our property there were 22 public comments, inculding those made by Jeff Ho and Alan Sarlo. There were 4-5 comments airing on the side of development, most made by people who would benefit from the development in some way. The developer has made a gesture to the community by offering to do a sort of memorial to Dogtown and Z-boys, as a mural, statue, or perhaps something in the sidewalk. A very nice gesture, but not anything compared to the actual history of a living, operating surf shop. As you probably know, people come to visit that shop from all over the world. There is a huge difference between going somewhere and finding a memorial mural, and going somewhere and seeing something alive and well, that has influenced the lives of so many. So, a memorial is an unsatisfactory offer by someone who has no idea of how important this shop is, as friendly as it may be.

Our biggest goal is to educate the Landmarks Commission about the importance of this shop. Culturally as a historically building, despite its raggy appearance, it is the Dogtown shop, not the Ritz Carlton. So we are cirsulating this petition. So far, this has kind of been a one man effort technologically speaking to create and circulate a petition. We are now asking people to send letters to the Landmarks Commission themselves. They must be well written and grammatically correct if we are to be taken seriously by the commission.

Informational links:

Some comments about online petitions

One thing that should be pointed out about online petitions is that they the amount of legal weight they carry will depend upon how well they document and are able to prove the legal residence and status of their signers. In the case of e-mail chain letter petitions, they do not provide the means to prove one's residency or even existance. So they do not carry as much weight as say a traditional written petition on which one must put their legal residence.

The online petition at is a cut above this, as they do attempt to document the residence and e-mail addresses of their signees.

Nonetheless, it probably is at least a good existential exercise to sign the online petition if you feel strongly about this issue. It probably won't hurt anything, and perhaps the shear volume of response will catch the attention of the Landmark Commission:

Articles about the issues

West side of Horizons Surf Shop    

Message boards about the issues

Horizons West Surf Shop from north

What can I do to make my voice heard and get involved?