Feature Article

A Gathering of the Stoked: SHoF 2024 Induction Ceremony

Waving hands guided a string of cars to empty parking spaces outside the Vans headquarters in Costa Mesa, California. A sacred space and bizarre amalgamation of business and pleasure. Pulling myself out my car, I tripped, and barely caught myself from slamming into the blacktop, but still created a loud sound that grabbed the attention of legend, Lance Mountain. He eyed the situation before proceeding toward the entrance of this year’s Skateboarding Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Watch the whole Steam from SKTstream – 4 hours so grab some popcorn

On Thursday, May 30th, thirty-four skaters and icons gathered together to be honored for their assistance in pushing the culture to new heights. And this year’s crowd seemed to grow by the second. For many, it was like a high school reunion. An endless ocean of faces and voices pulled, flowing in currents to talk shop and reminisce. Others treated it like a collectable signing, with more boards gripped in their hands than a skatepark.

One individual held a Per Viking deck, explaining to my circle of his hopes to get it signed. Clearly he was unaware the Viking had died many years ago.

“Really?” he said in a hushed sigh of regret as he looked ahead toward his friend a short distance away. “Well, he doesn’t know that,” the man said as he motioned his head. Dread fell over him, knowing it was his duty now to break his friend’s heart.

But one didn’t have to look far for other recognizable faces. Pool warlord, Steve Alba, moved from table to table as if he were hosting. Jeff Ho’s fame attracted many who wished to pay their respects. Aaron Meza, Omar Hassan, and Michael Burnett (just to name a few) were spotted as well. At one point, Tony Alva, Skip Engblom, Wentzle Ruml, and Glen Friedman took a picture together beside me, transporting me back to a cornerstone time where California sagas were born.

Jim Fitzpatrick and Todd Huber opened up the Show.
Jim Fitzpatrick and Todd Huber opened up the Show.

“There’s one common bond that brought us all here and that’s skateboarding,” spoke Skateboarding Hall of Fame Executive Director Todd Huber, cueing the crowd to take their seats. With a then spirited intro by Jim Fitzpatrick, the ceremony began, starting with video intros for the inductees.

“God bless all of you, every one of you today who’s out there participating in skateboarding in any way shape or form,” Skip Engblom professed to the eager crowd as he accepted his award.

Luckily, many winners like Skip took the stand to say a few words. But there were some notable absences. Jeff Grosso’s posthumous award (who passed away in 2020) was accepted by his son and mother. Beside them was friend and fellow inductee, John Lucero, who began his speech by saying, “First and foremost, this is for Jeff.” He followed this by giving his brother a heartfelt thanks that proved that though skaters appear tough, but they aren’t made of stone.

Tom Penny’s longtime friend, Alex Moul, also gave a wonderful speech to the great U.K. skater. And when a secret video cut in on the overhead screen, the crowd was shown Penny himself accepting the award from somewhere else.

Another surprise was a special introduction for Geoff Rowley by icon, Ed Templeton. “Jeff’s style and attention to detail is something that permeates into everything he does,” he perfectly detailed. Ed followed this by describing an agreement the two skaters made years prior, where the first to die would ensure his skull would be given to the other.

“I pledge,” Templeton said, “that when I get your skull Jeff , upon my death I will donate it to the Skateboard Hall of Fame. So future generations can make a pilgrimage to Simi Valley to witness that sacred relic, and touch the skull of a true legend.”

Geoff Rowleys crumpled up speech will now make it to the Hall of Fame Museum! Donated by Luke
Geoff Rowleys crumpled up Motorheadian speech will now make it to the Hall of Fame Museum! Donated by Luke ?

As the event continued, it became obvious the back bar tops held the party. Everyone quickly sidled up to tables with strangers, a drink in each hand, to make friends. Almost instantly, winners beelined back there for photos and celebrations with their peers. It was here I even found Mike Carroll. An admitted fan, I thanked Carroll for his inspiration and barraged him with questions about his part in Girl’s Yeah Right! video.

Sorry, Carroll.

Later, as a man somehow miraculously walked seven cups of merlot to my table, offering me one, I realized what truly highlighted this fantastic night. Sure, witnessing the famous faces of the culture finally receiving the thanks they deserve was a high note. But what made things incredible, were the casual moments amongst individuals that sparked the most joy. Like sipping wine in a group where I knew no one and talking about New York skateboarding.

In his speech, Jeremy Klein summed it up best when he said, “I just want to thank skateboarding. It brings everyone together that maybe don’t have anything in common.”

This wasn’t the Oscars. This wasn’t the ESPY’s. This was skateboarding. It felt no more an award ceremony than a treehouse meeting amongst the neighborhood kids. Pros could talk to fans. Industry icons could discuss community changes with the volunteers. Hell, I even spotted Steve Van Doren bussing tables alongside his staff.

In a world of high-horses, skaters proved you can ditch the saddle and sit in the shit. And I think we’re all the better for it.

Bod Boyle, Steve Douglas, Winstan Whitter,Jeremy Henderson, Lance Mountain, Pat Ngoho, Omar Hassan,Buddy Coan and more...
Bod Boyle, Steve Douglas, Winstan Whitter, Jeremy Henderson, Lance Mountain, Pat Ngoho, Omar Hassan, Buddy Coan and more…

As night fell, the cool air crept swiftly as the vendors began breaking down their booths. The lights dimmed. The final awards were given out. And a large group photo occurred on stage with many of the inductees. Conversations continued, even when security begged for everyone to exit the grounds.

Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductees - Class of 2023 and 2024
Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductees – Class of 2023 and 2024 – A little more than 1/2 of them anyways.

A phrase we’ve heard time and time again.

Beginning the long walk to the car, I again saw Lance Mountain heading toward the darkened parking lot. With some courage, and sturdier footing, I approached, and stuck out my hand. I introduced myself and said how I’d be remiss if I didn’t seize the opportunity to say hello. He stopped, took my hand, and with a vague trace of a restricted smile he said to me,


Todd Huber! Got a surprise Award and was glad to get the night off and running! Please givwe this man some thanks for the foresight and effort to keep this operation going.
Todd Huber! Got a surprise Award and was glad to get the night off and running! Please give this man some thanks for the foresight and effort to keep this operation going.

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