Adding to the list of legendary surf culture photographer/film makers…Greg Huglin and Craig Peterson…now, Stacy Peralta steps out to say “Stand Up Paddling has changed my life”…

If you’ve ever stepped on a skateboard and carved down a hill, you’ll prolly have to thank Stacy…matter of fact, the “WARDOG” nickname came about indirectly through Stacy to Z-Boy Jay Adams who I used to sk8 and surf with down at Puerto Escondido, Mexico…

I’ve fondly kept one of my old skul sk8’s…”burnt soul”…Santa Cruz Skateboards…from the 70’s…

– Interview by Ken Russell

As one of the original Z-Boys of Dogtown, Stacy brought surfing to the streets in the 70’s. As a founder of Powell Peralta and the Bones Brigade in the 80’s, he fostered top skaters like Tony Hawk and Steve Caballero. For the last 20 years he’s been directing award-winning TV shows, films, and documentaries like Dog Town and Z-Boys, Riding Giants, and the sk8board classic, The Search for Animal Chin. He’s even directed a unique series of commercials for Burger King entitled, Whopper Virgins. In short, he’s a board-sport and pop-culture pioneer.

What brought about the conversion from surfing?

Stacy has been riding a 9’1 long board for years. He originally decided to try stand up paddling two-and-a half years ago as a flat-water only exercise. In his words, “I had no interest in surfing waves on an airplane wing.” Then, about eight months ago, his surfing neighbor, Tom Craig, loaned him a Jimmy Lewis Hanalei 10’4 wave shape SUP. The potential became clear and he was hooked. While surfers remained clustered, fighting for prime waves, Stacy had a new view of the ocean. Every wave was rideable. For decades, he had traveled the globe on surf vacations looking for perfect waves. Now, his backyard close-out beach break looks like a perfect skate park. Where he used to spend 45 minutes surfing, Stacy is now out for two and three hours at a time, three to four times a week catching the longest lefts and rights of his life.

Stacy Peralta: Surfer, Skater, Paddler, and lover of Freaky Succulent Plants

Stacy feels that SUP is an evolution of surfing. On a stand up, he can spot the wave sooner, cover more ground, and ride just about anything. He loves the concept that you can enter the wave standing, take a couple turns, finish standing, and head back for more. In fact, the only time he’s not standing is around traditional surfers. He feels that part of the reason that many surfers dislike paddlers is the simple, primitive aversion to being physically lower than someone in your own territory. So, when he’s in a lineup of surfers, he usually stays kneeling out of courtesy.

Humility and respect from a guy who’s paid his dues and needs to kneel to no one.

Stacy directing Crips and Bloods: Made in America. Photo Courtesy of Tanya Sakolsky

When not in the waves, Stacy has been working on a screenplay for Sean Penn. Although this keeps him busy, he feels like a kid again, obsessed with the water. He’s often on the phone with Tom, planning the next session. He’s thinking about moving to a shorter board. Tom has a JL 9’4 Mano which Stacy just might need to borrow during the next session. And I’m sure that next session is coming soon.


Leave a Reply