Action sports pioneer Don Bostick still travels far and wide working for NBC and ESPN, with his position as President of both World Cup Skateboarding and Snowboarding. From starting up the popular Dew Tour, to living every surfer’s dream on the North Shore of O’ahu, Bostick has seen it all and is largely responsible for the progress of action sports competitions. He is tonight’s legendary guest on Off the Lip Radio Show.
Join us on Tuesday, August 5th from 7-8 PM PST for Off the Lip Radio Show on KSCO 1080AM local radio, or watch live from the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com :
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“He was one of the pioneers of board sports,” said Terry Campion of the Santa Cruz Boardroom Skateshop. “He had relentless passion for both skateboarding and snowboarding, and it showed when he competed, because no one was faster than Don Bostick. If he stood sideways on a board, he was into it.”
Catch Bostick on the guitar and vocal on the mic, with a roots reggae classic:
Written by Neil Pearlberg | Santa Cruz Sentinel
ESPN’s Extreme Sport Organizer is a job title that I am sure many would like to hold. For Aptos resident Don Bostick, it is his life, although he’s traveled a long and adventurous road to get there.
Born in Oahu, Hawai’i in 1950, his family moved to San Francisco when Bostick was in Jr High. He first saw Santa Cruz not long after he arrived, when he visited on a local teen club’s annual trip to the Boardwalk, and fell in love with the town at first sight.
“Surfing has always been in my blood, and I began surfing with a 9’4” single-fin, single-stringer O’Neill at Pleasure Point when I was 14 years old,” Bostick said. “Even though I lived in S.F., and surfed mostly at Kelly’s Cove and Pedro Point, Pacifica, I grabbed every chance I could to surf in Santa Cruz.”
When his father retired from the Navy and took a position with AAA, the Bostick family was again on the move, and a 15-year-old Don was excited at the prospect of the family moving to either San Jose or Santa Cruz. He was devastated when he came home from school one day and was told that they were moving farther inland, to Vallejo.
“Don’t worry. You will have your license soon,” said his mom Helen, and he held on to that thought as they moved farther east. It was at Hogan High in Vallejo where Bostick met his life-long friend Gary Degorio.
“[Bostick] was a new transplant from San Francisco, and at the school cafeteria he hung out on one side with the musicians and miscreants, and I hung out on the opposing side with the jocks and rah-rahs,” DeGorio said. “We eyed each other with great suspicion, yet soon discovered that we had one thing in common in that we both thought we were surfers, and it took us only one trip to Pedro Point, Pacifica — where we both got our butts handed to us in an extremely humiliating way — to learn that we both had found a friend for life.”
In the winter of 1968, life as they knew it was about to change. Armed with two plane tickets, they shared the same dream of moving to Hawaii’s North Shore, where they were going to get jobs, buy an old car, live at the beach, surf like Greg Noll and never come back.
“The dream hit a major snag when I blew a piston on my old, red Ford van, and I had to cash in my plane ticket to fix the engine,” Bostick said. “Because I couldn’t go, Gary decided to cash in his ticket, too, and buy an old VW van, and we remained in California, where to this day we often wonder what path life would have had taken us had that piston not blown.”
Sacramento was not the North Shore, but it is where Bostick moved to play music at night and manage a local skateboard shop during the day. It is also where he developed his passion for competing as a team rider for Santa Cruz Skateboards, in skateboarding events such as the Capitola Downhill Competition that took place during the Begonia Festival.
Sacramento also took him closer to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where he became one of the first snowboard riders, hiking around the Tahoe area before snowboards were allowed on the lifts. Along with Dale Smith from Go Skate, Bostick took on the skiing purists by running bus trips to Donner Ski Ranch to promote and teach the new alpine sport.
Both snowboard and skateboarding occupied his life, and, in 1989, he replaced Tony Hawk’s father Frank Hawk as president of the National Skateboarding Association. Bostick later became president of the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association, where current professionals such as Shaun White, Kelly Clark and Danny Kass came through the amateur ranks before they became household names.
In the early 90s, ESPN saw the future of extreme sports was with the younger crowd. It had to find someone who had the knowledge and experience to be able to organize a massive event to showcase the new sports, somebody who knew competition criteria, which athletes were to invite, and how to judge and score. The network turned to Bostick, who paved the way for the first Extreme Games in 1995, an event now known as the X Games.
Today, Bostick still travels far and wide working for NBC and ESPN, and with his positions as president of both World Cup Skateboarding and Snowboarding.
Yet it is the quiet time that this quiet man cherishes as he dons his wetsuit for early morning surf sessions with his good friend Degorio, paddling out together, still dreaming of becoming the next Greg Noll, and still wondering what would have been, if it weren’t for that old red van.
Off the Lip Radio Show features legendary surfers and skateboarders in their Santa Cruz, California studio. You can listen in on KSCO 1080AM radio in the Bay Area every Tuesday evening starting from 7PM PST. Now, you can watch the YouTube Live stream from inside the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com!