Ray rides only Tunnel Wheels! - Photo: Jerry Riboli

Ray Flores

Name? Ray Flores or you can call me Malnurd Zappo.

Malnurd Zappo? In high school, we made up fake names for our senior photos. I graduated from Santa Monica High School, Class of 1970. With the last name Zappo, I was the last picture in the yearbook.

Born? Santa Monica, California, November 10, 1951.

What are you famous for? I was on the Hobie Team in the early ‘60s, and a world champion in 1966. That was one of the first skateboard teams. I’m the only skateboarder from the steel and clay wheel era that actually evolved into pools and extreme skateboarding when I skated in the Dogtown and pool ripping era.

So Hobie was the ‘60s. Do you remember when you joined Tunnel? Sure. It was around 1975. I was the top skateboarder in Northern California and I had won some contests. Tunnel founder Mitch Haake contacted me and I helped him to develop the very first Tunnel wheels. I was his first rider, first test pilot, and first pro rider.

So you were the first Tunnel skater? Yeah, and I helped Mitch design the wheels. The center set Tunnel wheels. I won second place in 1975 World Skateboard Championships at the Cow Palace for downhill speed on those Tunnel wheels.

What was your set-up in those days? I had early Dogtown boards, handmade by Wes Humpston, and Zephyr fiberglass boards with Tunnel wheels.

What events did you compete in? I was probably the only competitor who entered every event and placed in the top 10. Freestyle, slalom, giant slalom, downhill, and bowls and pool contests. I was never the best at any one thing but probably the best all-around skateboarder.

Favorite skate spots? Dogbowl, Gonzalez Pool, Keyhole, hell….any empty pool!

Favorite skaters? All my compadres, Z-boys and Dogtowners, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation. Plus the 4th generation Dogtowners. They all surf as well as skate. That’s why the skaters from this area are so great.

Still skating? Still surfing, still skating and still enjoying the girls.

Ray Flores words to live by? Don’t exceed your abilities – otherwise you’ll die!