A second community meeting held January 25 to sort out ideas for commemorating the Horizons/Zephyr surf/skate shop at 2001-2011 Main Street ended without a definite plan being agreed upon.
The meeting at the Ocean Park Branch Library drew a larger crowd than the initial January 11 meeting. Organizers Juli Doar, granddaughter of the property owner, and Abby Arnold listened patiently to pleas from newcomers to spare the demolition of the original shop and explained that their concerns had been discussed at the first meeting.
Doar reiterated her plans for developing the property as a sustainable, solar-powered 14-unit apartment complex, and assured the newcomers that she was completely in support of incorporating the cultural history of Horizons/Zephyr into the new project.
“More people need housing,” said Doar. “And I think this is the ‘greenest’ way to do it.”
While some aired their concerns for preservation, even pleading that the building, while not architecturally significant, is a part of the “real” Santa Monica, others suggested commemorative ideas such as a skateboarding museum at the site, a nearby skate park, a sculpture based on a famous skateboarding photograph, a mural or a “walk of fame” on the sidewalk, similar to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Some thought that skateboards of famous boarders should be embedded in the sidewalk. Jerry Rubin said it would be a shame to use the actual boards and that stars bearing the skateboarder’s names would be more sensible.
One woman suggested that the shell of the old store could be used in the new project as a “lobby” with skateboarding memorabilia on display. This concept seemed to please many people, including Doar, who said the idea was something she would look into.
Jeff Ho, whose surfboard factory occupied part of the present Horizons/Zephyr building during the early 1970s, displayed a large photograph of what the building looked like in 1972. He said that people travel from all over the world to meet him although he isn’t always at the shop. He wanted to make sure the site is maintained as a meeting place for all those who regard the corner of Main and Bay streets as a shrine to surfing and skateboarding.
Nina Fresco, chair of the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission, told the attendees that the issue of landmark designation for Horizons/Zephyr will be discussed at the Commission’s February 12 meeting. She explained the steps that go into designating a property and added: “Think about what you can do, what you are going to say, when you come to the meeting, about whether or not we should nominate it.”
The only thing that most of the community members in attendance did seem to agree upon was that the surf/skate shop is a cultural landmark and worldwide attraction for surfers and skateboarders and that it would be a blow to California’s cultural history if there was nothing left at the original site to mark the place where skateboard culture was born.