What Was Happening When Santa Cruz Skateboard Was Formed?

Let’s take a look back at 1973!

Finding longevity in the skateboarding industry can be tough. A thing of all the companies that have come and gone. Then, there’s Santa Cruz Skateboards. They are the longest-running skateboarding hard goods company in the United States, and presumably the world as a result. Not only have they been around for a long time, but they are celebrating 50 years of existence in 2023. Want to put that into perspective? Here’s some stuff that was going on in 1973 when Santa Cruz Skateboards opened for business.

1. American Graffiti was a big hit



This film, a retro look back at the year 1962, is notable because it was the first successful film directed by a guy named George Lucas. The success of American Graffiti helped him get another project off the ground, which came out a few years later: Star Wars.

2. Schoolhouse Rock! Debuted


For years, Schoolhouse Rock! used music to teach kids about, say, adjectives or conjunctions. The old-school animation definitely looks vintage, and indeed, the show first aired in 1973.

3. Elvis’ Hawaii concert airs


Elvis Presley was alive, and a star, in 1973. His television concert Aloha from Hawaii would end up broadcast around the world and seen by reportedly one billion people.


4. Pink Floyd releases Dark Side of the Moon



It remains an iconic album, but the legendary Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon in 1973. Soon enough, people would “sync it up” with The Wizard of Oz.

5. Paul McCartney is fined for growing weed



These days, marijuana is legal in many places around the globe. People freely grow their own pot plants for personal use. Not so in 1973! McCartney was busted for growing weed at his farm in Scotland and was fined $240 USD. That’s equivalent to a little over $1,600 USD today.

6. Tony Orlando and Dawn are popular


Sure, The Rolling Stones and Elton John having huge hits is easy to wrap your head around, even 50 years later. However, in 1973 one of the five biggest hits of the year was “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

7. O.J. Simpson makes history



Want to talk about a throwback? Once upon a time, O.J. Simpson was best known as…a great football player. In 1973 he made history by becoming the first NFL player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Now, um, things have changed.

8. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown



Horse racing used to be so popular Secretariat is a household name, even though he’s a horse. A horse was one of the biggest names in sports! 


9. The United States pulls out of Vietnam


In January of 1973, Richard Nixon was sworn in to start his second term as President (it didn’t go great). Later that month, American troops were pulled out of the Vietnam War.

10. An oil embargo triggers an energy crisis


OPEC, in an effort to hurt Israel’s supporters, embargoed oil sales to several notable countries, including the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. This led to soaring gasoline prices and an energy crisis.

11. Airbags were introduced



Getting in a car accident always sucks, but if things go poorly, an airbag can at least help minimize injury. That wasn’t happening before 1973, though, when airbags were first introduced into cars.

12. Burger King introduces an iconic jingle



You know the words, right? “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce…” and so on. The “Have it your way” slogan was first used by Burger King in 1973.

13. Boo Berry cereal is introduced



Count Chocula was already hanging out, but he got a new compatriot in the world of sugary cereal in 1973. The ghostly Boo Berry was worked into the mix, and he’s still chilling all these years later.

14. Neil Patrick Harris is born



Famous from the time of childhood thanks to Doogie Howser M.D., Harris was born in 1973. In adulthood, he would have memorable roles in How I Met Your Mother and the Harold and Kumar films.

15. Jason Acuna is also born



He’s not only associated with skateboarding but Acuna is also known as a skater. What he’s not known by, though, is the name, Jason Acuna. You may know him as “Wee Man,” a member of the Jackass crew.

16. A couple more notable skateboarders were born


Canada’s Tony Ferguson was born in 1973, and he would go on to join the team at Real and Plan B. Then, he co-founded Girl Skateboards. We’re also celebrating the 20th anniversary of Girl’s iconic Yeah Right video, and Ferguson is found in that. Also born the same year as Santa Cruz is John Cardiel, a legend in the skateboarding world long associated with AntiHero Skateboards.

17. The Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle is the most popular toy on the market


How to explain this thing? Um, just watch this ad and figure it out for yourself:


18. In fact, ads were wild in general



Here’s a collection of commercials that aired during Saturday morning cartoons on ABC the same year Santa Cruz was born:


19. Apparently “Piano Man” came out so hey, why not?



Sing us a song tonight!


20. Skateboards were quite different



Let’s go to the folks who would know!


Related: American Graffiti , Schoolhouse Rock! , Paul McCartney , Pink Floyd , Wee Man , Evel Knievel .