In a recent eBay Watch posting over at skateandannoy.com, the author, Neil, spotlighted the sale* of a NOS Zorlac Gargoyle model. It's necessary for me to state this upfront, because he made a very specific point about calling out the ridiculous phallic-nature of the board—something I'd been meaning to eventually do in one of these random essay things. I'd also been meaning to mention Neil's eBay Watch column at some point, too, so ... two birds one stone, no time like the present, you get the idiom idea. And, well, it's Thanksgiving today. What says "turkey neck" better than a money-bumped member from the '80s?
Anyway, for as notoriously homophobic as the skateboard scene was in the '80s, man, there really were some seriously homoerotic board shapes going on. Sure, it's hard not to find the phallic in a long and skinny object, but there were a few models produced during this specific era in skateboarding that were practically penile parodies of themselves, a/k/a, straight up cocks. Arguably, I suppose that all the "new school" popsicle sticks could be construed as penis-like, although they’re much more streamlined and sleek like a cheap brand of vibrator used by bored Midwestern housewives.
Now ever since I started skating I've had nothing but respect for Pushead's artwork. Almost all the punk show fliers that I'd done back in high school were all inspired by his works, no matter how much I may have mutilated his style. However, for as keen as I was on his graphics, there was something about the Zorlac boards that prevented me from ever riding them. On one hand, I never felt "punk" enough to live up to all those Texan skate slogans (c'mon ... I wear glasses, I was destined to buy into the Bones Brigade propaganda machine); on the other, it really was a matter of function before fashion.
In 1987, I worked part-time at California Connection skate shop in Madison, WI, and distinctly remember staring at a pink Gargoyle as it languished for months on the rack gathering dust. A number of times I placed this dick—I mean, deck on the floor and, just for laughs, assumed a goofy-footed stance upon it to go through the motions of an ollie. And it just didn't make sense. For the life of me, I couldn't imagine how anyone could possibly skate this shape without a functional care in the world (especially on the street), not to mention without feeling the least bit self-conscious. But in notoriously being what it was, the Gargoyle has since become one of my favorite anomalies from the '80s and I'm more than happy and secure in my sexuality to admit to owning one now.
Other honorable mentions in the penis-shaped board category include:
• G&S ProLine Sidecut (ca. 1980): The grand-daddy of the "member" generation. The proportions are a tad off with its grossly enlarged "head", but nature isn't exactly consistent in its own creations either (especially when certain nutjobs go the artificially-enhanced silicon route, e.g. "The Blob"). The only downside? Channeled instead of ribbed.
• Z-Products George Wilson Z-Rocket (ca. 1984): While most boards in this category only fulfilled the upper half of the penis, the Z-Rocket managed to pull off the full monty.
• Tracker Dan Wilkes (ca. 1987): All this board needed for a happy ending was a notch at the tip of the nose (the corresponding mini model was no less endowed shape-wise, either).
• Walker Mark Lake Nightmare (ca. 1986): If not for the clearly sleep-disturbed graphic and pronounced hip flare this deck might have been termed the "Wet Dream" instead. Also, I didn't get a chance to spotlight Walker's pioneering usage of the multi-colored rainbow ply construction in The Disposable Skateboard Bible, but now seems like the perfect time to do so.
• Walker Nightmare II Mini (ca. 1989): The pro may have left the team but the dong remained the same.
* $900?! Are you kidding me? Once upon a time—a much better economic time, mind you—the Gargoyle, which isn't exactly one of the more "rare" Zorlacs (especially in hot pink), waffled in value between $300–$500. $600 tops. Then again, this was from the classic Texas-based years of the company when Pushead's designs truly fit the era like a rubber cloven hoof, and if you're gonna go to the monetary trouble of owning any original Zorlac boards these are the ones that most certainly matter.