“Well, it all started with this one red candle around ’78,” says John Lucero. “We’d been skating the GEMCO shopping center curbs way before then. We already knew how to do board slides in pools, and they were always in the magazines. We knew that we wanted to do them on curbs, and this was before rails (board, not hand) had been invented. My friend Hago’s mom had this big red candle, and we thought maybe curbs would slide better if we rubbed wax on them. Lo and behold, it worked!
“Then we started bringing the candle around and waxing everywhere we skated. Remember, this was in the 70s and the candles weren’t skinny like they are now. This was a big-a*s square ‘table-candle,’ which was the size of a cinderblock. After a while the candle was beginning to take the shape of the curbs!
“Around ’81 we started seeing the groms we couldn’t get rid of coming around with their own candles. We still didn’t think much of it, and we never saw it really happening until the late 80s-it was just a local thing.” States John Lucero in a 2005 TWS interview
When asked why he didn’t take the credit for creating and marketing skate wax, an idea he was actually the first to introduce to the industry via Vision Skate Wax alongside Brad Dorfman, he simply says, “It could’ve been launched by kids everywhere at the same time. Who knows? Who cares? Besides, a wise man once said, ‘I don’t want any credit, but I’ll take all the blame!’”
In the end, John may not have been the first person to sell wax, but he was the first to discover the endless possibilities of making a curb and ledge slide better, and look where that’s taken us. So the next time you’re in the kitchen stealing one of your mom’s big red candles (now’s the perfect time-she won’t miss it ’til next Christmas) and are trying to lube up a virgin ledge, take a moment to bow your head in respect to the man who made it all possible. Without John Lucero, street skateboarding might’ve easily died due to the monotony of nosepick stalls on dry ledges from a 90-degree angle. Endless thanks to The Man. -Neftalie Williams TWS 2005