Lords of Dogtown is a 2005 biopic about the Zephyr boys skateboard team. The film is based on a 2001 documentary called Dogtown and Z-Boys. The Hollywood version took a fair amount of liberties in telling the story, but still managed to capture the look and feel of Venice Beach in the 70s.
Original Zephyr Shop
The original Zephyr Shop is located at 2003 Main St. in Santa Monica. Officially called Jeff Ho Surfboards and Zephyr Productions, the shop closed down in the late 70s but reopened at Horizons West Surf Shop. This shop operated for many years before closing in 2010.
It is now a cafe called Dogtown Coffee, and displays many murals, skateboards, and props associated with the history of the building. The building is also designated as a historical site.
At the back is a large mural dedicated to original Z-Boy Jay Adams, who passed away in 2014. The mural can be hard to see at times, due to being in the parking lot.
Film Version of the Zephyr Shop
Likely due to its location on a busy street, the production chose not to film at the original Zephyr Shop. Instead, the shop was recreated south of Venice Beach, at a strip mall in San Pedro.
The building has been slightly altered since filming, and is now operated as a church. You can still picture Heath Ledger on the roof tossing surfboards down to the street in a rage.
This was a tough location to track down, and it took a fair amount of work to locate it. If you plan to visit, please note this seems to be quite a rough neighbourhood. Try not to visit alone, and you may be more comfortable going in the daytime.
One scene in the film has the whole skateboard team having lunch after a competition. This is where Stacy Peralta comes in and is offered a spot on the team. This was filmed at Rae’s Restaurant at 2901 Pico Blvd, which is in Santa Monica but away from the beach area.
If you have any questions or thoughts about Dogtown or the filming locations, please share with me in the comment section below.