…and tomorrow who will come?

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“Tomorrow who will come… and put their hand over mine?”  He wondered. Nurses. Doctors. They all spoke to him of his strength…  the parade never ended. Their talk was hollow. He wanted to lash out in angry words but the wrath kept close to his tongue and coiled there. He was too tired. The boy was still. Inside his sickness. He was quiet… like a painted person. He looked up from the bed at the pump. A bag of clear liquid was hanging half empty.Tubes attached to his frail arms infused the fluid as his body fought whatever plagued his bloodstream. “Cancer” they said. They had told him softly… they cradled his small hands. He was overcome. “How would God allow such a thing?” Those were his words. His thoughts. “Why?” He was only fifteen years old and had never harmed anyone or anything. He loved his parents, his friends, Bob Marley and his skateboard. He felt himself starting to cry. He kept still and didn’t move his hand to wipe back the tear. The IV needles had been coming loose and he hated being stuck. “Vampires.” He muttered. There were noises outside of his room and he heard his father’s voice. He hadn’t been the same since this all happened. The boy heard his father speaking with the staff. “I’d like to discuss the results with him…” He then came into the room. Careful hugs. His father’s eyes moved up and down him. They took in everything. As if they’d see something that might indicate health and happiness. A doctor came in and spoke to his father. The boy looked out of the window. The sun seemed lost. He saw it there… but it wasn’t the old sky. The old sky was filled with light. Warm days that never seemed to end. Fun. There was little room for cancer in such a place. His father’s voice – “We’ll take him home then…”  He looked up at his father’s face. Fallen. This was taking away his anchor…

Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers

Weeks later. Pounds lighter. Weakness. He ate Doritos in front of the TV. His friends would be over soon. They were going to the Clash At Clairemont. The Grind For Life guys held it every year in San Diego. He had heard about it through the local skatepark. He Google searched Grind For LIfe and read about the organization. The main guy was named Mike Rogers. There was a really cool photograph of him riding a big bowl. He had endured a pretty gnarly battle with cancer behind his eye. He survived it and though he has only one eye, he still continued to skateboard. The boy perked up a bit. He hadn’t been able to skate at all. He missed it. Reading further, he saw that Mike Rogers formed Grind For Life in 2003 and they help people to battle cancer. The website’s words – “We educate and inspire…”  The boy saw that the Clash At Clairmont was coming up and his friends had rallied to take him.

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A few hours later, he was being helped out of the van and he made his way into the Clairemont YMCA Skate Park. There were tents and booths set up. It had a festival feel to it. His friends kept close to him. They knew he was terribly weak and his parents words still hung above them… “Stay close to him and keep him safe.” He grabbed his friends hand and grew excited. “There’s Tony Hawk. He’s right there with Andy Macdonald!”

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The friends were walking by the huge vertical half pipe and Tony looked at them and nodded. Andy said “Hey guys… what’s up?” They told the two skateboarding legends about their friend and his cancer diagnosis. The two skaters spoke with them for awhile. Mike Rogers was quickly found and introduced to them. The boy felt weak but elated. He knew in his heart that he couldn’t skate. He was far too thin. It hurt just to walk around in his house. But seeing Tony, Andy and Mike was a really cool experience. They came and got him once the half pipe demonstration started and walked him gently up the wooden stairs. He found himself sitting on the platform with a front row seat. It was unbelievable! Mike Rogers and the entire Grind For Life crew took his contact information and planned to meet up with him and his parents in the upcoming weeks. The boy felt the first hope he had experienced in a very long time.

Andy Macdonald

Andy Macdonald

Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk

Evandro Mancha Menezes

Evandro Mancha Menezes

Pierre Luc Gagnon

Pierre Luc Gagnon

Lincoln Ueda

Lincoln Ueda

Alana Smith

Alana Smith

Mike Owen, Mike Rogers and Eddie Elguera

Mike Owen, Mike Rogers and Eddie Elguera

Grind For Life does fantastic things. Sometimes life breaks and that is perfectly fine. It gives us things to do. Cancer is a horrible thing to have happen to you and your family. There are people that can help. Mike Rogers and the Grind For Life crew are those type of people. They raise money to help others… they fix things when life breaks. Please visit the website and help make a difference. Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Click the link  - Grind For Life

Andy Macdonald floats above Mike Rogers

Andy Macdonald floats above Mike Rogers

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Magoo’s

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Dusk. It was just him and Smitty. They drove around in the San Fernando Valley. Nervous energy. Meth-infused. It had been a brain-burner all day and it wasn’t from the weather, even though it would be above one-hundred degrees all weekend. Suffering. Smitty had ridden his motorcycle over from Phoenix and set them up for a few weeks. They needed to weigh, cut and package the meth…  but it was too fucking hot at the house. Smitty mumbled and pointed to a 7-11 on the right. “Pull in over here Magoo. Need smokes.”  He eased the car to the curb and within minutes they were back cruising on Devonshire. Making it back to his house, a few friends were waiting. There was little he could do about that. He had to lock up his stash and scale. Some of the guys from the bike club had brought a couple of cuties along. The night crawled into the morning and he found himself bleary-eyed and still awake at dawn. The house was quiet as the partying had stopped around 3:00 am. His balls itched and he needed a shower. He hoped that the girl he was with last night didn’t give him the heebie jeebies. Magoo set out his scale, baggies and stash. “Might as well get started”  he thought. The big man shrugged his shoulders and turned towards the refrigerator. He pulled out a beer, paused for a second, then removed another. He set both bottles down on the kitchen table next to the scale and the ashtray. He leaned over, peered outside and closed the blinds.

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He flicked on the stereo and kept the volume down. Ted Nugent growled from the stereo speakers. “Well looky here, you sweet young thing, the magic’s in my hands, when in doubt I whip it out, I got me a rock ‘n’ roll band, It’s a free-for-all…” Magoo sat down and lit a cigarette. He heard snoring from the other room. That was Smitty and he was out. They had partied hard into the morning hours. The meth had kept the throttle wide open. Smitty finally passed out on the couch. He’d been up for a few days. It was how he did it.  Reaching for the clear plastic baggies and chunks of white powder on the table, he started cutting and packaging the meth to sell later. Hours ticked by. Cigarette smoke hung above his head like a question mark. His head felt fuzzy. The meth spread out in front of him. A chemical landscape of long-lasting pain. Another package broke apart, another batch of bindles readied, another line cut and snorted. Meth stomped across his brain in big black boots. It tugged at his spine… the mirror told the same hollow story. “More… you deserve it.” He felt lethal. Amphetamine armor.

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So it went… On and on into the hot afternoon. The phone rang late in the day. Magoo answered it. His speech was pressured, as if the words couldn’t wait to get out of his mouth. It was a guy named ‘Picc’. His name was Steve Picciolo but everyone just called him ‘Picc’. He was a skateboarder… “Yeah man. Come by. Just keep it short. We got some bro’s coming over tonight to party and shit.” He hung up the phone as Smitty appeared in the kitchen, cracked a beer and did a bump from the mirror. Breakfast. “Who’s coming by?” He asked, pointing toward the phone. “This dude I know. He drains the crap out of the pool and smokes out with us… He rides his skateboard in there.”  Smitty nodded. “That’s cool.” An hour later, Smitty was sitting on the back porch and he heard a car stop out front. “Hey…” A voice called out from the side fence. Smitty opened the gate and let two young guys in. They both had skateboards. “I’m ‘Picc’ and this is Arthur. I called earlier. Is it cool if we skate a bit?” Magoo stepped out onto the porch. “Picc… what’s going on man?” Picc and Arthur smiled. “We’re stoked to skate the pool. Thanks for letting us come by…”  Magoo pointed towards the side yard. “You know where it is.”

Steve Picciolo

Steve Picciolo

Arthur Viecco

Arthur Viecco

Picc and Arthur knew from the looks of things that the pool wouldn’t last. They rarely did. Picc had told Arthur that he also saw some seriously sketchy people at the house sometimes. Whatever they were doing inside, he didn’t want to know. Arthur looked around. There were old cars rusting and sun-bleached in the yard. There were motorcycle parts, beer cans and trash. It was dirty, hot and rundown. Life in this hothouse was one lived while dying. The dirty chemical existence they led was the end of the line…  they both knew enough to get what they could, while they could. The pool offered up possibilities. They wasted no time… Thank you to William Sharp for the image. Skate- Ozzie

There will be more on Magoo’s and other pools like Gonzales, DogBowl, Fishbowl and more in the upcoming William Sharp Book ‘Back In The Day’

 

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Return to Cleveland

Cleveland

Cleveland

November 1, 2008. I drove through Colton and Riverside. I had started early. Dawn was a close companion and I smiled thinly to myself. Reflection aging. How long can I do this thing that I do? Funny thing. Once I got sober, I really started hurting. My joints hurt so much on certain mornings… I wish I wasn’t a junkie alcoholic so I could actually obtain a bit of relief and a full night of sleep. Broken bones start aching once you pass the four decade mark… I know. I pushed such thoughts away. I had long ago given up on chemical peace of mind. I’d lost that right. “Suffer son.” I gave myself the finger and continued driving. Steve Alba had emailed me the previous night and asked me to check a few possible pools. I had the day to myself and gladly welcomed the task. Finding pools. It is the one thing that I love the most. I pulled off the freeway and slipped into a gritty neighborhood. Older vehicles. Bars on windows. Graffiti. Trash. It wasn’t hard to determine that I was no longer on the prosperous side of life. Hope turned a blind eye. Drugs crept under the door and took hold. I drove in the early morning light. On a twisting side street, I saw it. A dead lawn lay to my left and plywood covered the windows of the home. Ramshackle. Blistered paint. Pulling over, I parked and watched. I scanned the area. Nothing. It was quiet and I quickly crossed the yard and pulled myself over a fence. The pool lay virtually empty. It looked amazing and would prove to be a gem.

Scott Ward

Scott Ward

 

We rolled it for a few short months that winter. On Thanksgiving morning that year, my friend Scott Ward and I, drove out to ride. It rained on us for about an hour… we waited. A rainbow came out and we ended up riding together. Thankful.

Uhmm....

Uhmm…. The rain dance actually worked.

A few months later, I drove over and found the pool filled in and weeds growing on top of it. I was appalled. Loss… and so it goes.  Thank you to Kyle Lightner and PK for the images. Thank you to Scott Ward for the footage. Make every minute count while you can… Skate- Ozzie

FINI

FINI

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Lance Mountain / Peck Park

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Lance Mountain called me up one day about a year ago. He wanted to stop by Ridiculous and measure the pool. He explained that the city was designing the new Peck Park in San Pedro with the assistance of the original San Pedro locals. The new park would be built by California Skateparks. San Pedro veterans – Robbie and Andy Harris called Lance and asked for his help. Lance wanted to build a pool at the new skatepark which would ride very similar to a real backyard pool. He came by and measured everything and the results look pretty amazing. I spoke with Lance today and he explained – “I usually build hybrid skatepark pools and bowls. I design ones that are similar to the 1970′s era…  I try to keep the majority of skaters in mind so that the pool or bowl that we are building can be used by many skaters. If we build a real-feeling backyard pool, it may limit the people that can actually ride it. When Peck Park was being designed, the San Pedro skaters all wanted a pool designed off of a real backyard pool. I measured Ridiculous and incorporated its obstacle layout and shape similarities.”

Tristan Rennie at Ridiculous

Tristan Rennie at Ridiculous

Peck Park Pool

Peck Park Pool

“It isn’t a replica of Ridiculous, but its design is taken from that pool. It will ride differently as this pool doesn’t wrap around quite as much and the mid wall isn’t as steep as Ridiculous. It was an opportunity to build something new and I hope the skaters like it.”

Thank you to Lance Mountain for his time and energy in helping build quality skateboard parks. Thank you to California Skateparks for doing good work.  Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie

 

 

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Owen Nieder / Guest Post

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OWEN NIEDER

My older brother Evan was a surfer and when there were no waves he would skate. In 1976 when Sparks Carlsbad opened, my brother would drive his Volkswagen van, blasting Led Zeppelin. The van was filled with his hippy friends and the smoke of Mary Jane was in the air during the entire ride to the skatepark. My mother would make him take me along. Evan was not a person that I could count on for rides, so when the Del Mar Skate Ranch opened two years later, only a couple miles from my house, it was a dream come true. My recollection — as poor as it is — begins on opening day 1978. My dad drove myself and Dave Eckles to the park.  He waited in the car as Dave and I sat on the split rail fence out in front of the park, waiting for it to open. We got our memberships and we skated, from opening until they shut the lights off. We never stopped and never looked back.

In 1978, Dave and I were twelve years old and the older park locals including Chris Strople, Wally Inouye, Kyle Jensen, Jeff Tatum, Sonny Miller and the rest were tearing up the Keyhole. But in 1978, twelve year olds were not allowed to skate the Keyhole unless they could drop in. Dave and I would wait patiently in the large channel for our turn, but it never came. So, we should spend our days and nights skating the Kona bowl, Egg Bowl, Square pool, the shallow end of the half pipe, the front reservoir and even the back snake run, banked slalom and back reservoir. A few years later when skateboarding died, just about everyone quit skating. Myself and a few hard core locals like Dave Swift, Tod Swank, Tony Magnusson, Ken Park, Billy Ruff, Adrian Demain, Grant Brittain, Chris Black, Tony Hawk, Reese Simpson, Josh Nelson and others, kept at it. We owned the place. Ozzie asked me to keep this short, but its hard to sum up a place that shaped your entire life in a paragraph. It may sound silly, but the Del Mar Skate Ranch made me who I am today. – Owen Nieder

Thank you to Grant Brittain for the image and Owen Nieder for the memories. – Ozzie

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Shogo Kubo Tribute Session

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I was pushing the aluminum doors open that led into Cherry Hill Skate Park, when I overheard an excited voice announce, “I told you it was him! I told you Shogo was here.” I looked over as two skaters rushed past me holding magazines in their hands. I heard the Buzzcocks “Autonomy” pulsing on the speaker system that throbbed music throughout the park. I heard wheels and voices. There was a great deal of activity over by the egg bowl so I turned left and rolled through the reservoir and on toward the half-pipe. I awaited my turn as I saw someone roll through the elbow and begin their run down towards the three-quarter section. I wiped my hands on my blue corduroy OP shorts. My hands were sweating. I was here!  Cherry Hill. I rode in blissful self-indulgence for about an hour before I approached the pools. The egg, keyhole, left and right-handed kidney pools lined up against the back wall like a trophy case. “Fuck the football trophy, I’ll take any one of these…” I murmured. I stood and watched as Jami Godfrey, Dean Godfrey, Shawn Peddie, Mike Jesiolowski and Victor Perez drew fast lines through the egg bowl. Jami pulled stand up frontside grinds, Mike did the longest boardslides that I’d ever seen and Jami Godfrey’s little brother Dean was completely dwarfed by the egg bowl…  yet he held his own. Dean’s under the tile inverts had me shaking my head in wonder. “Damn that kid is ten years old!” All of the sudden, I saw him. Shogo Kubo was skating toward the egg bowl. I stood in a bit of shock. He rolled past me and laughed at something someone said. I saw him smile. I found myself smiling too… “Shogo…” He rolled through the bowl a few times and the fence was crawling with groms watching. Like me, they craned their necks to see the action. One of Dog Town’s finest was under our roof and he was ruling.

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I’ll never forget watching Shogo ride the right-hand kidney later that day. He had amazing lines and style. I took a few runs while he was riding. I must admit that I was star-struck. Shogo Kubo had it all. Make no mistake.  He was awesome. I’ll never forget that day at Cherry Hill Skate Park. It has been seared into my brain cells… Last week, Glen E. Friedman notified me that Shogo had passed away in Hawaii. I felt my heart sink. I had recently spoken to him regarding photographs for the William Sharp book that I am completing. I still haven’t quite come to terms with his passing. I saw all of the tributes on the social media commemorating his life and influence but I knew that we just had to have a pool session for him.

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Not a bowl session. A pool session. We drained a pool. I called around and put things in motion. We met up at the appointed place and everyone was stoked to pay tribute to Shogo Kubo’s style, influence and love of skateboarding. Lance Mountain pulled up and on his head was a headband with a Japanese rising sun on it. It looked like the one Shogo would wear while skating. I immediately said that everyone would have to wear the headband while doing something rad for Shogo…  and so it was.

Ripperside Shawn. Light/Box

Ripperside Shawn. Light/Box

Steve Alba- frontside loveseat

Steve Alba- frontside loveseat

Me- backside air

Me- backside air

Riverside Ed - backside grind loveseat

Riverside Ed – backside grind loveseat

Brandon Wong- frontside grind

Brandon Wong- frontside grind

Kyle - frontside light/box

Kyle Kaitanjian – frontside light/box

Kevin Burke- frontside grind loveseat

Kevin Burke- frontside grind loveseat

Hours later, we put a stop to the session. Exhaustion. Stoke. Happy faces. We gave Shogo Kubo a proper tribute that we hoped would show him our appreciation for all that he gave to us. Wherever you are Shogo… thanks for everything. Rest in peace brother. – Ozzie

Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Thank you to Glen E. Friedman for the CHSP image. Thank you Lance Mountain for the headband and good vibes. I hope you are feeling better and we’ll skate soon. – Ozzie

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