Peter King filmed Salba, Reul & others last winter and with the subsequent demise of every single one of the pools depicted, it is now safe to show the video. Enjoy….my pool pals. Thanks to Dan Bourqui for the photograph & Peter King for the ‘quicktime’ video- Skate- Ozzie
It was perfection. On first glance, it appeared tight & tiny…like a pretty Asian dancer…but with far less drama. She had a soft curved hip, that appeared cocked out to the one side. She had a lip; red with mockery and she had a box…dark & foreboding. She was all things that man wanted & just like love…she didn’t last. We found her squatting there on Cleveland street; amid the ruined splendor of a Christmas past. Twinkle lights were draped around her edges, and a lonely unused Christmas tree stand lay in the dried grass, half -full of stagnant rainwater. It was November 1st.
Through the holidays, as winter rains fell softly on the city, time and again, I found myself drawn to her…alone. I would perch there, on the shallow stairs & pump out the 1-2 foot of recent rainwater…admiring her for her lines; for what she was. The neighbors knew us & waved when we stopped by, but the realtor wasn’t nearly as forgiving. He threw old motor oil in it, and I bought ‘kitty litter’ and cleaned it out. As all things go, it couldn’t last. I drove over about a month ago with my pool pal-Kyle, and remarked that I thought that it had been about 3 weeks since we last rode there. Nothing could have prepared me for the spectacle I was to see. Cleveland gone!
They gutted her. They tossed her up on the table to- “see what’s inside her!” Horror! They filled her in to eradicate her but all they left was a void, where beauty once rested.Those who rode her better remember her smooth skin. Salba, Scott Ward, Zask, PK, Rueler, Nilton, Bruno, Billy, Adam 12, Blake, Upland Dan, Spooner, Zach, Mich, Michael Serna, Bunk, Jimmy Howell, Ralba, Andy, Bulldog, Cory17, Marlon, and if I left anyone out…add your name. R.I.P.-Thank you to Peter King, Scott Ward, Salba, Kyle Lightner, & Zach Petschek for the pictures/video. Special thanks to Brandon Wong for helping me w my ineptness. Skate forever….Ozzie
Perhaps a duality exists in the modern skateboarder that tells them whether a certain line they are following is going to work itself out alright. They carve deep across the face wall, cutting between the drain & light, only to accelerate toward the hip at Mach-5 warp speed. They can see it coming in their minds eye. Their brain & nervous system function to provide them input….make or break? Good or evil? Yes or no? Go or bail? I believe that there are times when the session becomes heavy & we tell ourselves, “Damn the consequences!” Those are the moments when all things flow. Thanks to Dan Bourqui for the photograph. Skate Long-Ozzie
When all else fails, get a bunch of your friends on the phone & set up a session. Never forget your friends. They are a mirror in which we see how we function in relationships in the world. Skate Long-Ozzie
There are times when we, (Salba, Adam 12, Billy, Zask, Dan, PK, Michael, myself, etc), will find a pool and the area is so tore up & thrashed that it’ll take us a day or so to get it ready. Squatters & meth-heads; arms with pathogenic, oozing sores, all hole up in the adjacent dirty rooms to share their calamity & poison among themselves. They are unfortunate. Somewhere, they were kicked sideways and decided to stay that way. I recently saw neo-nazi graffiti on a wall in an abandoned house. I asked myself, “Just what didn’t these people learn the first time around?!” What we do is not for everyone. It is not for the squeamish or faint-at-heart. We get filthy. However, the holy grail is worth the quest. The ends justify the means. We seek out the roundwall; the backyard pools. They are not usually found in the upscale, highbrow area of town. So, if we need to get down in the gutter to do so, I am more than happy to do the dance! Skate strong- Ozzie
The first thing I noticed from the freeway was the boarded up windows. The plywood—buckled & stained—-covered the dark interior…spray painted, unintelligable words were scrawled across the siding. I cut across traffic to avoid a snarl of overpasses at the 215/60 freeway interchange. The Verve droned from my stereo speakers…the singer crooning, “I got my briefcase and crime in my veins”. “Yeah man.” I mumbled. I remembered those days. I glanced left and right. The afternoon sun was dirty and trash littered the roadside in heaps—billowing up—as cars drove past. I tapped the brakes and eased in front of a big fucking Ford truck…an ‘executioner’ or ‘exploiter’ or something like that….The driver was not pleased. I exited.
Pulling down an alley next to the boarded up property, I gave the surroundings a cursory glance. The face of poverty was everywhere. Liquor stores were ubiquitous and the sidewalks seemed like they were drowning in desperation. In this neighborhood, I stood out. I continued down the alley as unobtrusively as possible and parked close to a break in the chain-link fence. I kept my Kabar knife in the small of my back and slid behind the fence for a recon of the property. My eyes raked the area. As I pulled myself over a block wall, which appeared to be the pool area of the now-defunct home, I saw him. He spotted me as I let myself down on the inside of the retaining wall. Tires and bottles were strewn about and the stench of urine permeated everything. Squatters had made a wreck of things. A quick glance showed me that he was of little threat to me. The man’s face was cadaverous and sucked up. He probably weighed 80 pounds in his filthy clothing. Had I hissed my viciousness at him, he would’ve fainted. Smoking crack had removed all vestiges of pride from him, and he appeared gaunt and wasted. Surprised, he looked at me with vacant eyes then averted his gaze. He was close enough for me to smell him, and I noticed the ghost of an empty bottle on his lips. Slurring his words, he asked me for change. The teeth he still retained were brown, mangled, stumps. Numbly, I gave him the coins I had. He shuffled out of sight looking like a rumpled brown, oily rag. The man was doomed. I shook my head…sadly.
After checking the building for threats, I returned to the pool area. The pool was half full of black water. Unimaginable things floated within its murkiness, and I shuddered in spite of myself. I was reminded of a story I heard, about a pool in San Diego, called the “homicide egg.” I heard that when the pool was found by skaters, there was a bloated corpse—floating—which defied description! Urban myth? Who knows. But this thought and others crowded my head as I looked for a stick to check the transitions. I noticed some plastic bags or a tarp half submerged and pulled at it with a skimming net that I found. A foul stench erupted, and I staggered back —gagging. I quickly noticed the origin…dead puppies are floating & bobbing obscenely in the dark water. Repulsed, I find it hard to fathom why someone would place them here. Worse, is the thought that some socio-pathic nightmare of a human actually drowned the poor things! I went to my car and got my rubber gloves, shovel and other tools. Fuck man! The things I have to do.
I buried the puppies in a shallow trench beside a rusting fence. As I finished, I watched the sun as it scorched the horizon red…..looking like a gaping wound. The wind picked up, & I felt terribly isolated. I needed some pool pals. I resolved to come back & drain this thing. We would ride it and set things right. This pool and property was drenched in negative karma. We could fix that up, I surmised. Subsequently, we drained it. We put things in order. We few skateboarders. The soulful. To be honest, the pool sucked. It was steep & kinked but we had to do what was required. Grinds on the face wall were served up. The karma debt has been paid. To those that kill puppies, sell crack rocks, hurt others for their own pleasure & suck the life out of the world, we gladly send you a great big, “Fuck you!” Skate Long/Skate strong…and do what is necessary. —Ozzie
In his classic work, ‘Man’s search for meaning’ , Viktor Frankl wrote, “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” He wrote this pearl of wisdom while contemplating his time in a concentration camp. His point should be applied daily. My worst day cannot possibly be compared to the day-to-day horrors that he suffered through…of this I am certain. However, there are many days when I wish to pull the covers up over my head & simply keep the world at bay. Instead, I grit my teeth, growl back and roll with it. Its what life expects. When a person changes the way they see the world, they change the world. Thanks to JGrant Brittain for the stellar photograph. Skate Long-Ozzie
Simple message today folks. Never give up/never give in. Fuck respectability! Let every molecule that makes up your body scream out against conformity. Don’t kneel to exalt the ‘new god’- TV. Put the beer away, call up your skate friends & go ride! Skate long/skate strong-Ozzie
Andy Kessler passed away recently and skateboarding lost a great man. I was jogging and found this little pool nearby. I decided then & there to drain it for Andy. I pumped it out the other day & this morning, Adam 12, Upland Dan, Salba & myself went there and rode it in his memory. After we had been there about 20 minutes, we were busted by the police. End of session. At that moment, we were sure that Andy Kessler was proud of us! In memory of a skateboarding giant. R.I.P. Andy Kessler-Ozzie
The wagging tongues of the pool-riding upper echelon spread more malice & discontent than all the jocks out there in the world combined. They gather together like pigeons from hell, to flutter & coo. They act like old ladies at a church function. Its a shame & a sad commentary on how we eat each other up just to feel better about who & what we are. No! I’m not immune to it either and I would be less-than-honest if I didn’t admit my own culpability in the smack-talking department. That said, I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt these days. Few skaters that I know of have lived a life in perfect harmony. Many, have a less than laudable past but lets not go into that.
Lets talk about my roomate-Mark Partain. Power. Style. Flow. Big, sick bag of tricks. Raises the bar in every session. Cool as a cucumber. Surfs like the OG mother fucker…which he is! Mark grew up skating the parks & pools of the 1970′s and has probably clocked more hours grinding & flying in pools than most everyone else.
He rarely has much to say. He dismisses his detractors & the harmful gossip-mongering with a wave of his tattooed fingers. Words are like stones in his mouth. His skating ALWAYS does the talking for him. He does believe that a ‘real’ pool contest should be held as follows. Locate a huge kidney that has never been skated before. Drain it the day before the contest, and have only warm up runs of like 15 minutes then hold the contest. Best rider wins it all. I concur. Its a fine idea. Whatever the outcome, all I know is this one salient fact. Mark Partain rips. He’s one of the top 5 pool gurus ever. Incomparable in any session. He’s a true stand-out.
Marks top five places to skate ever- 1) Endless Wave. 2) Cherry Hill. 3) The Turf. 4) Lake Cunningham San Jose. 5) The entire State of Oregon.
Marks influences—Jay Adams, Tony Alva, Lonnie Toft, Christian Hosoi and everybody from Ventura & Santa Barbara.
Thank you to Mark for providing the photographs from his collection. Skate Strong-Ozzie