On my birthday, this guy shows up with some pool pals. He lives in Upland/Ontario area and skates …like he’s on fire! I mean, the guy tore the shit out of the place. He just rolled into the pool & destroyed. Padless & fearless, he ruled every run. Halfway through the festivities, I was grilling burgers for the masses, when I heard a howl of panic & pain from the drain area of the pool. PK yelled at me, “Man down!” and I bolted into the pool. Brian lay there holding his knee & leg at an awkward angle….grimacing and in obvious distress. Being an RN, I felt along his knee and immediately noted that…well, Brian was plenty fucked! We got him iced, heavily medicated with Motrin & man-beverages, then positioned him in a chair- poolside. He spent the rest of the session, cheering folks on & self-medicating. He was taken to the doctors office and the diagnosis came back—torn ACL in knee. Get better Brian. You rule…pool pal! Thank you to Peter King for the images.Skate-Ozzie
I figured that it would be time for a bit of positivity this morning. My apologies for my last post…but it is the way it is sometimes. Here are two great examples for a ‘positive’ outlook on life. Lance Mountain & Dave Kinstrand. Enough said. Go out & be positive today. I will be joining you! Thank you to JGrant Brittain for the Mountain photograph & Peter King for the image of Dave. Skate-Ozzie
Some days I wax maudlin. Its the way I’m wired. I heard an appropriate lyric the other day. “Sold- are the dreams I had and cold- is the wait for nothing.” Understood. Grey is the color of the sky this morning; as am I inside. Dawn & shadow moves across the land like a scourge. This is my time. Splendor. Dark, dirty splendor. I wonder if all I write or say has meaning for anyone but me. Am I just an empty black hole in life? Am I only a useless round wall skater; scarred & broken? I know little and care less. Its as if the gods I’ve always read about, have all gone home. The angels hovered-carrying brutal weapons- and saw us with all our inadequacies, then fled on fluttering wings, appalled at our savagery. It rained last night & the gutters are still running, much like the glue that holds me intact. I feel godless, soul less, with no close family, few real friends or beliefs in anything. I’ve had disdain for a long time.
The world is a concrete prison of wires, dirt, desolation & decay. Strangely, I burn inside. I want to light the night time like the day. I want to make the pagan gods -if they exist-recognize us again. I wish to dance about a sparking fire with filthy, wrinkled witches in a hidden, gloomy forest glade….worshiping primal things. I want to taste evil as only the dark ones can experience it. Life keeps pushing me…hard! Heaven forbid I become fed up & push back, raining panic on the world. I sit here watching society scurry. People clamor & move frenetically enroute to nowhere…I sit on the strand staring, as the dawn continues bleeding across the horizon. The ocean spreads out into the distance; a malevolent thing…uncaring. It goes on and on and on. Thank you MRZ for the image. Skate-Ozzie
Cherry Hill. The name is legendary for skateboarders everywhere. It was perfection. Indoor perfection. Make no mistake & don’t twist it up in your head! Cherry Hill WAS the raddest skatepark in the 1970s. Fini. Shogo Kubo & TA came to visit yet ended up staying for a long while, living with the owner. These two vert pioneers loved Cherry Hill that much! It opened in Cherry Hill, NJ, just across the Ben Franklin bridge coming down from Philadelphia, Pa. It contained a halfpipe with an elbow which led into a 3/4 pipe capped with a bowl on its tail end.
Steve Anderson would do rock-n-rolls on the very top of the 3/4 pipe (see GEF sequence). I stood in awe…The park also hosted the famous ‘Egg bowl’, left & right kidneys, a keyhole which was pretty steep & didn’t see much use, and a reservoir bowl area. My friend Jim & I , coerced a ride from my dad one Saturday. He agreed to drive us down there. The journey was a bit over two hours. Jim & I spent the entire ride there, fully padded up in the back of the van, rolling around on the floor doing channel hops and riding the walls of the vehicle. We were acting like a couple of morons. I don’t think that I slept the entire night before…Once there, you pulled up to this non- descript industrial building near rail road tracks. Trash & graffiti was strewn about, but we paid that little attention. We went inside.
There was a long counter with skateboards everywhere. Caster IPS boards, G&S fiberflex decks, day-glo orange, Powell Peralta double beamers, Kryptonics Kbeams and foam core Krypto decks with green urethane edges, Alva & Dogtown boards; I saw these and more. My bulging eyes noticed Jay Adams ‘Flywaway’ helmets, neon green-fingered Sims gloves & Rector pads. I almost fainted. I had never seen so much amazing skateboard gear in my life. Being a poor kid from the farm country of PA, I saw magazine pictures of product and drooled. I would peer closely at the ads for Val Surf, checking out the completes. Powerflex wheels, Santa Cruz 5plys, Rad Pads, Lazer trucks…and on and on.
Being at Cherry Hill was intoxicating! As much as I wanted to skate the park, I also continued to linger over the glass case display of skateboard goodness….They even had skate stickers! Stacks of them. It reminded me of ‘Stuarts Stickers’ mail order ads in the magazine! I couldn’t believe it…just dumbfounded. The smell of grip tape & urethane permeated everything. The front sign- in area & skate shop was separated from the park by a huge wall. You could hear music & skating but could see nothing. The people checked you in & all that, then they scotch-taped a small blue slip of time tape on your helmet. It had the time you entered stamped on it. If you look in the photographs of me riding, you can see one taped on my helmet.
One of the searing memories of my childhood is a follows. Jim & I were signed in & told to “go skate”. We were directed to two huge aluminum swinging doors. Pushing these open was like sliding inside of a woman for the first time. Honest! Devo ‘Gates of steel’ was hammering loudly from the PA system, skateboarders were flying around everywhere. There was the smell of fresh concrete…Gods! I can still smell it in my mind!…it smelled -perfect. I knew that I was exactly where I should be. We went immediately to our left and found ourselves looking into a bowled- in 3/4 pipe connected to a 1/2 pipe about 100 foot in length. We watched a skater thread his way down the half pipe, side-to-side and slide out as he approached the 3/4 pipe area. I looked at Jim and we grinned to each other. “Lets waste no time.”
We went over to the large reservoir and carved it up for a few runs then went to the smaller left kidney. The right kidney was a hot bed of heavy action. I saw someone do a huge rock-n-roll slide and felt my pulse quicken…this was it! I later learned that particular skaters name was Mike Jesiolowski. He was a local & killed the place. There was less activity in the left kidney & keyhole so we kept to these for awhile. Jim & I rode ourselves breathless for a few hours…it was heaven. While taking a break, I peered around. Cherry Hill was like church to me! The owners allowed the visiting pros to spraypaint their names onto the walls throughout the park.
If you look through some of the photographs, you can see the following names. Mike Siegfried, Patti Hoffman, Freddie Desota, Dave Raver Andrecht, Duke Rennie, Shawn Peddie, Fred Blood, Allen Losi, Eric Grisham, Alan Ollie Gelfand & Mike McGill. There were many more names on the hallowed walls of Cherry Hill skatepark & I noticed them all. I had to pinch myself just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. At the time, I was riding a beat up, second hand Kona surf deck with coned Bones Cubics and Lazer trucks. I had cut the board down, repainted & redrilled it so many times, it had something close to a 13 inch wheelbase! It was just junk. While riding, I noticed a really smooth and stylish skater totally decked out in Powell Peralta gear. He was absolutely amazing to watch & he dominated the Egg bowl. I found out that his name was Jami Godfrey. He had a ten year old brother, Dean, who was a ripper as well. Both rode for the Bones Brigade.
The Egg bowl session was incredible. Big, smooth and fast, the pool was perfection. Inverts, airs and long rock-n-roll slides were done by the heavies riding at the time. I got tiles and edgers….but it was enough. After riding & hanging out at the Egg bowl, I went over to the 1/2 pipe and Jami Godfrey joined me there. He & I rode together and had a blast. Jamie gave me pointers on making rock-n-rolls in the half pipe that day…sick! As usual, great things must end & my dad showed up signaling the end of the session. As I left, Jamie Godfrey came up to me with a woman who turned out to be his mother. She was nice & spoke with my dad and I a bit. Then, she walked over behind the counter & came back with one of Godfreys slightly used, purple Ray Bones snub nose decks! She also handed me a brand new set of Cubics and a set of magnesium Tracker six tracks! I was speechless. I almost cried…Elated, I gushed & thanked them immensely. They probably thought I was a goon but I didn’t care. I NEVER had skate gear that nice. I didn’t even want to ride it. I remember not taking my eyes off that stuff for -at least-three days straight. I am a goon.
Anyway, Jamie, Jim & I became fast Cherry Hill pool pals. We rode together whenever Jim & I went to the park. We rode with Shawn Peddie & many others as well. We were ecstatic every single time we went there & neither of us can admit to sleeping a full night if we were bound for Cherry Hill the next day. It is gone now and a hole continues to fester in many a skaters heart. Its probably the same way for Salba when he thinks of Pipeline, or when Tony Hawk thinks of Del Mar skate ranch. I am glad that I was a part of Cherry Hill during its reign as the ‘greatest skatepark ever’. Thanks to Glenn E Friedman for the amazing photographs, my dad & Jim Howell for the others. Skate Long/Skate Strong-Ozzie
Hate. Ignorance & intolerance -combined -will give us more Third Reich, Bosnia & Iraq idiocy. Bloodshed and mayhem will follow. Madrianne Arvore wrote, “Hate cages all the good things about you”. Hate less, live longer. Pat Garcia & Farmboy show us pool love in a hateful world. Thanks to Brian Walnum & MRZ for the images. Go skate & don’t hate. Ozzie
The basic tenet of every religion is love. Skateboarding could be considered a ‘minor’ religion. I love skateboarding! Share the love. Skate Long/Skate strong-Ozzie
Thank you to Mr. Gonzales daughter ‘Tess’ for this photograph.
The modern world around us is filled with distractions. We invent everything, to keep ourselves occupied. People wander through life texting, scrolling and numbly listening to headphones…blocked & insulated away from other human beings. The more the population explodes exponentially, the further we become from each other.
Bruce Lee said, “If every person would help their neighbor, no person would be without help.” Hell! I barely know my neighbors….do you!? If they are anything like the rest of us, at the end of the day, the six pack gets opened, dinner is consumed, the world is locked away ‘out there’ and TV is the new god! Sometimes, for many, the only comfort is the sound of ice falling into a glass of J&B scotch.
However, I digress. Skateboarders are an exception to this. We are usually quite fond of each other. Sure, we may talk smack on others, but as a whole, we will cruise together & hype each other up in a session. Its as though we share a special secret no others can know of. We are the fortunate few. We are not armchair warriors. We live our lives ourselves and not vicariously through another.
Krishnamurti stated that, “…if you live your life through the opinion of another, all you will ever see in yourself is the opinion of others.” Convoluted? No! It makes perfect sense. Society wants us to toe-the-line; follow the rules. Society wants us to obtain a few letters after our names & gain respectability…then be a slave to money until we die. That is safety for society. As skateboarders, we walk to the beat of our own drummer & refuse to go the path others would have us take. We are the fortunate few. Thnx PK, Kyle Lightner, Brian Walnum for photographs, Matt for TA/Jay photo and all my pool pals—Skate Long-Ozzie