“It is the surmounting of difficulties that make heroes.”-Louis Kossoth. I read this quote one day recently. I was reminded of Jeff Grosso. I had skated Combi pool & ‘Ridiculous’ the other weekend with him. I asked him about his skating & he told me that he had recently started riding again. He had been off his board for almost a year. He was injured, you see? Now, I’m 46 years old, and I know how difficult injuries are to overcome. Jeff is younger than I, but if he was off his board for almost a year, I knew his return was probably arduous…a difficult path to be sure. He rode Combi pool, with power, speed & style. Jeff was very approachable & mellow. He seemed happy to be riding his skateboard. It was inspiring to see him with Salba, Lance & Omar. Four pool riding greats under one roof. Inspiration. Thanks to Ray Zimmerman for the image. Go out & destroy some coping this weekend. -Ozzie
To be soulful. Surfers speak of it often. I have been told that when a person is surfing, they feel as though they are a part of the ocean; at one with nature. It stirs something within them and makes them feel complete & at peace. Time ceases to exist. It is only them & the ocean. All life has come full circle. I think that this is probably true as well with skateboarding. Maybe, I don’t have the moving, rolling green sea around me, but the feelings that skating evokes, are the same. I am one in the moment–complete. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the ‘Soulbowl’ image. Go skate & escape. -Ozzie
Riverside Shawn works in construction. He found this filthy little nugget on a Tuesday. By Friday, He & Ed had the water out of it. I received a phone call early Sunday morning from Salba. “Where are you?” I told him what was going on & he directed me to meet up with him and, “….bring buckets & gloves dude.” Myself, Ed & Shawn drove over & started pulling debris out of this ghetto ‘Blue Haven’ with Salba , Billy & Adam.
This boarded-up, abandoned disaster was right out of the ‘California Apocalypse’. You cannot fathom just how filthy this pool was! The meth-heads & squatters had pulled the copper & innards out of every single appliance in the area, throwing it into the pool. There were wires, diapers, concrete slabs from the ‘cool deck’, bottles, cans, tires, ‘tupperware’ containers of rotting food & bloated disintegrating “somethings” in the black water. It was a tangled profusion of detritus. I would pull on a snarl of wire & debris, and muck would fly all over the place. We gave up, trying to stay remotely disease-free.
It was going to be one of those days. I heard a noise & looking up, saw Tony Trujillo, Rick Charnoski & Peter Hewitt saunter into the backyard. Peter Hewitt took one hard look at the pool & quipped, “I don’t think you want to fall while skating in there.” Salba directed everyone, tasks were handled & slowly the pool became clean. Adam 12 & Sean Mazza, borrowed buckets of clean water from a neighbor. We washed it down & everyone removed their shirts to ‘fan-dry’ the pool.
The blow-by-blow; Peter Hewitt- FS lightbox, shallow stairs FS and Mach5 were achieved. Salba-FS lightbox, side stairs & lightbox/cess/bs box. Damn! Adam 12- shallow stairs BS. Bad Billy- BS lightbox. Sean Mazza- destroyer lines, lightbox. Trujillo- Ipod/earplugs/cheering. Charnoski- nursing hangover with 3 hrs sleep/bleary eyed. Me- FS box, BS air. It was super fun…but I am still waiting to look down & see my skin dissolving from some strange new bacteria, found only in the ‘pathogenic pool.’ Thanks to Ed for the images. Skate & carry hand sanitizer. Ozzie
Today, we are trying something new. Jon Spooner, Zach Petschek & I, have been trying to get ‘Shrelp’ off the ground. ‘Shrelp’ is a stock skateboard photography agency. I will be posting ‘Blue Tile Obsession’ at the ‘Shrelp’ site, in the hopes that people will take a closer look. Please click the link for todays post. Thanks- Ozzie
Style is everything. Watching Buster Halterman skate the barn ramp in Wellsville, Pennsylvania, back in the 90s, I had the chance to see plenty of style. The guy looked stylish even when he was falling…its absurd. Blaize Blouin was a stylish guy as well, and we all love Chris Miller’s style. In an interview, Steve Caballero stated to me that, “Its important for the rider to make a trick look as big & stylish as possible…it is everything.” Skateboarding style has changed, in conjunction with the way skateboarding has evolved. Back in the 1960s & 1970s, people would ride in a very ‘surf-oriented’ style. Now, there are street styles, switch- stance styles, vert styles & good old-fashioned slasher styles. One thing still holds true. We all know a great style when we see it. Aaron Astorga definitely has it on ‘lock.’ Thank you to Peter King for the image of Aaron Astorga at Mt. Helix. Skate-Ozzie
Salba usually has a birthday gig somewhere…its a yearly event. We watch the band, listen to great music, then skate some roundwall the next day. This year, we headed over to Fullerton. It was a Friday night & the rain flooded the freeways. It took Sam & I, over an hour and a half to drive from ‘Ridiculous’. Peter King, Chuck Hults, Sean Mazza, & Ray Zimmerman were there. Chuck Hults was summoned to the stage & proceeded to slay everyone with a few really awesome DEVO tunes. When I looked around, all I saw were happy faces. Brian Brannon made the journey up onto the stage & played with Powerflex5 as well. They performed an old John Lee Hooker blues tune. It was a stellar night & I cannot wait to see Powerflex5 the next time out. Happy Birthday to Salba! Thank you to Peter King & Ray Zimmerman for the images. Skate-Ozzie
‘Aesthetics’- concerning the appreciation for beauty or good taste. I have a strange fascination with pool hunting. I always look for pools that are pleasing to the eye. I seek out quiet cul-de-sacs, hiding right-hand kidney pools. I love huge green palm trees hanging overhead, rustling their fronds in the hot sun. I love pools without graffiti. I love the white plaster & glimmering blue-green tiles that march around the top curving lip. I love the shallow stairs ‘wedding cake’. I love the deathbox with all its inherent danger & pure absolute bliss. I love the aesthetics of backyard pools. I know that I am not alone. There is something that calls out to us when we see a mid- cup in the shadows of a palm tree. It calls to us…aesthetics. Thanks to MRZ for the images. Skate-Ozzie
I moved to San Diego in 1997. I had already visited California several times a year & ridden with Salba & friends for quite some time. I was in California less than a month, when one day, I drove up to Ontario/Upland to visit Salba. He was watching his two sons, Jesse & Riley. Riley was a tiny guy at the time. Salba asked me if I wanted to go drive the grid awhile with one of his friends until he could get away. I -of course- readily agreed.
A guy showed up to Salbas house a bit later. He was driving a huge white tow truck. He gave me a quick glance & told me, “I’m Bunk. Climb in.” We drove the neighborhoods & alleys of Upland, Montclair & Ontario. The entire time, Bunk informed me of tips to spot pools, what to look for & the rules of the game. He nosed the big truck into a narrow alley in a shithole neighborhood just north of the I-10. Broken, rusting automobiles, tires, beer cans, glass & discarded furniture lay everywhere. Spray painted gang signs called out to trespassers, “Stay the hell away!”
Bunk grinned & told me to get out & climb up on the back. “Get up there dude.” He directed me up on the big black boom arm that usually tows cars. I squatted on the thing & Bunk dropped the truck into low gear. We oozed up the alleyway, the big tires crunching over refuse & trash, while I spotted for pools from my lofty perch. We saw eight or nine, if I recall, and Bunk had me shoot images for Salbas review later, He noted street names, cross streets & landmarks. It was one of my first pool hunting lessons & I will never forget my pool hunt with Bunk…in his tow truck.
Awhile into the search, his CB radio squawked & he motioned that it was time to go. A stranded motorist needed help. Bunk proved a big help to me as well. What I learned that day, has led me to find many pools on my own. This image that Ray Zimmerman shot, is of Bunk at one of my pool finds. Good vibes always come back. Bunk sent one out & there we are. Skate-Ozzie
‘La dolce vita’ means ‘The sweet life’. We have it. We fortunate few skateboarders. We found a way out of the mundane & a place to escape mediocrity. We destroy fear & better ourselves everytime we skate. We have ‘the sweet life’. Today is my 2 year anniversary CLEAN & SOBER. I made it two years & my life has become sooooo much better. I may not have many possessions, but I have enough & I am finally living. Stoked! Thanks to MRZ, Geoff Graham & Seb Carayol for the sweet images. Skate-Ozzie