Not Enough Middle Fingers

They drove the yawning expanse of concrete that wrapped the city of Los Angeles in a tight grasp. Snarled. Lips curled and cursed as people frantically jostled for position; switching lanes, slowing down and switching back again. The sun glittered on chrome and glass. Frustration rose up with exhaust fumes. Dirt gathered with heaped trash along a guardrail. Someone had sprayed lime green spray paint on an ivy-spangled wall leading down an offramp. It looked like it said, “Not enough middle fingers” The two guys in a silver Toyota truck laughed between themselves. They were skateboarders and they were pool hunting. It struck them as a pretty funny thing to spend time spray painting… The one told the other about some graffiti he saw recently in downtown Los Angeles. It said, “Homeless people + Empty buildings = Society fail.”

They talked about skateboarding and the saturation of fake tough guys. Society is full of them. There always seemed to be an abundance of them.  They both agreed that there was a definite shortage of brains in Washington DC lately. During the election, social media had exposed a good many people for what and who they really are. The two skaters laughed and thought that some of those people may have wanted to keep their opinions to themselves. They cut a slow arc across the San Fernando Valley and started running the grid of side streets and alleyways in the west end. Trash spilled from dumpsters, ice cream vendors pushed little colorful carts in the hot sunlight. Dark eyes flashed from under wide-brimmed hats. They saw a few empty pools but nothing really worth getting into. They’d try and talk with homeowners. If someone lived there, they’d attempt to reach an agreement. Yard work, house repairs, a little cash or some beer… whatever worked. They were stopping for a cold drink and one of them punched up the satellite. A few houses down, he spotted a teardrop shaped pool. It looked pretty good.

 

A few minutes later, the homeowner was standing outside speaking with them. He didn’t seem to understand. He thought that the two skateboarders were there to fine him for the dark green sludge and water that festered in the deep end of the pool. “No sir, we want to empty it for you and skate in it.” The owners daughter came out and explained…Sometime in the next week, they received permission to drain, clean and skate the pool. It was an old one. Blue tiles with fish on them, red bullnose coping, palm trees scraping the hot sky… The skaters were putting away the pump and laughed as the homeowner came out and tried to pay them for cleaning the pool out. “No thanks. Your money is no good here. We are getting to skate the pool… We need nothing else.” So, it was. On a hot summer day, in the San Fernando Valley. Like it always was and always will be.

Charlie Blair / Deathbox

Brad McClain / Disaster

Thank you to MRZ and Deville for the images. Skate – Ozzie

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Neil Blender / Guest Post

Duane Peters

Neil Blender

I remember sometime in late nineteen seventies, I was at Skatopia in Buena Park trying to skate. Suddenly, there’s this dude coming down the halfpipe edging and tapping at will. His style was noticeably intense and his hair was long. I thought he was a crazed hippy. I was hypnotized by his level of commitment. Another time, I was at the Concrete Wave in Anaheim, trying to skate the pool there. It  didn’t seem like they finished the surface very well as the deep end had weird transitions. You had to pump three times, in order to get up the wall. It sounds weird but it’s true. The pool seemed about ten foot deep with about a foot of vert and more on the hips that led up to the shallow end.The coping was kind-of burly and there were tiles too. A few people could pump the deep. I couldn’t but a dude named Andy Helps could and so could Duane.

I was walking out of deep when all of the sudden, here comes Duane straight at me. I though he was pissed but it’s what he does all the time, I later found out. He went past and started “working” the deep. Once again, I was mesmerized by how easy — yet super critical — he made it look. I remember standing at the bottom of hip and watching his tail slide up the tile into a perfect tail tap on the coping, no axle touching.  I couldn’t believe how that had just happened. Steve and Mike Hirsch were probably there too that day. Later on, the Big O opened in Orange and that’s when I started to realize just how intense DP was: 1- The Layback Rollout, 2- The Sweeper, 3- Fast Plants, 4- Fakie Footplant (fakie thruster), 5- Acid Drop, 6- Invert Revert, 7- Sliding Fakie Hangup, 8- Indy Air and various slide moves too. There’s probably more, but those are the roots to most vertical moves.

People shit themselves, when he did an Acid Drop, especially at Upland. Duane was the first guy that I saw, ride Big O’s Capsule end to end. That really helped me to understand the importance of distance between walls. One time a guy was taking too long to walk out of the capsule and Duane just shook his head and said to him “Are you for real?” The dude was slowing the session down and DP gets pissed at that. When you skate with Duane, you feel like you have to start making something happen out of your comfort zone. I feel he influenced everyone that skated with him or simply watched him. If you see one of his current Potato Grinds you will know.- Neil Blender

Thank you to Neil Blender for the Guest Post and William Sharp for the previously unpublished Duane Peters image. Skate- Ozzie

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On the Eighth Day / Cherry Hill

Victor Perez

During the late nineteen seventies, there were skateparks all over the United States. All of the parks had locals that made their park a sanctuary. It was like a religious cult where many in the community would come on a regular basis to share their bond by skating together. We all believed in the same things and read the same scripture, SkateBoarder Magazine.

Jami Godfrey

Eric Grisham

From a true miracle, in nineteen seventy eight, Cherry Hill Skate Park was born.  It was a miracle because there were no other parks designed like it. First, it was indoors, so it could be ridden all year round on the east coast. Second, it featured unheard of terrain for its time. Lastly, it brought the top disciples of skateboarding to unveil it to its followers.     

Mike Jesiolowski R.I.P.

Word spread quickly of the glory of its creation. For the scriptures showed the best riders grinding its three quarter pipe and airing its egg pool. The skaters from the New Jersey skateparks like Vineland, Seaside Heights, and Thunder Dome in York, Pa. came. They came from Crofton and Ocean Bowl in Maryland. New York’s Sonic Wave in Albany. They came from Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island and other states too. Then more came back with the disciples from the promised land of California. To those that rode Cherry Hill, it was glorious.  

Mike Hirsch

Jamie Mosberg

Eric Grisham

Papo Cappello

The locals that lived close to CHSP were privileged to be in close proximity to it. Many from afar were there often as well:  Evan Feen from Rhode Island, Tim Cunningham and Mike Maxwell from Virginia, Jamie Mosberg, Papo Cappello and Kevin Cook from New York made frequent pilgrimages to ride this true oasis. These riders were there so often, they were as much a local as myself or Tom Groholski. Jay Adams, Tony Alva, and Shogo Kubo were some of the first of skateboarding’s ‘greatest’ to ride this park. More than once, I’ve heard these legends compared to as ‘higher powers’ in regards to their abilities on a skateboard! For all locals and visiting ‘greats’ that rode CHSP, you sure were a part of something divine.

Victor Perez

Words by Jami Godfrey.  Images by Cody Letsinger. 

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This Is Your Life

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Headlights fucked the dirt road they were crawling up. Piercing. They poked a bright hole in front of them. Night had oozed across the hillsides as the sun lent itself to another part of the planet. A faint smear of red hung on the ridges to the west. The driver and passengers shifted uncomfortably. The young men were sure the old nudist colony was somewhere ahead of them. Friends spoke of it in awe. It wasn’t the legendary stories regarding the hotel and its reputed famous clientele that had them bouncing up a desert road after dark, it was the huge empty kidney-shaped swimming pool that perched on the hillside just below the ruins of this once secretive weekend getaway. The skateboarder’s blood pulsed and thrummed. By all accounts, the pool was massive.

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They laughed, smoked weed and traded stories that they had heard. Post war America. Rat pack. Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and subtle innuendo. Hollywood heavyweights would drive out from Los Angeles and spend the weekend sipping drinks in the hot sun. Gorgeous, big breasted girls would be on hand… to lend a hand, a mouth, or whatever else might strike the fancy of the famous visitors. Stories had been passed down all over the local area. Legend has it that Frank Sinatra looked down at the pretty girl kneeling in front of him as he zipped up the fly on his pants. When she said, “Will there be anything else?” He smiled and quipped, “Brush your teeth, honey.” The nineteen fifties in America were a time of hubris. The war years were behind them. Adolf’s Aryan dream had burnt around him and–cowering and sweat-soaked–he put a Walther pistol in his mouth and ended his life in a dank, Berlin bunker. At least he was still on the stage when the curtain fell. He could’ve done the world a favor and followed through with that plan far, far earlier.

Southern California flourished in the new optimistic mood of the country. People moved towards the Los Angeles area in huge numbers. They were building homes, putting in swimming pools, buying new cars, going to the movies… life was good again. Developers built from Los Angeles eastward. The desert was a dry and desolate place. Engineers tunneled under hillsides and built dams and waterways. They rerouted water. The thirsty desert lapped it up. Freeways were poured. The asphalt ribbons of road, wound and twisted on themselves. Concrete, bricks and mortar rose up out of the earth at every turn. The railroads were already in place. Decades gone. The Chinese labor force buried beside the tracks they toiled on for so many years. Progress. Expansion at any cost. The guys in the car knew that there was always a cost. Ultimately someone paid. They crunched over a narrow gully and found themselves on a flat plateau… it was dark but they could see the outline of an empty swimming pool spread out before them. ” We’re here…” The skateboarders set up a tent by the glare of the cars headlights and built a small fire. The orange flames cast wavering shadows on the pool walls and the skaters drank beer and passed a joint back and forth. They told stories and their words and laughter rose up with the smoke. They talked about the lines they would draw in the pool the next day.

The skaters slept under the desert night. One of them sat awake outside. The cold uncaring stars glittered. He let the ancient desert seep into him. Wind fluttered the tent flaps. The foundation slab and ruins of the old nudist colony resort loomed in the background barely visible by the dying firelight. “Fitting…” he mumbled quietly.  A dying fire. A long dead resort. The whole area seemed that way to him. It was like the desert didn’t want them there. Mankind was pushing into the desert… the desert was pushing back. It was reclamation on a purely primitive scale. As he went to sleep that night, the skateboarder realized that wherever they looked for pools, they always ended up in the remains of someone’s broken discarded dream.

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The Nude Bowl –as it came to be known–is one of many abandoned pools that litter the east Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Indio and Salton Sea areas. With temperatures topping out in the one hundred and twenties at times, swimming pools became ubiquitous. A necessity. During the post war era, investors scrambled to keep up with the American Dream by putting in neighborhood after sprawling neighborhood on the long winding Interstates that run east to west. Palm Springs became a retirement and golf destination. The Salton Sea, which is south of Palm Springs, was developed as a boating resort in the nineteen fifties and held major boat races on its fifteen by thirty mile surface. Movie stars made the drive to its glimmering waters. Jet boats ripped across the lake and the hotels, bars and clubs began doing a brisk weekend business. The lakes salt content began steadily increasing over the decades and this began killing off the fish. Masses of dead fish soon washed ashore… a rapid decline in tourism occurred, the area foundered and the Salton Sea shoreline is now largely abandoned. Inhabitants are a mixed settlement of stubborn original residents, people on the run from a less-than-laudable past or just those that lead a bleak nomadic life. Through this dystopian wilderness, skateboarders scoured the run down and abandoned hotels along the north shore. Pools were drained. With the exception of the squalor, danger, smell of rotting fish, clouds of flies and brain-boiling heat, it was a paradise for the skaters.

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The skateboarders at the Nude Bowl rose early. Sun split rocks, stone and very little else were to be seen. The skeletal remains of the hotel were long gone. The foundation was a huge thick slab of smooth graffiti-covered concrete. Around the area, chunks of cinder block and fragments of walls sprouted out of the earth. It was difficult to believe that this place was once a desired destination in any way …  It seemed as though nothing lived. No animals, no insects, no birds or people, nothing. Here and there, a small cactus nosed its relentless face out of the barren, rocky ground. Even they looked like green bones. The skateboarders started into the pool early. The searing heat was quickly felt, even by ten in the morning. They cut into the face wall and carved quick lines, surf turning and slashing the vertical surface. They talked quietly among themselves about how skating had originated from surfing and what it meant to them. They talked about heroes of the past, old desert pools — now gone — and nearby Mt. Baldy with its giant spillway and pipe, the top of the mountain, which could barely be seen in the distance. Legendary places and names were invoked. Baldy Pipe. Date Bowl. L-Pool. Tony Alva, Jerry Valdez, Tay Hunt, Gunnar Haugo, Kent Senatore, Gregg Ayres, Jon Warneke. The skateboarders knew the history of the area and its pioneers. For them, pool skateboarding was a minor religion. It wasn’t a fad, a sport or a hobby. Skateboarding was life.

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Gregg Ayres at Mt. Baldy pipe

Jerry Valdez at the L-Pool

Jerry Valdez at the L-Pool

They rode the Nude Bowl until it became a hothouse. The skateboarders climbed into the car and drove into nearby Joshua Tree for lunch and camping supplies. They had cell phone reception and called some friends to join them for the night. In hours, they were back by the edge of the pool. Two trucks of friends had arrived. Drinks were poured, the unmerciful sun waned and the temperature soon dropped. Skating began in earnest. The friends that joined them had been in Borrego Springs, on the edge of the Salton Sea. They had bucketed a huge old pool out there for several hours. The skateboarders had been startled by the sound of car doors closing. They were shocked when legendary skateboarder Tony Alva walked around the corner. The skaters at the Nude Bowl laughed in amazement. It really must have been something. Tony Alva was considered by many to be the Godfather of pool skating. A good day indeed.

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Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

The night ended with all of the friends sitting around a small fire. They talked among themselves as all skaters will do. Shit talk. They gave each other a hard time but it was only in good fun. Contests were spoken of and old pools that had been bulldozed long ago. Sacred spots. Legendary skateboarders were compared and they argued about who did what trick the best. All of these things were brought out into the firelight, polished, examined and put back away. It was a time-honored tradition. The firelight sputtered and a clink of bottles coming together in a toast was carried off with the wind as the night swallowed them up.

Shawn Ahringhoff at Nude Bowl

Shawn Ahringhoff at Nude Bowl

Marlon Whitfield at Nude Bowl

Marlon Whitfield at Nude Bowl

The next morning found them driving back to the world that awaited each of them. Jobs, family, weekend-ending rituals were on their minds. They split off and some of them drove into Palm Springs for one last grid search. A friend had told the crew about a possible empty pool in an old nineteen fifties neighborhood. He admitted that he was no skateboarder, but the pool looked pretty round. They decided that it was worth a look and shortly before nine o’clock, they were pulled up outside of the house. One of them checked the gates. It was definitely an empty house. The side gate was latched. No lock. He reported back. Water in the deep end. It could be bucketed in no time. They spoke quickly and quietly. Each man had his task. It was a high end neighborhood and it was Sunday morning. Sleepy. Nothing moved and no dogs barked. They slipped inside the property.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Bulldog at Palm Springs

Bulldog at Palm Springs

Rick Stine at Palm Springs

Rick Stine at Palm Springs

Each man took the inherent risks in stride. Trespassing and potential charges are always in the back of each skaters mind. They did what they did in order to be what they are. If that meant, shoveling dirt out of a half-filled pool for two days straight, so be it. Every single one of these skateboarders has been in the pool hunting game most of their skateboarding life. They’ve bucketed the filthiest pools one could imagine. Most defy polite description. Dog feces, human excrement, piss, diapers, syringes, slimy condoms, oil, car batteries, tires, dead dogs, car parts, pieces of buckled walls and cinderblocks, paint… it goes on and on. They are discoverers. Artists. They seek out these fragmented pieces of this broken America, they take it out of the muck, lift it up to the light, clean its surface and ultimately express themselves. It was this way with skateboardings pioneers, and it will probably always be this way. – Ozzie Ausband / West Hollywood, CA.

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David Hackett / Guest Post

David Hackett

David Hackett

Whenever I hear the phrase “Back in the Day” it really represents the era in pool skateboarding, between 1974 and 1978. I think more bounderies were broken, lines invented and empty backyard pools found than ever before. This photo reminds me of that precious time because it encompasses all those qualities- yet it was taken in 1983, a few years after I grinded over my first deathbox and seventeen years before we started DEATHBOX® Skateboards. Aaron Sedway shot this photo of me at the “BirdBowl” in Beverly Hills.  It’s always been one of my personal favorite shots, but I really didn’t remember that Sedway shot it or that the pool was called “BirdBowl” until Ozzie graciously asked me to write a little something about it. There is much I could write about backyard pool riding, as I rode my first pool in 1972. (That’s over forty years now)  I got to ride some of the greatest pools in skateboarding history including, Rabbit Hole, Canyon Pool, OG DogBowl, Keyhole, Elephant Country, L-Pool, FruitBowl, Arthurs, Skyline, Soul Bowl, Skull Bowl, San Juan Pool, and hundreds of others over the years. But I think — for this piece —  I would like to talk about the importance and power of a great photo and how to create one.

You know, back in the day, cell phones and digital video and digital still-shot cameras didn’t exist for us. Heck, we didn‘t have cell phones either! We really had to rely on cameras with film (so you never knew what you were shooting until you developed the film) or very large and obnoxious VHS video camera that weighed twenty pounds and had to sit on your shoulder to get any footage. So as a result of all that, most of us just focused on finding pools and riding them. Some of us knew photographers who we could bring to pools or spots and record the session or try and create a shot that would be remembered forever. This was really the golden age of skateboarding. A photograph of a single image in skateboarding, I believe is SO much more powerful than a moving sequence. It leaves so much more to the viewers’ imagination, and you had to wait a whole month for it to come out in a magazine! I think Lance Mountain captured this reality in his new book titled “On my Wall” perfectly. In his book Lance states “Those first images in the magazines expanded my idea of what was possible on a skateboard…You would just see a skater in a wild position and try and understand how he got there and if they were able to land it.”  Lance goes on to say more about how powerfully inspirational some of the early images were, that inspired us all to go out and find the pools and recreate or create a new insanely iconic or radical Image. (I highly recommend picking up a copy of his new book!)

I have been very fortunate to have been shot by some of the greatest skateboard photographers in the world such as, Craig Fineman, Wynn Miller, Craig Stecyk, Glen Friedman, Jim Goodrich, Stan & Bill Sharp, and of course Daniel Harold Sturt (who shot the image of me doing the Loop of Death-  Padless.) This brings me to the topic of what and how some of the greatest and most iconic skateboard photos were created. What exactly are the elements of an iconic photo? In my opinion, it comes down to three elements. 1) The terrain. It should be either a new challenge or obstacle.  Some that come to mind are The Loop of Death, The Great Wall of China and the Guitar Sign at the Hard Rock Cafe. All are locations of iconic photos. 2) A new move (or trick) something that is new, cutting edge and radical!  3) The MOST important thing I believe is STYLE!  Every iconic image, all the way back to Tony Alva’s first perfect tuck-knee frontside air in the DogBowl, to Jay Adam’s frontside snap at Krypto Bowl, where his Tracker Trucks and Green Kryptonics are hitting the coping so hard, it’s literally lifting from the force, were done without safety equipment of any kind. Now I’m not endorsing anyone to ride helmetless and padless, but there is just something SO Pure about just you, your skateboard, and the terrain that makes a photo timeless. Now go skateboarding! Wear your helmet!
God Bless, HACKMAN!
Thank you to David Hackett for the words and Aaron Sedway for the image. Skate – Ozzie

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Peace

Kent Senatore

Kent Senatore

Kent Senatore

They say, “You can never go back”, it’s a lie. Yes you can. They also say, “Things change, but they stay the same”… some might argue, others would agree, but does any of what “They” say even matter? No, of course not, what matters is that we keep on going, happy or sad, right or wrong… no matter what they say we keep on going, because we simply have no other choice.

Tony Alva has kept on going through the thick and thin and so have BB, Deano, William, Lance, Rick, Ozzie, and I. We’ve kept on going because it’s all we know, because it’s how we identify ourselves, and how we challenge ourselves.

I’m grateful we had this chance to skate together, even though it felt odd to me, like some sort of surreal replay of a battle we’d fought decades ago, a battle of egos. I can tell you, from my perspective, nothing has changed. Tony still sat us all down, just like he always has. He remains the king! BB? Still as photogenic as ever! Deano, just hot man, sooo hot! Lance, nursing a recent injury, sat on the sideline hungry to join in, he lightened the mood with an occasional humorous tension breaker like only he can! Rick and Ozzie pushed us all with their own mastery of the coping, and William –as always –caught every instant perfectly… it was dreamlike. A day such as this had certainly never happened before, and it will probably never happen again. It was that kind of day. Thanks to all!

Kent Senatore, Deano Mueller, William Sharp, Tony Alva, Brad Bowman and perfect photobomb by Lance Mountain

Kent Senatore, Deano Mueller, William Sharp, Tony Alva, Brad Bowman and perfect photobomb by Lance Mountain

William Sharp

Back in the late seventies, I was shooting for a magazine and was able to photograph a lot of rad skaters, like Tony Alva, Kent Senatore, Brad Bowman,and Deano Mueller, to name a few. We were all young and full of life back then, cocky in a youthful kinda way. Good times. I didn’t really know how good I had it back then. But I knew I dug it and was going to enjoy it as long as I could. Jump ahead, thirty-five plus years and here we are again, in a backyard pool, stoking to session like the old days. We had a great time reminiscing about past pools, stoked that we were all together again and pumped that everybody was still skating great and making new memories. Good times all over again.

Rick, Lance, Kent, TA, BB, Deano, Me

Rick, Lance, Kent, TA, BB, Deano, Me

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Deano Mueller

It was amazing to see all of my old friends in one special pool. After many years, seeing Mr Bill Sharp again was great as well. It was amazing to see Tony, Kent, Lance, Rick, BB and Ozzie.  There was so much style in the pool at once. The last time I was in the pool with some of these guys was at the Dogbowl Pro at Marina Skatepark competing with them. It was a professional contest and it was gnarly and heavy.  You definitely left what you got in the pool. These dudes are the best in the world!  I much prefer this time around. Hanging out, sessions in the backyard, truly doing and sharing what we love to do. I have an enormous amount of respect for each and every one, who brought their goods to the table and especially Mr. Tony Alva, Brad Bowman & Kent Senatore, for leading the way with their own style, grace and wisdom through out all the early years. Also, I must mention the wonderful Mr. Bill Sharp on how his amazing work, style and everlasting brotherhood has kept us all together in a way like no other.
“Much Love to All my Brothers in Arms “
Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

Wednesday night text. Heads up! Dry and sunny tomorrow, skate session is on!
Thursday morning I woke up a bit unnerved from a text the previous night about
something/someone at work. I had no memory of it and, although it was nothing in the
end, I still was unnerved. Mostly because I had wracked my brain the whole night trying
to find the nucleus of the emotional unnerving but could not come up with it. Did I say
words that I actually have no recollection of? If so- life is getting scary now. Was I
entering the phases of temporary amnesia? Or worse- Ronald Reagans Alzheimers?
Age is a big factor in the science of memory, they say. Them. Those people that we all

designate yet never identify other than “them”. Whatever. I’m choosing Life, and skateboarding brings me life.

All I knew is that I needed a skate session to neutralize all of it. One that was comfortable and appreciated. An empty backyard pool. These are always appreciated and generally don’t take too long to become comfortable in, with the help of your crew. Uplifting comments, one liners and an occasional outburst are enough to make one feel the sense of belonging in these situations. And belonging means that your soul and mind are open and free to excel at whatever artistic expression one desires.

Positivity always carries weight, especially with comrades from decades past whom are still six feet above ground. In this age of instant globalization where one photo can be on seven continents and in millions of personal devices in the blink of an eye, its the personal things that still matter most. Face to face meetings, story sharing and raw energy bouncing off of each other. Always there is a nucleus, one thing that brings all the elements together. Today it was one Ozzie Ausband. A nucleus that many want to be near these days for his knowledge of perfect cement holes in the ground we call play places. An east coast man with a long life story of adventure, destruction, reassessment, reinvention, contentment and love. He put together a skateboard session for the ages with a crew that hadn’t been assembled for possibly thirty years.

It was a sunny, fast, hard session that will stay burned in my memory for, hopefully, the remainder of my time vertical here on the rock.Thank you Rick Stine, Ozzie Ausband, William Sharp, Tony Alva, Kent Senatore, Lance Mountain, Deano Mueller & Rose for making it a fantastic afternoon. And in the future- if you see a skinny balding pre-senior caucasian wondering around aimlessly, point him towards Hollywood and send him along his way. Muchas gracias.

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Who would have thought, that all my West side boys would be either gone or just over the idea of skating a good pool. I still love it. Especially after surfing Zuma in the morning. Back in my youth, we never associated amicably with the dudes from the valley. My how times and brotherly love have changed that type of thinking. We had an awesome time ripping during this session. No attitudes, all fun. I’m stoked on my old school posse’ that is still riding pools. When in the Val, do as the Valleys do. Shut up and skate. For your information, I was outnumbered four to one. Wisdom, tolerance and peace prevails.

Thank you to William Sharp for the images and words. Thank you to Kent Senatore, Deano Mueller, Tony Alva, Rick Stine, Brad Bowman, Lance Mountain for helping out, being there and being who they are. I am grateful. Skate- Ozzie

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San Juan Pool / Haunted Hole

San Juan Pool / Haunted Hole

Kelly Bellmar / San Juan Pool

Dave Duncan

In the late eighties, there really were no skateparks. We had pools and backyard ramps. We were on full pool missions back then. These were the Alva Posse times. The San Juan pool happened around that time. I was working at Alva in San Juan Capistrano. One day at the factory, a guy told me that he’d been to a Halloween party at this old mansion on a hill. There were actually two pools on the property. We went up there and the place was abandoned.

Dave Duncan

Dave Duncan

Something bad had occurred with the people who had lived there. There was a square pool and a round one. They were filled with green, crappy water. We stuck a garden hose in the square pool and drained it but it was junk. We put the garden hose in the round pool and drained it down a hill. It slowly emptied and it took days… Once emptied, it was so good. It saw some unreal sessions. The pool had several lives. It was filled with dirt, then it was jackhammered…  and resurrected again. It was one of the best pools ever. Charleston Hanger ramp was fashioned after it by Tim Paine. The face wall was very round and it half-piped back into the shallow end. A bunch of heavy sessions went down in that thing. The Alva crew. It was ours. We were there all the time. – Dave Duncan

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

This Venice local Tonan, he was living in San Clemente at the time. He worked at Alva. He got wind of this abandoned mansion. I heard that a guy lived there and supposedly killed his whole family in the house. Crazy shit. Murder scene. Tonan got intel on the pool. We’d all go up there…  We ended up draining it. I actually drained it with TA and the Alva crew. It is the only pool I ever actually recall draining with TA, so it stands out in my mind. When we first skated it, we were like, “Oh shit. This thing is unbelievable.” It was like a side-to-side capsule. Elongated. We called it ‘Time Capsule’ but Thrasher came and shot photographs for an article and they called it ‘Haunted Hole’. It was an amazing pool.

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

The shape was great. The transitions were really good. There was a deathbox on the middle of the face wall, firecracker coping, side ladders… It was great. The Alva Posse took it apart. It lasted awhile…  It’s hard to recall how long it lasted anymore. It got jackhammered and then patched. John Lloyd lived near there and ripped it really hard with his brother Joe. The surface was slow after the patches were put in. When it was first going, it was pretty unbelievable the things that went down in that pool. There were only a handful of times that the Alva Posse ever rode together in a pool in the mid to late eighties. The San Juan pool was one of them.- Darrel Delgado

Eric Dressen

Eric Dressen

Eddie Reategui

I remember when Alva moved down to the San Clemente area. Dave Duncan was the team captain. I remember Duncan saying that he knew there was a pool up on a hillside nearby at an old abandoned property. Finally one day, they went up and found two pools. They put a garden hose in there and started draining it. Everyday, it went down about a foot. Day after day, it looked better and better. One day, Duncan called me and said, “Dude. This pool is unreal. You have to come.” We got there and it was basically just us. The Alva crew and some friends.

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

The guy that really blew it was John Lucero. We told everyone, “Keep it quiet. Keep it quiet.” One day I pulled up and there was John Lucero. Tony said, “You better not tell anyone…” The very next day, Lucero showed up with a bunch of people and after that, everybody found out about it. He told someone and they told someone and it was over after that… we did have it for like a month to ourselves though. Just us. Overnight, it was crazy. Big parties. Someone lit the house on fire… out of control. It didn’t last that long. We’d go there and it seemed like a hundred people were there. Blown out. The local authorities quickly put an end to it. That pool had perfect transitions. I could do frontside inverts in it. Beautiful pool. The house had some bad vibes to it. The pool was quiet and peaceful though. I’d just sit there by the pool and listen to the birds… One of my favorites. – Eddie Reategui

Cooksie

Cooksie

Chuck Hults

I wasn’t one of the first to ride the San Juan pool. When I went there, the house was still standing. When I went back, it was destroyed. We skated it for awhile. It was filled in with dirt and it got dug back out. It was jackhammered. Kelly Bellmar and Chicken went in and patched it themselves. Tony Alva rode that pool really well. The shallow end had gnarly transitions. Steep. Most people avoided that area and would go into a figure eight line in the deep end. Tony would hit the face wall, come way into the shallow past the ladder, do a three block long micro edger and then head back into the bowl. I’ll never forget it. Some guys would half pipe it. The deep end was good. The coping was raw. It was as raw as it could be. Firecracker. Chris Miller ripped it. Here’s a Duane Peters story: We came early one day. Someone had spray painted on the pool wall, “Duane rules pools…” or something about Duane being awesome. Duane showed up that morning, grabbed some paint and painted over the words and then just left. That was pretty rad.

Chuck Hults

Chuck Hults

Kelly Bellmar

Kelly Bellmar

Kelly Belmar and I were going to see Devo at the Coachhouse nearby. We got there early, so we went up to skate the pool. We arrived and there were guys that had driven a ways that were camping there and bucketing the pool. We helped them bucket the pool and emptied it so they could ride. We went to the concert. When it was over, we came outside and it was pouring rain. The poor guys didn’t get much time to skate… Kelly ripped that pool. He did inverts, rolled in…  He basically dominated.- Chuck Hults

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

The San Juan pool was a big part of the Alva Posse days in San Clemente. We’d go up there and ride every day. It was our spot. We had it to ourselves for a little while. The thing I really remember about that pool were the Texans. John Tex Gibson and Craig Johnson. Tex and Craig made that pool look like a mini ramp. They killed it. They were doing vert ramp sized airs and crushing it everywhere. They took a doubles run, doing figure eights together and then they both went over the ladders on both sides simultaneously… They were ripping so hard. They’d go to the shallow end, smoke a fatty, swig a beer and go back at it. Those two guys were gnarly skaters. The Texans… Besides Eddie Reategui, they were the best. John Lloyd too. He was gnarly. – Tony Alva

Thank you to Aaron Sedway for the beautiful images. Thank you to Chuck Hults for his images as well. Thank you to Darrel Delgado, Eddie Reategui, Tony Alva, Chuck Hults and Dave Duncan for their memories. Skate- Ozzie

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