Jami Godfrey

 

winter

The winter is in full grip here on the East Coast but the desire to ride transition is stronger than the cold weather. While on the left coast for The El Gato Classic, it seemed to me that there is a sweet skate spot around every corner.  Back home on the right coast, opportunities to skate are fewer and far between – especially for a fifty year old with two active kids and a business to run.

When it was listed I would be attending The El Gato Classic, Brian Finn reached out to me to see if I wanted to skate.  He built a huge vertramp in his warehouse. I gladly accepted his offer and made several trips to his house to get back into skating again after a long hiatus from skating vert. For me, everything seemed new again since my skating sessions were few and far between over the past twenty years.  Brian’s ramp is big and gnar. Over two feet of vert is not the way to ease your way back into the challenges of skating. The sessions were fun – just me Brian and Anthony Anastasio. There was no pressure, just three friends enjoying that feeling of weightlessness on vert. At first we were all a bit rusty, but soon we were all getting back in to the swing.

After three or four sessions at Finns ramp, Anthony mentioned that friends were building a pool in a warehouse. He showed me and Brian a picture of this virgin pool that was still curing. From the picture, I knew I wanted to ride it. This pool is reminiscent of the pools that spoiled me during my days as a full-fledged Bones Brigade airman. It’s also the reason I faded from skating for so many years! No concrete. No curves to carve for decades faded my desire to challenge Isaac Newton’s laws of gravity for many years!

Jami Godfrey - El Gato Classic

Jami Godfrey – El Gato Classic

It’s Eddie Elguera that reconnected me with this lost love.  The invitation I received from Eddie to go to his reunion of my Gold Cup Series competitors sparked a flame. I asked Anthony if we could go up upon my return from the El Gato Classic. I was fresh home from California with some great pools and loads of old friends to stoke me. I made the effort to get a group to skate this fresh new pool. I contacted Anthony, Brian, Tom Boyle, & Charles Treece. All were hopeful to skate, but in the end it was just me and Brian that were able to commit. With Anthony unable to skate, Patrick Guidutti reached out to us since he has access to the key.  The last time I skated with Patrick Guidotti was also the first time –  almost two years ago at Falls Township public skatepark in Bucks County, PA.  Patrick’s style and bag of tricks was bewildering to me, especially since we were riding a mini ramp that he rips like it’s a vert ramp.  I was stoked for the chance to see him ride this new pool and grateful that he invited us to go along.

 

It was February 12th and winter was still torturing the Right Coast!  Brian and I met on the PA Turnpike to start our journey for a two hour drive to this fresh secret pool. The ride with Brian passed quickly as we drove through some heavy snow squalls and spoke of my recent sojourn out West. We spoke of many we knew from our past like Tom Groholski and how he blazed on at skating long after I took a hiatus from skating. We spoke of Sean Miller and how the rest of the world was discovering his talents just prior to his tragic death. Brian Spoke of Tom Boyle and how he lives so close to him yet rarely skates! I told Brian that I knew we’d get to skate with Tom soon. Just a few winter sessions with good friends is all it took for me to realize why I still skate. At fifty years of age, looking back, I realize the talents I mastered as a teenager have withered a bit, but I can still do it and do it cautiously!  In 1980, no one thought that some of us would still skate, but if you can do it why lose it!

 

As we got to the supposed location of  this warehouse we called our host Patrick and there was no answer from his phone. We knew we were in the right area but we were just not sure which door was the right one. The door that held secrets from the throngs of other skaters that wanted to skate a pool. We came this far and were not going to turn around just yet. Finally a man opened one of the many warehouse doors in this alley where we stood freezing. I asked him if he may know of a secret pool in one of these warehouses. He quickly replied that it was just three doors down from this one.

Jami

Jami

I banged hard on the door for several minutes. Finally a man with a full beard answered my knocking.. He asked who I was since my board was still back at the car. I told him I was a friend of Patrick Guidotti and anxious to skate.. He introduced himself as Rob and was the key master as well as the pool’s originator. I entered the warehouse and was awed by its existence. Before me a left hand kidney sits in the front of the warehouse and a nice standard mini ramp lies in the rear.  It was twenty five hundred feet of pure joy hidden in this unassuming warehouse . It was close to 9:30 when we got there and a session was already in full swing. The only one I knew skating was Patrick, but he was not the only one utilizing the bowl to its full potential.

Patrick

Patrick

Bob

Bob

Ray

Ray

Brian and I quickly got our gear on and went straight to the pool. Each concrete pool is unique and hence its attraction!  I was under the assumption that most of the fellow skaters were locals to this privy pool. Turns out Bill Pribble and his friend Ray Conklin were from the Washington DC. Area and drove five hours for the lore of new carvable concrete. A guy named Chris — I didn’t get his last name — was another rider that night and he possessed a smooth, clean style that got my attention. Corey Rubin was also a new friend that rounded out this private session.

Chris

Chris

Corey

Corey

All in the warehouse felt a warmth and closeness even those not skating. A good skate session is like a good party. We all made new friends, shared smiles, and felt the buzz of the energy that our bodies and wheels had made. This is often the case with a good pool session. People that don’t even know one another seem to feel a closeness just from their abilities as fellow skaters. Here at this session I only knew Patrick and Brian yet we all shared in the energy of the moment. We admired the lines and styles that are inherent to each skater.

After two hours of skating we all felt a bit younger in our heads from the energy we created indoors. At close to midnight on a week night with kids and wives waiting for us, it was time for Brian and I to wrap up our session. We said our thanks and good-byes and were all pleased with the course that our night had taken.

As we opened the warehouse door to the biting chill of the windy twelve degree night a smile came to my face knowing that the desire to skate can overcome anything – even the cold grip of winter! I anxiously await the next opportunity to skate this spot again knowing it will be there for another session. I am hopeful to share with both new found friends and those I have yet to meet!

Thank you to Jami Godfrey for the words and John Falls for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Fruit Bowl Revisited

One day, Tony Alva and I were driving in Orange County. We were going someplace I no longer remember, but it was probably skateboard related. We were sitting at a red light on Brookhurst and he calmly points to his right and states, “That’s where the Fruit Bowl was.” I was quickly rendered inept as I followed his gaze. No longer watching the lights and traffic, I peered around as he pointed to some condos in the nearby distance. TA continued, ” My dad once lived over in those condos. They were built on the site of the Fruit Bowl…”. A car horn brought me back from his reverie and I stabbed the gas pedal to get through the green light that had changed. Traffic was moving.

Doug Schneider

David Hackett – side stairs

Doug Schneider

EPSON scanner Image

Chris Saglin

I asked TA how the pool received its name, Fruit Bowl. “It was at a rundown mental hospital”, he grinned. Recently, I spoke with David Hackett about his first time visiting the pool and he told me that he caught a ride there,  as he was too young to drive. He was really stoned that visit, but remembered that there were at least fifty people there. ” It was a heavy scene. Waldo Autry was king there. He ruled the place. He did ‘forever figure -eight′ carves and frontside and backside carves over the stairs that were on both sides of the pool.” David Hackett said that TA and Jay came to the Fruit Bowl. Both rode really well, pulling edgers and Jay tried hand plants on the wooden tombstone extension.

Jay Adams  Image: Welman

Jay Adams Image: Welman

“If you didn’t have pool skills and couldn’t rip, you sat in the shallow end. You watched. It was a gnarly scene there.” David told me to talk with Steve Olson as he had ridden there early on. I phoned Steve Olson and he added a bit of history as well. “I was one of the first people to drain the Fruit Bowl. Guys that I knew, rode their bikes in it. One guy named Willy and some others. It was insane! The pool was not a bust and lasted like six months until it became a party spot and the police finally shut it down.”

TA

Wally Inouye

Wally Inouye

Thanks to everyone for their memories . Thanks to Scott Bunnell for the epic photographs. Thanks to Wally Inouye, Mr. Welman, Bobby Smith, Warren Bolster R.I.P., David Hackett and Jim Goodrich for the images. Skate- Ozzie
Posted in Uncategorized

Coliseum

Jerry Valdez

Jerry Valdez

August 1977. The city baked under the angry glare of the sun. Smog. Pollution. A yellow haze hung in the air like a bad reminder: “Don’t breathe too deeply.” Cars jostled for position on the freeways and the streets were crowded as always. Concrete. Humanity. A frantic-paced world of chrome, glass and sweat. Jerry Valdez and Kent Senatore cut down an offramp from the 110 freeway. They slipped the car into traffic and moved into the sun driving up Exposition Boulevard. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum squatted on the left side of them like a giant statue to the gods. Its sprawling parking lots were empty and the team pennants and banners hung lifeless in the hot summer air. Jerry lit another joint and inhaled deeply. Ted Nugent wailed away on the stereo as he handed the smoking weed to Kent. They were headed to the Coliseum Bowl. The neighborhood had changed in the ensuing years since the city had built the Coliseum. Poverty reigned now. Houses sat vacant. Liquor stores flourished and drug dealers peddled their vice to an ever-hungry population. Escape. Despair. They both knew that there were awesome pools to be found in the ghetto’s of Los Angeles. They drove around and found them. They kept it positive and real.

Kent laughed as Jerry made faces and yelled out of the car at a few teenage girls walking nearby. They pulled up to the pool. Kent helped get the brooms and buckets out of the car. The house sat boarded up. Life had left this place a long time ago. Jerry and Kent pulled old furniture and a bathroom sink out of the deep end. It was a beautiful square pool and the mid wall transitions looked perfect. A few local kids cruised by and watched. Once Jerry and Kent started riding, the local kids grew excited. This is what skateboarding is all about! Jerry pulled frontside grinds as a few local thugs came to the pool. They tried to intimidate but Jerry wasn’t having it. They kept riding and the drug slingers left them to their pool. This one lasted for a short while only to be replaced by others. Shelf life then no life. Bulldozers reduced the property to rubble. This image and Jerry’s memories are most of what remains. It seems that it is all we’ll ever need. Thank you to Jerry Valdez for the memories and Bill Sharp for the image. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

George Powell

George Powell and Stacy Peralta have always supported my deal. At Woodward Skate Camp, Mission Valley Skate Park and up to the present day, they have been there for me. George has been making great skateboard products for a very long time. I rode my first set of white Bones in 1978. I ride Bones still. He’s motivated to engineer and deliver the best skateboarding products that he can. Check out this documentary that Stacy put together. – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Dust

Bulldog

Bulldog

The wind blew. Dust hung in the air and bit at my lungs. I stood beside the truck on a hillside, looking down into a narrow valley. It was still and nothing moved except the wind. Far to the west, a ridge of dark rock spilled over and out of my view. The faces of the stones were split and cracked. Sun. Heat. Eternal elements. A white sun. Palms scraped the sky. Green fronds. The only splotch of color on an empty palette. It was like the artist forgot the other paint in the color scheme. Tan. White. Brown. Little else.

Andy Neal

Andy Neal

Scott Cooper

Scott Cooper

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

In the middle distance, I could see a ribbon of concrete cresting a rise. Freeway. Encroaching civilization. The end of peace and quiet. People. Ignorance and all of its problems. I walked a short distance as I spotted a ranch home tucked away in a narrow stand of trees. I glimpsed the white plaster and blue tiles that could only be one thing: pool. It appeared empty. Forlorn. A hole in the ground that awaited happiness. My friends and I could provide such a thing. Happiness comes in all forms. You can buy it in bottles. You can get it in pills. Choose wisely. That happiness is short-lived. The element becomes everything. Your life is dust.  Then you’ll wish for something you can no longer find. “Like the way you cry for a happy ending…” I know. I know. Skate- Ozzie

Ripperside Shawn

Ripperside Shawn

Posted in Uncategorized

Van Nuys

44729817.CRW_5699_SanFernando_Valley_Van_Nuys_Boulevard

Valley Morning

Van Nuys, California. The police moved in slowly along a side street. Stealth. The targeted house was one block up and over. Even now, the officers knew that the people in the house were about to experience a reality check. One officer grinned and elbowed his partner. “I love this shit!” His partner laughed under his breath and shared in the enthusiasm. The house they were headed for was a known pornographic studio.There were reports of underage teenagers being filmed there. This particular area of the San Fernando Valley was the home of the porn industry.  The officer checked his gear one more time and readied himself. The officers had been briefed by administration. The pornography industry in Sylmar, Chatsworth and Van Nuys had an estimated yearly income of one billion dollars. The officers were stunned. “A billion?!” It defied a polite response. With such money, they were bound to have unscrupulous parasites operating in the margins. The task force, they were told, were to raid these suspect pornography studios and stop the filming of minors and the law would prosecute the child molesters in the process. The officers reveled in it. The thought of setting things right made them feel remarkably useful. Civic. It was why they did what they did.

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a78a37e8970b

 

Hours later, the officers stood outside of the house as investigators and detectives arrived en masse. They had raided the home. It had been divided up into larger rooms. Studios. Walls had been removed to allow for open spaces. There were bright lights set up. Little else was in the room except for a large bed and a couch was off to one side. Officers on the scene were a bit shocked at what greeted them. A fifteen year old girl was being filmed with a man, while several other men stood naked to one side waiting their turn. Disgusted, one of the officers had to restrain a fellow officer from punching one of them. They were happy to put such scumbags in jail. No problem. Detectives flowed up and into the house. The sun waned. Patrol officers set up a barricade nearby to keep the neighborhood away. Computers, films and expensive camera gear were all seized. Night oozed into the next morning. Detectives sealed the doors. Construction personnel boarded up the windows. They were done.

628x471

 

Turnabout

The skateboarders drove down an alleyway and pulled to the side. Charlie and Eddie had heard about the house from a kid who went to a local school. He had been there the summer before when the Van Nuys police raided the “Porn Palace”. It was the name that the kids gave the old house. It had been boarded up all year. Disrepair. Neglect. The kids knew that there was an old swimming pool in the back. One of the neighbors had told people that the porn actresses once sunbathed naked there. He watched them through a fence. Charlie and Eddie didn’t care what had been done in the past. They only concerned themselves with the future. Turnabout. They soon pulled themselves over a fence and found what awaited them. It was a massive mess. Someone had drained the pool and cleared out the remaining contents of the home. All of it was in the pool.

IMG_6386

IMG_6388

IMG_6390

 

Charlie and Eddie couldn’t quite believe the work that they had ahead of themselves. They made phone calls. Help arrived and within a few hours, most of the debris was out of the pool and stacked in the back alleyway. The skaters could see that the transitions were good. The pool had a straight face wall with round carveable corners. The corners were amazing and everyone was anxious to try them out. It was growing late in the day and the crew agreed to come back the next day and drain the remaining filthy water. They’d skate it and have fun.

(deville)DSC_8247

 

(deville)DSC_8294

 

(deville)DSC_8411

 

The crew managed to get the muck, filth and debris out of the pool. The ‘Porn Palace”. Cleansed of its seediness, sin and vice. The old pool raised its plaster face to the sun. Charlie and Eddie talked quietly while the skin of the pool dried in the warming light. They shook their heads about the pools history. Life is crazy sometimes. “Who would’ve thought? A porn house?”

Eddie Mighty Moreno

Eddie Mighty Moreno

Charlie Blair

Charlie Blair

They skated and took what the pool offered up. Possibilities. The afternoon sun grinned down on them as wrongs were made right. A Karma debt had been repaid. A cloud that once lingered overhead… was now, long gone. Thank you to Deville for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Dreams

RTR2L7AP

Corona, California. He stared at his hands. Calloused and rough. His heart was in a similar condition. Where was the boy he once was? Peering through the trees, he watched a bird flutter in the branches and hitched his pack higher on his shoulder. It would soon be dark. America was a country of dreams. He hadn’t come very far in this land of opportunity.  The only opportunity he found was a chance encounter with the Border Patrol. A group of them had walked together for two days and were stopped near Escondido. In the ensuing chaos, he found an opportunity to slip away.  Good luck? He figured that it would only be a short time and then — once again — he’d be in zip ties, bouncing down a dirt road and headed south. Poverty. Tears. He had watched his father grind out a mundane existence throughout his childhood. Hunger was ever-present. The sun set on thin bodies and empty bellies. Tired eyes looked towards the sky. Prayer. Muttered words fashioned with hope. Dawn brought more of the same. God didn’t seem to be listening. Most of his friends looked toward the north. America.

url

The boys sat around the Mexican village and spoke of it. Americans had it all. A real man could have gleaming cars and sex with any woman he wanted. Food never ran out.  He remembered tugging at the sleeve of his uncle and asking – “Is it true that people in America have televisions in every room?” Contempt was the response. “Spoiled Americans. A fat belly cannot believe that such a thing as hunger exists.”  He thought about his uncle’s bitter words. He knew that one day he would cross the border. He’d have a television in every room. He’d leave it on all day and night.  He’d work hard… he had built his body up to be strong. He knew that he would go to the clubs and flash his dark eyes. He dreamt of blonde beauties clinging onto him. Soon.

Abandoned_House

The cold Corona night had settled over him as he set out once again on foot. His backpack dug into his neck and he was tired. Soon, he arrived at a lone house up an overgrown driveway. He saw no lights. Approaching, he realized that it was abandoned. Walking slowly inside, he heard glass crunch and a rattling tin can was startling in the quiet night as his foot sent it spinning into the darkness. A corner served him well as he adjusted his backpack under his head. He slept. Dawn and the cold air awoke him. He heard a car approaching. Border Patrol. Panicked… he gathered his things. There was no time to flee. He pulled himself up into the second floor of the garage. Through a wooden slat, he noticed the swimming pool and the backyard below. The minimal grass was long dead and the bright blue colored pool had some black water and refuse in it. He heard voices. There were a few men that came into the yard. They seemed uninterested in anything but the pool. One guy walked down inside and made comments to the others. Shortly after, they walked out of sight and returned with a pump, tools and skateboards.

_DSC6662

They then drained the water and sat around waiting for it to dry. He had moved down to the first floor and stepped out of the back of the garage to go and that was when he saw one of them. The man was standing beside the garage taking a piss. He nodded at him calmly. He finished urinating and curtly said “Hello.” The others came over. Awkwardness. He was unafraid. These men seemed nice. In a moment, he found himself sitting near the Americans. They were bright-faced and laughing. They spoke to him and he answered their questions as best he could. “No. He didn’t live here. He was just passing through.” They shared some food with him and offered cigarettes. The sun was warm. For a moment, he felt like he belonged. It was a strange thing. For most Americans, a Mexican is invisible. People looked right through him.

Curren Caples
Curren Caples
David Gonzales
David Gonzales
Brandon Perelson
Brandon Perelson

They began riding skateboards in the pool. He marveled at this. The guys rolled around  the inside of the pool. They would fly out of the top and magically hover there… it was like they were suspended on strings. Awe. He almost forgot to be wary. He almost forgot his weariness and troubles. Transported. He couldn’t have ever imagined such a thing when he lived in his tiny village. Only in America. It truly was a land of dreams. Thanks to MRZ and Michael Burnett for the images. Be kind, skate and remember how good we have it. – Ozzie

Greyson Fletcher
Greyson Fletcher
Posted in Uncategorized