There wasn’t much to say. He had come back into the house. Quiet. Dropping his car keys on the counter, he picked them up again… as if his hands knew something that the rest of him didn’t. The television billowed information into the living room and he caught a reporters voice… “Malibu is being evacuated. People are being told to grab what they can and run.” He looked at her worried face. They were old. They’d been here for a long time. Everything. Everyday. It was the only thing they knew. A constant in an inconsistent world. Politics and social norms change and spin wildly out of control… but not Malibu. Not here. Never. A peaceful spot of reality. He motioned for her to grab her things. Stepping out onto the deck he watched black clouds of burnt embers growling and boiling over a nearby hillside. Helicopters churned from one side of the horizon to the next. He saw a strip of the Pacific Coast Highway through a stand of green palm trees. Chrome and glass winked in the afternoon light as cars and trucks squirmed like an angry metal snake along the coast. He could almost feel the tension rising up with the smoke. End of the line…
Night fell quickly as they put things into the car and prepared to leave. Everything stank of fire and smoke. He started the car and turned on the air conditioner. She sat inside and stared at the floor. Boxes of photo albums and keepsakes were stuffed in the back and boxes of clothing took up every other space available. A photo was wedged in the back. Them. A honeymoon. Switzerland. 1949. They were young and fresh-faced. If one looked closely, they would see the tight edge to his eyes that still held traces from the horrors of World War 2. At night he’d sweat and think of the camps… Mind-bending horror. They had liberated Nazi camps in Poland. It was always the same dream. He saw the skeletal people climbing out of the mud. Lank hair. No eyes. No teeth. Tattered striped rags hanging off their frames. They’d open their mouths and shriek… the bulldozers would push the bodies into giant holes in the ground. Gasoline fumes. Black smoke… soulless. He’d sit up in the dark night and weep. He told her that he’d find one spot of peace and stay there forever. Malibu was that place. He slipped into the car after a quick look around. “We gotta run…”
Malibu Image: McNew
Once the fire burned to the beach and had no where left to go… firefighters isolated the rest of it and containment was complete. Loss was massive. The black hills rose and fell from the beaches all the way through the gulches, valleys and up to the 101 freeway. Burnt cars sat on metal frames… gutted. People wandered among the rubble hopeful and picking through the smokey remnants of a former life. Most found nothing left. A neighbor was lucky here and there. Fire burned erratically. An inferno at one home would completely consume all in its path…only to move down the driveway, skip the road and leave a neighboring home virtually unscathed.
Two weeks after the fire, skateboarders moved through a Malibu yard. This homeowner asked for help in cleaning up the burnt brush from the trees and hillsides that had caught fire. He had stayed on his property when all others had “run”. He told his girlfriend that day, “Fuck that! I’ll go down with the fucking place…” They ran garden hoses and started soaking the property down. Smoke poured in. Some time on his third day awake, a firestorm descended on him. She screamed his name. He ran to the front gate. A van sat there with a few rough looking guys standing by the front gate. They asked him if he’d seen their dog. They were sizing him up. “You aren’t looking for a dog… Get in your van and go. This won’t be worth the trouble.” He picked up a shotgun he had sitting on a metal box by the gate… He had put it there earlier as a precaution. At the time, he had looked at her grimly, “Looters come baby… they do.” He locked a shell into the twelve gauge and the men left quickly. His hands were shaking. He had saved his house but the yard and trees were toast. The skateboarders spent days cleaning. The swimming pool was filled with black water, smoke and ash. The real prize. They looked it over and smiled to each other. It was going to be amazing.
Thank you to the crew. Thank you Angelo. Thank you to MRZ for the images and thank you to the firefighters… Skate- Ozzie
Me/ Deathbox/ Northridge
The new decks are done and shipping. They are moving fast. If you’d like one, please click this link at ALVA SKATES. I’ve been working super hard and doing classes for my RN license so I’ve been off the radar. I went out recently and rode a bit with MRZ, Rick and Lance and we took a shot on the new deck. I thank you for the support and appreciate everything. Thank you MRZ for the image. Skate – Ozzie
About two years ago, I started riding Powell Peralta Ray Bones Rodriguez snubnose boards with Mini Cubics again. It took awhile to get used to the flat deck and no nose but I soon realized that I could do my heavy bag of THREE tricks and I felt super nostalgic riding the old stuff. TA was riding with me one day and said, “You should be riding one of my boards. Get Michael to make you something.” I contacted Michael Early and he put something together for me. I rode a few prototypes before we came up with something I really liked.
Deathbox wheeler on prototype 2
I had Christian Cooper come up with a graphic that combines the Alva and Blue Tile Obsession logos… TA gave it his blessing and we put them out. I wanted the die cut Alva grip and all. Thanks to everyone that quickly bought them up. Michael Early made me a neon orange version of the board and I loved it. When they wanted to put out another run… I asked that the neon orange be included. New Alva/Blue Tile Obsession tshirts and decks are available and they’ll go quickly… Please grab one and thanks for the support and reading my stories all of these years. I’ve loved creating them for you all. XO Ozzie
Thank you to TA, Michael Early and Will for believing in what I do… Thanks to my pool pals and a big thanks to MRZ for the photographs. X Skate
Buy Here ALVA SKATES
Mondo’s Pool. March 2019
Mondo’s Pool. Who was Mondo? Was he the gardener who took care of the property and let the guys skate all of those years ago? Was it a teenage kid named Armando, who told some other kids at school about the empty pool at his house and ultimately word reached everyone about the greatness of this particular Blue Haven? History is often vague. Differing versions of the pool’s particulars and its ownership exist. One thing that hasn’t changed, is the fact that this pool was big, open and special.
Art Dickey -Mondo’s 1979
Mondo’s March 2019
Heavy sessions went down and the pool riders of the San Fernando Valley would take what they learned in the skatepark bowls and begin applying them to the walls of this particular gem. Deathboxes, airs, inverts, laybacks, ladder grinds and shallow end skating were all documented in this one pool. The deep end was open and wide. Side-to-side skating could be done. The shallow end transitions were mellow enough to be used for a speedy return. The coping was smooth, sun-baked bullnose. I recently went by the house to show them the William Sharp book, BACK IN THE DAY. They were really surprised to know about the skateboarding that occurred on those hot summer days in the seventies. I looked at the pool.
Jay Smith at Mondo’s. 1979
Kent Senatore – signature backside layback. Mondo’s 1979
The yard and house had been redone. The pool had new plaster, tiles and coping. A jacuzzi sat in the shallow cup. I stood and closed my eyes. I was back there then. Kent Senatore threw a backside layback in a sharp arc across the side wall. Jerry Valdez talked shit to him from the shallow stairs and pushed in past him.
Jerry Valdez- frontside deathbox. Mondo’s 1979
Jerry hit the deathbox hard and afterwards Kent told him to take off the copers and do it right! Shit talk. Friends. Others joined in. Tricks were made and nothing would ever be the same. I opened my eyes and saw the homeowner looking at me. I smiled. “This yard is special.” I murmured. “Very special.” She nodded and I’d like to think she understood.
Thank you to William Sharp for the images. Skate- Ozzie
Magoo’s March 2019
Sometimes it just takes time. I’ve been trying to get into the backyard of Magoo’s for several years. I think that the first time I found her was in the summer of 2013. The owner was fascinated by the photographs that I was showing her on my laptop… “These guys skated the pool here, long before you owned it.” She nodded and took in the condition of the house and commented on changes she noticed. I asked to walk out and look at the pool and take a few photographs but her husband wasn’t having it. He simply said “No.” I stood and looked out of the big plate glass windows… the pool was huge. It had been refurbished at some point because the bullnose coping was gone, as were the tiles, and smooth round brick coping wrapped its face. The deck was huge and made of concrete. The chain link fence, rusting cars and lawn were all gone. The block wall around the yard looked different as well. I could really see little else and bid them a good afternoon.
Steve Picciolo R.I.P. at Magoo’s. 1978
Magoo’s March 2019
I kept in contact and after the publication of our book ‘Back in the Day’, I contacted the owners to show them the book and images. I’ve always wanted to shoot photographs of the pool as it is now and write about this historic place. This pool is one of many in skateboarding history. It is similar to Elephant Country, Mondo’s, Fishbowl, L-Pool, Gonzales, Dogbowl, Fruit Bowl and others. These pools were some of the early backyard pools featured in the magazines where so many of our forefathers rode and pushed skateboarding into what it ultimately became. I have always hunted these gems. I always want to stand in these yards. Even if I cannot ride them, I still want to stand there and take it all in. Magoo’s was also featured in the film ‘Skateboard Kings’. They had a night session and house party on this property.
I recently reached out to the family and received permission to come by. I showed them a copy of the book, BACK IN THE DAY. They were really excited and I also think a bit weirded out by the fact that all of this craziness happened in their house and in their pool all of these years ago. I was allowed to shoot some photographs and share them here with you all. Strangely, I found out that during 2011, the property sat empty–as did the pool–for almost a year. I shrugged it off. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe my wheels will never roll across the surface of Magoo’s and this is alright with me. In my mind, I’ve ridden it a hundred times by now.
Steve Picciolo R.I.P. 1978
Magoo’s March 2019
Steve Picciolo R.I.P. Frontside invert 1978
Magoo’s March 2019
Steve Picciolo R.I.P. 1978
Thank you to the owners and thank you to William Sharp for the images. Skate and wonder… X Ozzie
For more on Magoo’s – Magoo’s
The Fall of Magoo
Dog Bowl. Santa Monica. Summer 1977. David Hackett, Shogo Kubo, Jay Adams, Bob Biniak, Tony Alva, Wes Humpston and Stan Sharp on the deck. Four of seven. I look at this shallow end lineup and find it difficult to believe that four of these guys have slid away from the sun. Shogo Kubo, Jay Adams, Bob Biniak and Stan Sharp are no longer here. However, everything they ever were is not lost, as long as we keep talking about them and keep their spirit with us. In my opinion, there is no such thing as, “Out of sight, out of mind.” There are so many skateboarders out there in the world. There are way more now than when this photograph was taken. Most have no idea why anything moves the way it does. Life. Dreams. They probably don’t question…
Life seems to move much faster than it did in 1977. Attention is limited to a quick flick of the thumb and what was surprising, new and amazing, quickly becomes a thing of the past. I recall studying photographs… boards, trucks, wheels, sticker placement. I took in the tiles, the crumbling block wall beside the pool, the palm trees… everything. The big picture. Etched into my DNA. I look at this photograph from time to time. I’m filled with wonder. I’m sure the guys in the photo would barely recall it… “…just another great afternoon at the Dogbowl with the boys.” they’d say. When pressed, one or another might remember a certain aspect of the photograph. One can never be sure. Memories become a confusing mess as we age. I’m unsure how many times all of these guys were there together, but I know that it couldn’t have been that often. The pool only lasted through that summer. That one special summer. As I grow older, I still skate as much as I can. I look around at some of the legendary skateboarders that paved the way for us and I see them gray, bent and broken. Some, not all. They skate better than they walk.
I love what they did all of those years ago… some are consumed with the past. Others don’t really care too much. Some scream out for recognition they say they don’t want. Actions… actions. Your words say one thing but your behavior? Some are eaten alive by all-consuming ego. Sadly, I look on and wish I’d never met them. Rather a perfect photograph Scotch-taped to a wall in a Pennsylvania farmhouse, than the realization that a would-be hero is forever stuck as an insecure twelve year old. I guess, we get what we get in life. One should be like Teflon. Nothing sticks. I once looked for validation from them… something I will never get. One cannot relay something that one doesn’t possess. I look at this photograph. They never knew. I don’t think that this moment in time was anything other than what it seems. In their minds, they were only having fun. There was no ripple… pebble in a pond. There wasn’t a strange sense of convergence. No thought for tomorrow. Maybe it’s best this way. Fun in its purest form. This is what they gave us and it is all we get. I guess its all we need. Thanks to the people that came before us. Rest in peace Stan, Shogo, Bob and Jayboy. Thank you to William Sharp for the image. Skate- Ozzie
Wally Inouye at Pipeline Combi. Image: William Sharp
Happy Birthday to a true legend. Thank you for inspiring a bazillion of us. You are an amazing human being. Skate- Ozzie