Intersections

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“We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life.” – Van Praagh

Shawn walked slowly down the alleyway. He had his skateboard, some gear, a bottle of water and the day was just getting started. I was standing beside the truck waiting and when I saw him, I laughed. ” You look like shit.” What did you do last night… pole dance?” Shawn smiled and said something about my parentage. Peering into the truck, he asked, “What, you didn’t bring it?”  I looked at the brooms, buckets and pool draining equipment and couldn’t figure out what I’d forgotten. I looked at him questioningly. “You left your ‘Style’ at home again?”  He quipped. So it began. We loaded up and were on the road. We’d be meeting up with KB and Brandon in awhile, but we had to check a few pools first and bucket another that Shawn had located.

Intersections

Squatter's shoebox

Squatter’s shoebox

Choices

Choices

Elbow

Elbow

Yard Sale

Yard Sale

Shawn is moving to the east coast in a week or so and this was probably going to be one of our last pool missions together for awhile. We had been hunting, draining and skating pools together for about six years. Kindred spirits. I was bummed that he was leaving. He told me, “Life takes everyone in different directions. Sometimes our lives intersect with like-minded people. It is how the story goes…” We pulled onto a side street and looked at a pool. It was a shoebox. There were people squatting inside. I was a ghost. Back in the truck, Shawn told me about a capsule pool that he knew of. “I saw it about five years ago, but it sets in a cluster of houses back a long driveway. I think several families live at the property. There were always cars there. The front house is empty and yesterday, I walked back. It looks pretty good.” We were soon walking back the driveway. The house was empty and the morning was still. A dog barked nearby at our intrusion, but quickly lost interest in us and lay back down. It was already growing too hot to care.

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We have an appointment

Blue Lip

Blue Lip

The pool looked a bit steep but Shawn and I grinned. We liked them that way. There were sheds and garages on the property. There was trash and evidence of homelessness. The place was a bit of a mess. It was fairly easy to clean up the pool though, and we soon were at it… sweeping, bucketing and getting it ready. I phoned Brandon and KB. They were at an intersection just down the street. It was already close to ninety degrees and we sat in the shaded shallow end, taking it all in. Waiting.

Wow! Four whole hours…

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa…

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KB and Brandon showed up and we got into it. A lady soon came up to the rear fence and asked what was going on. She seemed cool with us being there. She lived in one of the houses on the property… “The police have been watching this place because someone broke in. They come by sometimes… I’m just saying.” We would take our chances. Nothing new. We started skating and found the juice. The pool was fun. Lines were tapped into.

Me / KB

Me / KB

KB

KB

Shortly after, a pretty big dude stuck his head over the back fence. He was standing on the hood of a car parked out there. “You niggers are just having the time of your life, huh?” I — for one — am rarely called such a thing and the tone of his voice was far less than friendly, so I answered, “Yes…we are actually.” Shawn said something like, “Fun in the sun.” He climbed down off of the car and I saw that there were actually two guys outside the fence. His tone and hostility were unmistakable. We were unwelcome. We took a run or two each and I peered through fence, looking to see where they were. Shawn said quietly, “It doesn’t matter where they went…”  I looked over at him. He pointed. “The man.” A police officer was walking up to the pool. He actually looked relieved to see us… I presumed that in such a neighborhood, he was accustomed to something a bit more violent and nefarious than a couple of old guys skating a pool. He escorted us out.

Escort

Escort

We pulled away and into the morning. Stopping by another pool, I knocked and received no answer. KB suggested a quick barge that he knew of. “In and out. Fifteen minutes and that’s all we get.” We nodded. Shortly after, we were looking into one of the weirdest pools I’d ever seen. It looked old. 1940’s era. The transitions looked like they were hand poured… sloping and strange. The waterfall was super steep. It had a wall running flush on one side, a metal ladder, sharp hip, no tiles… it was a mess and it was perfect. We took about three runs each, KB hit the deathbox and we were soon driving away.

Waterfall

Waterfall

KB

KB

Stopping for drinks and snacks, we talked and decided to hit an old favorite or two. It was super hot and we knew that the rest of the morning was only going to get worse. We wanted to skate as hard as we could before the afternoon heat sapped all of our energies. At the next pool, KB slammed and took one to the elbow. Brandon got some, Shawn bruised the side wall and I pulled a mute. Things were good. The sun was hot.

Brandon

Brandon

Shawn

Shawn

Me

Me

The afternoon was upon us. We talked in the shade by the pool. There were boards resting on top of the wall and it provided us with shelter. Grateful. We spoke of our years together riding pools. KB said that this was one of the first pools he ever skated. It was right after the fires in 2003. “I rode this pool and knew that pool skating was something I’d always do.” Brandon talked about going out pool skating and riding a half-dozen in a day. Collectively, we have spent many weekends together having fun. I think that is why our lives intersected. We love pool skating. We ended the day at an old reliable. Big, steep, slippery and fun. Blue Haven egg. Soda was purchased and sprayed onto the pool. We soon took everything we had left and put it all out there… and we always would.

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KB

KB

Me

Me

Thanks to Brandon Wong for the images. Thanks to the core four…  big fun. I’m going to miss you Shawn. I’ll see you when you visit and we will keep a few pools ready- Ozzie

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Tony Alva Unseen

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In January of this year, Tony Alva and his business partner Michael Early, sat down with me and we decided to move forward with a Tony Alva book project. The idea had been discussed off and on for a year or so, but with Tony’s Vans commitments, travel, band schedule and generally busy life, it was shelved for the time. I was also knee-deep in the William Sharp ‘Back in the Day’ book project, so we sat on the idea. In January, all of that changed. Tony had a vision of what he wanted and I was asked to bring it all together. The process is a long one. I’ve discovered that books are a very time-consuming process. I’ve learned the hard way. With a full time job and hectic life, I had to work on the William Sharp book in my spare time. With Tony’s book, I knew what I had to do from the start. As one of the most photographed skateboarders on the planet, I had to start from the earliest days of skateboard photography. I contacted photographers and initiated the process of having them locate decades-old slides. Tony was looking for the rarities. He wanted to only use photographs that have never been published. Unseen. We are now about a third of the way through the process and it is beginning to take shape. A life of its own. Alva Unseen is a photographic journey, complete with Tony’s memories and candid observations about a life unfolding. Tony Alva: an icon, a rogue, skateboarder, surfer, musician and so much more. We will be bringing you updates as the book reveals itself. Skate- Ozzie

Thank you to Jonathan Coudriet / Jon Sea for the image.

For more of Jon Sea Photography: www.jonseaphotography.com

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Jay Adams / Last Words

Jayboy

Jayboy

It has been almost a year since Jay Adams left us. He passed August 15, 2014. He carved away from the sun. He didn’t look back. We don’t know why… The finality of someone leaving us is difficult to grasp. The void. Jay Adams was a remarkable light in the world. I was searching through my computer files this past winter. I was looking for something that Jay had sent to me for use in the William Sharp book – Back in the Day. I found an email from Jay and it was dated September 3, 2012. It was a story that he had written to me about his early skateboard experiences in pools. I was shocked, as I couldn’t remember reading it before. I am unsure why I didn’t recall the email or if I was saving it… Maybe I was supposed to save it for now. Is Jay smiling down on us? Maybe it was meant to be. Whatever the reasons, I decided that today would be a good day to send it out into the world. I rewrote it exactly the way Jay sent it to me. It is Jay Adams. All of him. R.I.P. Jayboy.  – Ozzie

“The boundaries which divide life and death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins.” – Poe

Jay Adams / Rabbit Hole

Jay Adams / Rabbit Hole

Jay Adams/Last Words

I really cannot remember the first time I ever skated in a pool, but I do remember that I wasn’t too stoked on it. I’d come back from living in Hawaii for a few months and while I was gone, Alva and the boys had found one. They had made the change from riding schoolyard banks to riding empty pools.The first one was called the Rabbit Hole. It was a little kidney which was ridable, but not really a perfect one, like the pools we found later. I hated wearing shoes when I skated and basically Alva and everyone told me that I had to learn to skate with shoes. Pool riding was a bit rougher than riding the banks and schoolyards. The boys had a little head start on me and it showed. Alva was just learning how to carve over the light. Frontside kickturns were just being invented. After the Rabbit Hole pool experience, all of us were addicted to pool skating. It was all that we wanted to do. We soon had another one called the Canyon Pool, which was actually a very good pool. The Canyon Pool was the first pool that I can remember being bothered by the cops. The cops would come and kick us out, so we used to have guys on lookout patrol, waiting for the cops to drive down the street coming for us. It was funny to me back then. We didn’t think that we were doing anything wrong. We were just playing in someone’s empty pool. They weren’t using it, right? We never thought we were trespassing. Those charges came later.

Jay - Log Cabins

Jay – Log Cabins

The Canyon Pool was the real beginning for all of us Dogtowners. We were really hooked on pool skating. Alva was the king and I’ll say it again: Alva skated better than everyone at that time. He was faster and more stylish than anyone that had ever been seen. This was still very early and knee pads weren’t even being used yet. We all got banged up a bit, but when you’re a young teenager, nothing can stop you. Especially a few little road rashes. Alva was the king in our area, but then a guy named Johnny Palfreyman put down his BMX bike and started riding pools with us. He rode BMX and he skated. If you’ve never heard of Palfreyman, you’re missing out on some important history about skateboarding. J.P. lived in the little studio that me and my mom rented on 7th and Sunset in Ghosttown. Venice was dangerous back then. It was not like it is today. We were some of the only little, white surfer types living down there then. Palfreyman was out of his mind. He came from a tough family of crazy motorcycle riding men. They were not bikers though. His dad was the best sidehacker in America and J.P. followed in his footsteps. He was the first guy I ever saw ride his bike in a pool.  J.P. would do wheelers in pools. If you were from Santa Monica back in the 1970’s, you would have known about him and his brothers. They were crazy guys.

Jay - Dogbowl

Jay – Dogbowl

So, Alva was the king, but J.P. was the raddest. He did the very first two coping block edgers on a skateboard that I’ve ever seen. Edgers became the new rad move and J.P. had them down. After the Canyon Pool, we would go to the Fruit Bowl in Orange County. J.P. was living at my house, so we were skating every day. We were either driving down to O.C. or going up to Beverly Hills or even the San Fernando Valley. Before I forget, I have to give credit to the Valley boys. We had Dogtown, but they had their own scene going on at the same time. Jerry Valdez was their king and the Jer was rad. Kent Senatore was another guy who really ripped it up with style. The Valley guys had so many pools… It isn’t hard to see how they became good pool skaters. In the 1970’s, there was a water drought, so people were ordered to keep their pools empty, unless they were already filled. No one could fill a pool anywhere in LA. We were constantly looking for pools. We would ride down alleys in Beverly Hills, sitting on the roof of Stacy Peralta’s car, or rent a little plane at the Santa Monica airport. We searched. There was nothing we wouldn’t do, if it meant we could ride a new pool. We had one called the Fireman, because the owner was a fireman and we basically knew when he’d be at work for three days on, four days off. We were able to skate his pool when he was gone. We also had one in Beverly Hills called the Keyhole. It was perfect. They were doing construction on the house. On Friday afternoon, we’d come and drain all the water out, skate it all weekend, then fill it back up Sunday afternoon, just like we found it. This all occurred mostly before skateparks put in good pools.

Jay - Image: Surfer Today

Jay – Image: Surfer Today

I guess I could continue on and tell you about the Gonzales pool or the Dogbowl, but I’ll wait until next time to tell you about those… These days, everyone still loves backyard pools. There’s something really special about finding one, draining it out, then riding it. Its a bit more soulful than pulling up to a skatepark, putting on the pads and skating through all the kids. But I do have to say that I love skateparks and bowls that were made for skating. There is nothing more perfect for me. The whole backyard pool thing… well that’s what made us skateboard criminals when we were young and crazy. That was fun.  Aloha – JAY BOY 100 percent skateboarder 4 life

Addendum- The William Sharp book – Back in the Day is due out this fall. It contains anecdotes from all of the pioneers of skateboarding. Chapters include, banks, ditches, schoolyards, pools, pipes, contests and parks. We will keep everyone informed when it is ready- Ozzie

Thank you Jay Adams for the words and memories. Rest In Peace. Thank you to Kent Sherwood, Surfer Today and William Sharp for the images. Skate- Ozzie

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Red Lip

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I first saw this pool in 2009. Cloudy November. The cold would soon call to us. Winds ripped at the trees, as I stood beside the truck looking at the property. I had already pulled myself up and peered over the block wall. Rossmore kidney pool. Red coping. The blue tiles were barely visible due to the pea-green colored water that filled the old pool. I looked the house over and noted the trash piled up, tattered sheets over the windows and the grip of neglect that wrapped the house in dirty arms. I could see no signs of life. I wedged open the back gate and took my pump inside. I moved slowly, like I was in a dream. An hour went past. Tick tock. No one bothered me and nothing existed except the gurgle of the hoses and the low rumble of the pump. I brushed the walls of the pool with a sidewalk broom to remove algae as it drained. The pump had dropped the water level about halfway and the shallow end was looking pretty good. I was pushing the broom in the shallow end, removing green muck, when I heard a voice. It startled me. “What do you think you are doing?” I was looking into the face of an elderly woman. She had the back door partially open and her eyes darted from my face, to the pool, and back again. She seemed as shocked by my presence as I was of hers.

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The pump suddenly sounded much louder than it had been before. My blood thrummed. Conflict. I switched off the pump. “I didn’t know anyone lived here.” I started. I smiled at her. I told her my name was Hugh Jorgan, as I usually did in such situations. It kept the smile on my face. She looked confused. “I work with Vector Control. We pump out filthy pools that harbor mosquitoes.” I could tell that she wasn’t really buying my story. I moved over to the pump and started collecting my things together. This was not going well. Over my shoulder I quickly stated, “I’ll have my employer call you and explain the need to have the pool emptied.” She moved back inside and locked the door. I felt that she might be phoning someone. Someone in law enforcement. My pace quickened. I gathered the hoses and threw everything into my truck in a pile. I saw her eyes watching me from inside the house. I was the insect and she was the spider. Web of my own making. I grabbed the pump and made my retreat.

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Later that night, I thought about the pool. The transitions were really starting to show as I drained it. I guess it would have to wait for another day… if ever. Fast forward. April 2015. KB, Shawn, Gopa, Scott and I were out rolling around. We rode several pools that day. It was getting late and KB said that he knew of one we might hit for a thirty minute session. A house remodel. The owner was no longer living there. A day laborer stayed there and for a little quick cash, we might get some grinds. A new pool is always fun and we headed over.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

Gopa Ahringhoff

Gopa Ahringhoff

Shawn Ahringhoff

Shawn Ahringhoff

Me

Me

When we pulled up, I laughed to myself. I thought of the old lady all those years ago… I periodically wondered if I’d ever get to ride that old red-lipped pool. I guess the time was now. Thanks to the IE guys for draining it, thanks to KB for the heads up and thank you to Scott Ward for the images. Skate- Ozzie

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Fishbowl / Pink Motel / Camtest

Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

History. They say it is written by the victors. Funny. I suppose that another saying may also be true…  “Half the world believes what the other half invents.” Whatever the case may be, the origins of Fishbowl AKA The Pink Motel are solid and sure. Factual history. Think what you want, I’m here to relate it as I heard it. A group of young skaters from the San Fernando Valley were skating to school one day and they spotted the pool behind the fence. Terry Bixler and Wagner Rodrigues crept inside and were summarily kicked out. They had the moxie to return and be persistent.

Monty - Fishbowl/Pink Motel Owner

Monty – Fishbowl/Pink Motel Owner

Eventually, they made an arrangement with the owner- Monty -and the pool became a permission pool for them and anyone they cared to bring along. They kept it tight and secretive. It was 1976. Eventually, word leaked and skaters began riding it. Magazine images appeared. Fishbowl would become a Mecca. Pilgrimage. Skaters around the world marveled at its huge transitions and giant palm trees. It screamed “California”.

Fishbowl

Fishbowl

Fast forward. 1987. Powell Peralta video – Animal Chin. The Bones Brigade were famously told, “You guys can do anything you want to do, if you want…” Then they did. The footage from that session is amazing. I believe that it was at this time that the Fishbowl became known in skateboarder’s minds as the Pink Motel. In the late 1980’s, Skate TV used the Pink Motel as a base camp. Heavy sessions were held and all of it was pumped out through the wires and into televisions all over the place. Fishbowl. Pink Motel. Its history is heavy. Its place in skateboarding is cemented fast.

Bones Brigade / Animal Chin Session. Mountain, McGill, Guerrero, Caballero, Hawk

Bones Brigade / Animal Chin Session. Mountain, McGill, Guerrero, Caballero, Hawk

Lance with Lance Jr. / Skate TV

Lance with Lance Jr. / Skate TV

Steve Caballero / Skate TV

Steve Caballero / Skate TV

Lance Mountain / Skate TV

Lance Mountain / Skate TV

Over the years, random skating events have been held at the Pink Motel. It can be rented out hourly, though it can be costly. In 2010, Lance Mountain helped California Skateparks with a pool refurbishing that smoothed out the transitions and skim-coated a new surface onto the entire pool. It had deteriorated from years of sun, skating and sitting empty.

California Skateparks refurbishing

California Skateparks refurbishing

Fishbowl Facelift

Fishbowl Facelift

Lance Mountain ties the old into the new.

Lance Mountain ties the old into the new.

In the past few years Cam Dowse has been holding his Camtest event at the Pink Motel and –once more– the Pink Motel finds itself host to a good thing. Cam started holding the Camtest in Colorado in the early 2000’s. It was a way to get all of the Colorado skaters together and session. They held it off-and-on over the years at different locations in Colorado. Eventually, Cam would end up in California. One year, Cam was going to hold his birthday party at the Pink Motel when he found out that his close friend Dave Tuck was diagnosed with Cancer. The subsequent birthday party became the Camtest and a fundraiser to help his ailing friend.

Camtest 2012

Camtest 2012 / Pink Motel

Robbie

Robbie

Al Brunelle

Al Brunelle

Cam Dowse

Cam Dowse

The next year, it was held in Arvada, Colorado with Dave Tuck in attendance. Ultimately Dave was taken from the skateboarding world and his friends miss him terribly. His legacy and good nature live on in everyone he knew. Friends never die as long as we continue to celebrate their lives…

Dave Tuck R.I.P.

Dave Tuck R.I.P.

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Glen Charnoski Camtest/Dave Tuck Invitational/ Arvada

Glen Charnoski Camtest/Dave Tuck Invitational/ Arvada

Parts, Tuck and James / Arvada Tuck Invitational

Parts, Tuck and James / Arvada Tuck Invitational

Camtest is being held this year at the Pink Motel. It is a ten dollar donation at the gate and ALL money goes to cancer charities. Three bands will play and DJ Don Cesar will spin tunes. The contest will have weight-classes ranging from 100-125 pounds all the way up to 200 pounds plus. Everyone will get to lay into the historical coping of the Fishbowl/Pink Motel. The Camtest runs from 1:00 pm until 9:00 pm. If you’ve never been to the Pink Motel or witnessed unbridled skateboarding mayhem, then you should drop the ten dollars for a good cause and come have fun. After all, most of us spend that much at Starbucks in a week… they’re not nearly as historical or important in the grand scheme of things compared to the Fishbowl/Pink Motel. History. Truth. See you there… A special thank you to William Sharp, MRZ, Team Pain, Brandon Wong, Skatemaster Tate, Thrasher Magazine and Powell Peralta for the images. Thank you to Cam Dowse for putting it all together for a great cause. R.I.P. Dave Tuck. Skate- Ozzie

Dave Tuck R.I.P. Image: Thrasher

Dave Tuck R.I.P.
Image: Thrasher

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Jay Smith

Jay Smith – Marina

Powell- Peralta. The Bones Brigade. I recall that team & its formation much like everyone else. ‘Skateboarder’ magazine  was soon to be a cherished memory. D.David Morin changed it to ‘Action Now’ magazine but the bicycling, sandboarding, rollerskating & the rest of it sort-of nauseated most die-hard skateboarders. Its life was short lived. Like all things  in skateboarding at that time,  everything exploded hot & heavy. It was  quickly undone. Vertical skateboarding was changing just as rapidly. Surf styles, lines & powerful flow became usurped by technical maneuvering. It became a sport of trickery. Jay Smith filled me in on the details of this time. His time. 1979.

Jay Smith hails from Canoga Park out in the San Fernando Valley. He started skating in 1975.  Jay stated- “I was really just a street skater. This was before parks and magazines in a way. All my friends rode motorcycles and skated. That was what we were into back then.  Eric Grisham and I rode pools together in the valley.” Jay then told me an interesting anecdote regarding his early pool skating barges.  ” The Sunset Pool company had an office with concrete demonstration pools on site. This was right next door to where ‘Skatercross’ was being built. They had two pools there. One was empty. We would sneak in and ride  even while the park was being built next door. It was the first time I hit tiles & I recall looking over at ‘Skatercross’ and wanting to ride the bowls there when it was completed.” Jay became addicted to the speed and vertical like so many of us.

Jay – lapover – San Fernando Valley

He recalled riding pools all over the area when he was young. Jay told me how they would constantly look for things to skate. – “My friends and I would ride all over the San Fernando Valley. From Encino and Woodland Hills all the way over to Glendale… everywhere. There were so many pools to ride. We hopped the fence at –singer–Barry White’s & were riding his pool one morning. He walked out but was really cool about it. He had his maid come outside and they watched us for awhile… he was pretty nice to us considering the situation. Lucille Ball had a house out in the Valley and it sat empty. The pool was a ‘go’ for quite some time. We also rode at this place in the Valley. It was a zoo or animal park. It had these bowls and stuff that were empty. The place was closed down. We rode the reservoirs  that the animals had used as a natural habitat type of thing. It was pretty unreal.” Jay talked about the early skate park scene. He was a local at Skatercross. Jay told me that he rode with Eric Grisham, Arthur Viecco, Shane Reed & Jerry Valdez. He told me that those guys were a bit older though. “My early skate influence was probably Shreddi Repas. I loved to skate with him. He was stylish, fast & powerful. Eventually, I rode for Lonnie Toft & Sims. I skated with the whole Santa Barbara crew. Doug de Montmorency, Jack Waterman and other Oxnard and Skatercross riders.” Jay told me that he was really into flow and speed. -“I really love to go fast!” It would be at Oxnard where Jay had his first photograph taken which ended up in the magazine. ” Bill Sharp took a photograph of me doing a tailtap on the corner. I was stoked. I couldn’t believe it!” Things started falling into place for Jay. He was skating some of the hottest parks & pools. His speeding, low-slung, rubberman  approach to skateboarding was rapidly winning him respect & admiration. Jay then told me how he was put on the Powell Peralta team that Stacy had just formed. Jay is a wealth of historical skateboard information. After all, he was on Powell Peralta before he was 18 years old. These were formative years for Jay. He continued- “I was riding for Sims but they already had Bert Lamar & Brad Bowman. Those guys were both super riders & Sims wasn’t really doing anything for me. Powell Peralta & Sims were both out of Santa Barbara as well. It was odd. When Stacy approached me at Marina del Rey and asked me to ride for him, I was like- “Oh hell yeah!” It was immediate.”Jay told me that the Bones Brigade started as- Stacy Peralta, Ray Bones Rodriguez, Mike McGill, Alan Gelfand and then he was added.  I asked him about the ‘Powell Peralta Class of 79’ advertisement.  Jay stated that Stacy  chose the best he could find to represent all areas of the country.  ” Stacy added Mike Jesiolowski & Jami Godfrey from Cherry Hill right after I was put on the Bones Brigade. He also added Rodney Mullin & Tim Scroggins from Florida, Steve Caballero & Scott Foss from Northern California, Teddy Bennett from Big -O and David Zakrzewski from Oasis. That was the original Powell Peralta team.” Jay remembered early contests with Powell Peralta and stated tersely- ” Contests just weren’t my thing man! They’re just too organised. That goes against everything I am. I just loved partying and riding pools with my friends. Stacy was super nice though. He bumped up our confidence. If I remember correctly, I actually turned Pro at the Bakersfield contest before I was on Powell Peralta. Once I was on the Bones Brigade, I waited for awhile before I received a model. I think we all did.” Steve Caballero & others told me that some of the riders kept their AM status & continued to build contest standings & placings. They developed new tricks and worked on their overall skating. This way, they created a demand for a model rather than just having one put out for them.

Jay- FS Air – Pipeline Combi

Jay Smith himself was soon ready for his own model. He originally rode Powell Peralta Double Beamers. – “I wanted the Double Beamer to be my model but they were having lamination problems.” Jay asked me if I remembered the rivets in the Double Beamers.-  “Of course.” He laughed & continued-  “Back then we would do long boardslides and the top- most layer of black fiberglass would become ground down. The rigidity of the deck was affected and it would snap. Rib Bones were then made larger to compensate for this.  Caster made my boards for awhile. The first Jay Smith ‘Splash’ deck was made by them. I think that the Caster boards were more expensive though. They were really good & had concave. Powell Peralta finally ended up making my boards from Brite Lites but they were definitely flatter than the Casters were. ”

Jay- Andrecht at Marina

Jay went on & discussed the early punk scene and its influence in his life. He loved the fast music, motorcycles and anarchy.  ” It went along with what we were doing. The music and clothing added to it. It was crazy, fast & fun. I really didn’t care. I just wanted to rip and have fun….  no worries.” Jay told me that Stacy liked him on the team with his long hair & all. “I was just rebellious. I was actually a long-haired surfer kid. Then, I made an anti-christ kind-of change. I cut all my hair off. I was back east with Glen Friedman. We were going to Cherry Hill, Staten Island, Apple & other parks. We would go in & cut the skaters hair. It was just to be obnoxious…  the kids were so cool.”  Jay said that he was really into heavy rock-n-roll like Zeppelin & early Van Halen but the punk music was too hard to resist. “Bands like The Buzzcocks, Discharge, 999 and others soon fueled all of our sessions.”  Jay told me that he will always have a fondness for Marina del Rey & Cherry Hill skateparks. “They were the best things I ever rode.” I had heard various stories regarding Jay Smith over the years.  One quote – “He was the epitome of punk.”   Another – “Jay would take a contest run and he’d just carve in circles throughout the entire time… smiling.” Whatever the case may be, Jay Smith was hard to miss. He was a standout. Glen E. Friedman & Jay became pretty good friends and would hang out quite a bit back then. Some of the great Jay Smith images that we have were from Glen and this period in time. Style. Timeless perfection.  Glen told me about Jay Smith- ” The bad uncle (to Stacy’s good father) of the Bones Brigade, his awesome girlfriends, his insane risk taking driving, The most stylish layback and frontside carve in existence, and a heartbreak of an injury that sent him for a loop. I took him to see the Bad Brains play a club in NYC (when they first moved here), with less than 30 people attending the show. We drove across the country together to do a skate tour and he tweaked his ankle on the first stop, so it was ‘Jay’s Barber Shop Tour’ instead. That’s just off the top of my head– 30 years later.”

Classic Skateboarder Magazine centerfold by: G.E. Friedman

Jay Smith and his life have been shrouded in myth & legend for decades. I was at the ‘Old School Skate Jam’ in 2000 and I remember seeing Jay Smith attending the event. There were just as many people crowding around Jay as  there were with Tony Alva. He has immense popularity & appeal. Jay is one of a kind. I asked him about his  disinterest in skateboarding & subsequent walk from it.  He readily replied- “I didn’t dump skating! I became kind-of bored with it. Tricks were becoming wall-to-wall and mechanical. It took away from the speed,  flow and beauty. If you take away the beauty of it, it’ll lose everything. That is what drove me from skateboarding. The ‘power & finesse’ is what made it rad for me. That is what Powell Peralta embodied. Stacy encompassed all of this. Jay lists Duane Peters, Eddie Elguera, Shreddi, Steve Caballero &  Scott Foss as being a huge influence to him & his skating.

King James Cassimus sequential of Jay Smith layback

Jay told me that he continued riding into the mid 1980s but motorcycles & racing took up more of his time. Eventually he stopped.  He saw Richie Carrasco at a show & Richie kept after Jay to go skating. Eventually he caved in. Jay- “Richie took me out and we went slalom riding. It was so rad. Pretty soon, I was riding vert, doing airs and laybacks, I slammed though and was hurt pretty badly. It hurts more… and for a longer time these days.”  I asked Jay if he skated recently. He went on to tell me of a dark day a few years back. A day he will never forget. He was riding his motorcycle in the rain. Almost night. The black greasy ribbon of wet freeway reflected all of the lights. ” I was in a motorcycle accident on the 101. I slammed into a car. I had a few drinks & it was raining. I got on the freeway and found myself behind this woman going 55 mph. I got pissed and went around her. I really gunned it. Then I saw why she had been going only 55 mph. There was a car directly in front of her going slow. I saw it at the same moment that I ran up into the back end. I hit her so hard that I broke both my legs. I got tore up! I was in the hospital for a few weeks. I haven’t really skated because I have plates and screws in my legs. My movement just isn’t there. No flexibility.” I was quiet for a moment, digesting all the tragedy that Jay had just laid bare. The thought of Jay Smith skating without flexibility was intolerable. It was like Picasso without a paintbrush. I groaned inwardly.  Jay quietly went on – “Ozzie, you know what ? It was all worth it. Skateboarding. I am stoked on my skating time and how it all went down.”  So are we Jay…. so are we. Thank you to Glen E. Friedman for the –previously–unpublished Jay Smith images. Thank you to Jay Smith, Steve Caballero, Glen E. Friedman & Jami Godfrey for their memories. Thank you to King James Cassimus and Bill Sharp for images. We’ll just thank them all. Jay wants to thank Dave at Skaterbuilt for all the support. Skate- Ozzie

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