The Ranch

The Ranch 

California Historic Landmark number 716 sits at Foothill and Vaughn streets in Sylmar. It echoes from the past. A long echo that bounces of the dry nearby hillsides and speaks in low tones. It marks the property of famed movie icon D. W. Griffith and ‘Griffith Ranch’. D. W. Griffith became a San Fernando Valley fixture and is known for his story telling and camera techniques in film making. He bought the property in 1912. Many films were shot on the large ranch including ‘Custers Last Stand’ and the racist and obviously controversial ‘Birth of a Nation’ which is Griffith’s 1915 Civil War film.

Griffith Ranch

Griffith Ranch today- Ranch pool location is small light colored area above parking area lower right side

Fritz Burns bought the D.W. Griffith Ranch in 1948 at Griffith’s retirement and became a fixture in the San Fernando Valley as well. He founded Panorama City and also instituted a Christmas custom by bringing Santa Claus and reindeer at every Christmas to the local stores. He did this for almost thirty years. He kept the reindeer — numbering over one hundred — at the Ranch.

A pool was put in at the Fritz Burns Griffith Ranch property in the nineteen fifties. It gets hot out in the valley and he frequently had many guests. Fritz Burns held huge BBQ parties and swimming was always a part of this. Fritz Burns was a developer and worked with the Kaiser family developing many parts of the residential Los Angeles area. Ultimately, Fritz Burns died in 1979. The property had sat vacant and the reindeer had gone. It had been that way for a few years leading up to Fritz Burns’ death. Skateboarders found it.

Kent Senatore
Griffith Ranch Pool

Brad Bowman Griffith Ranch Pool

Rick Stine and others had talked about the Ranch pool for years. It was described as perfect. When we were working on the book ‘Back in the Day’, several of the skaters told stories about this spit gutter pool. Memories had the pool above Bronson Canyon. Recently, I was speaking with John Swope and he put me in touch with his friend Randy. Randy was skating pools all over the San Fernando Valley in the early to late seventies. He was at the Ranch pool regularly. We discussed its location. He knew about where it was and gave me some coordinates. Forty plus years had gone by. I talked to Rick and we decided that we had to go look for the Ranch pool.

Brad Bowman – Griffith Ranch Pool

Over Rick Stines’s left shoulder, you can see the notch in the hillside over Brad’s right wrist.

On Thursday morning, we drove out and started trying to find the area.We hiked around for awhile and kept looking at the Brad Bowman color shot trying to match up the hillsides in the background. After a bit, we came upon an old bulldozed area. There were bits of plumbing pipe, floor tiles and debris. We looked for about an hour for some tile and coping but realized that Randy was probably right when he told us that he thinks they just pushed the nearby building into the pool and covered it with adjacent dirt from the hillsides.

Brad Bowman Griffith Ranch Pool

Thanks to Randy and Swope for the intel. Thanks to Rick Stine for sharing in the adventure. Thanks to William Sharp for the images and thank you all for reading. Skate – Ozzie

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Story Time

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The clock woke him. Incessant. Vibrating. He clawed at his phone and with bleary eyes, silenced it. 4:00 am.  “Ugh…” He ran a hand across his face and stretched out under the blankets. One of his feet slipped out and he felt cold. The thought of curling up again and slipping into sleep was inviting but…  he knew that today was going to be different. He lay there in the darkness. One last time. One final dawn. The ceiling seemed so far away in the pale light from the bathroom down the hall. Shadows were his companions. Nothing stirred. He thought of her. She was everything he ever dreamed of. Her eyes he adored…  and her cold snows. She was a Himalayan peak. Granite. She gave nothing. They met and it was as if all of his lifetimes beyond the gulf had led him there. This moment. Collide. They sparked. Their hearts were like two great fires… madness entwined. Perfection for too short a time. His happiness could not be measured. Yet, time slowed… her attentions eventually waned. Then came a day several months later. A long talk. Car. Rain on the windows. Her hands reached across and touched his face. “You just can’t give me all I need. We are much too different.”

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He had watched his phone grow silent as she faded away and left him then. His soul ached and all the morphine in the world couldn’t stop his agony.  It was like rolling in broken glass. He wept. A river under his eyes. Who could he speak to of his household Gods? Rage. Vodka. Vicodin. Despair. Sitting up in bed, he let the covers slip off of him. “Cold.” He stood and his joints cracked and popped. He flicked on a light and moved into the kitchen. Coffee. Life. He thumbed the start button on the dryer in the laundry room after throwing in a pair of corduroy trousers and a shirt. “Warm things up a bit…” he murmured. In the bathroom, he saw his reflection. His eyes stared back at him. Stranger. “No answers here.” – the sullen face seemed to say. Showering, he felt the hot water wash away the tiredness and ache he felt. His heart needed a hot shower too, he mused. Getting dressed, he felt his leg hairs stand up from the static on the fabric of his pants. They were warm and he felt better because of it. He glanced at the clock. He needed to get moving.

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Today was different. He was going to do something special. Life had knocked him down like a playground bully. Bam! Bam! Bam! He had taken life’s blows and now it was time to strike back. It was his time. He recited the words to Robert Howard’s poem- Song Of The Mad Minstrel.  “I am canker and mildew and blight, danger and death and decay; the rot of the rain by night, the blast of the sun by day.” He mumbled to himself. He’d been doing this more often and periodically questioned his own sanity. Moving to a corner of the room, he slid the table away from the wall. Crouching down, he pried a floorboard loose and reached down inside. His calloused hands lifted a wooden box and rested it on the floor. He sat there briefly. Sigh. “How did it come to this?” he wondered. He removed the heavy metal object and slipped it into his front pocket. With it on him, he felt lethal. Ready for anything.

It had been handed down to him from his grandfather. He would never forget his grandfathers words. He had pulled him aside when he was still a young teenager. His grandfathers long legs stretched up and up. His voice rumbled, a broken sump pump, spewing silt. “A good man knows when it is time knuckle under and come out swinging. You can be hammered by life or you can grab it by the throat and make it give you what you want.” His grandfather looked at him. Their eyes met. His old wrinkled hands reached out and pressed a heavy object into his hands. It was wrapped in a piece of tattered blue velvet cloth. “Take this. When the time is right… you’ll know. Use this. There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page, or closing the book. This will help.”  He had stashed it away and now felt that the time was right. After all these years… His grandfather was long dead.

Reflection of Deansgate in the rain after dark in the window of Kendals

He left his apartment then. The sun was burning the horizon to the east. It was blood red. City buildings rose into the morning. Reflections. Chrome and glass. He walked like a new god with huge blue eyes and limbs of ice. The streets of the city had begun to teem with pedestrians. Reflections. Chrome and glass. Workers. Secretaries. Lawyers. Firemen. On the filthy sidewalk, pigeons struggled over a french fry and he laughed as he strode by. He saw the sign dead ahead. Third Avenue Coffee and Tea. Tables cluttered the sidewalk. People moved in and out of the shops nearby. There was a line at the counter. He smelled the coffee beans roasting. Espresso. Amaretto. He touched his pants pocket and was comforted by the metal object inside. Assurance. His grandfathers words hung like a promise… “A good man knows when it is time knuckle under and come out swinging…” He noticed two uniformed policemen waiting for their coffee and felt a wave of nervousness. He moved further away from them and approached the counter. Time crawled. Everything was changing color. His pulse hummed and he felt the blood thrumming in his veins. Sweaty hands. He reached into his pocket. Cold metal. Heft. The manager approached him from behind the counter. Her mouth moved but he didn’t hear what she said. Words were stones in his mouth. Boulders. He glanced around. It was surreal. He thought everyone was staring at him. Her mouth moved again.”Can I help you…?” Questioning. He lifted the metal object for her to see and glanced down briefly. His grandfathers sterling silver pocket watch was open for them to see. He pointed. “Hi. I’m Adam. I’m the new employee. I’m supposed to start at eight.”

Young

Age is a number. I mean, that’s what everyone will always say. I think I’m about fifteen years old most of the time. Then, I wake up crushed in the morning after a heavy session. I get my mortgage bill in the mail.  I have to deal with seriously ill people in my job as an RN or other such adult soul-draining activities… but otherwise, age is certainly just a number. As skateboarders, we get the joy of riding with friends — some of which — we’ve had for many years. As big as skateboarding seems, it really isn’t. It is broken up into very small groups because we all have people we generally ride with. People that stoke us out. People that inspire us. Friends we can talk to.

There are many times when we all show up to a session and end up sitting around talking. We discuss tricks, contests, recent mind-bending video clips that have been posted and who did what better and the when, how and why of life. These are the things I remember most at times. It isn’t the tricks and lines that go down at each session. It is the people themselves that stay with me…

I’ve been trying to get Tony and Riley Hawk to come ride Animal Farm for quite awhile. Tony is a busy guy and we just couldn’t get the two ends neatly tied. Recently, we managed to get a Saturday set aside and everything fell into place. I invited Eddie El Gato Elguera as well. Tony Hawk looked up to Eddie when he was a young skater and I wanted them to cruise in a session together. I was super amped to learn that they had never ridden a backyard pool together. It is a source of pride for me that I was the one arranging it. My gift.

William Sharp and I are releasing the mini version of the ‘Back in the Day’ book in the upcoming weeks so I asked him to come shoot photos of the session. Chris Gregson rounded out the crew and I didn’t sleep much last night. I suffer from ‘terminal stoke’ and it probably gets on others nerves but… that’s who I am. Like I said, I’m young. I’m fifteen most of the time. When you were fifteen, didn’t you lose sleep the  night before a heavy session?

Greg Weaver

Eddie came early and helped me sweep up the pool. Clouds were everywhere The sun was hidden away. Eddie talked about his first Hobie board and how he got it.  There was an ice cream coupon from Double Buddies that you got when you bought a certain amount. Then you’d send the coupons and get a discount on a Hobie board. This is how he got his first Hobie.

Double Buddies

He brought it along and wanted to recreate the Skateboarder Magazine cover with Greg Weaver  riding a pool. As we swept, he said, “When I was young, once I saw Greg Weaver on the cover of Skateboarder Magazine, carving in an empty swimming pool, that was the day I knew skateboarding was going to be a part of my life forever.” I understood completely. He carved around a bit, the sun popped out and William readied his camera.

Eddie Elguera

It wasn’t long before we heard the arrival of other friends as Tony Hawk, Riley Hawk and Chris Gregson showed up and the session became quite heated. Animal Farm is the type of pool that really allows you to get in and get on the gas pedal. It has great side to side flow and you can certainly keep your speed. Chris Gregson pushed in and stood a long one up over death/light. The rest quickly followed suit. Riley hovered backside airs and shallow end grinds and Tony put down ollies, deathbox grinds, rock-n-rolls and frontside tailslides.  Eddie Elguera threw up rock-n-rolls and frontside grinds in the side cup.

Chris Gregson

Riley Hawk

Tony Hawk

Eddie Elguera

Me

Eddie Elguera pulled out one of his many original tricks in the pool yesterday. As soon as he poked a frontside rock-n-roll over the deck — his body twisted up — everyone was so stoked. It was something we wanted to see and he didn’t make us wait. A few runs in and it was checked off. A frontside rock in a backyard pool is no small thing. Eddie is in his late fifties. Who would’ve ever thought that anyone could still be doing such a thing? Tony remarked that when he was young, he was looking at photographs in the magazine of Eddie doing frontside rock-n-rolls and it was remarkable that forty years later he was sitting here watching him do it in person. I looked around at everyone having fun. Chris and Riley are quite young and they flowed through the pool with an ease and style we all admire. Even though the rest of us are older, as I watched everyone skate, I realized that age is definitely a number only. I’d like to think that if you’re having fun, you’ll always stay young.  Thanks for coming out. Thanks to William Sharp for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Eddie Elguera frontside rock-n-roll

Eddie and I looking over Back in the Day Mini version

History/ Logan Earth Ski

Brian Logan
Brian Logan

The Logan’s started their skateboarding careers in 1959 at a very young age. Brian was the oldest, followed by Bruce. Brad and Robin did not start until 1963. We were living on 5th street in Hermosa Beach right on the Strand. We would take steel wheel skates and take them apart, nailing them to a 2×4 with a milk box on top with handles. As we improved we took off the box and the handles and rode on the 2×4 and the steel wheels. Things progressed slowly.

Bruce Logan
Bruce Logan
Brad Logan
Brad Logan

Skateboarding started growing.There were many competitions and demonstrations to follow. Some of the parents and our Mother (aka Mother Earth Ski) would share in driving us to these contests. Then sometime in 1964 we finally got a sponsor. We lived about three blocks from the Bing Surfboard shop on Pacific Coast Highway. Many days after school we would go there and just hang out just talking to the guy who ran Bing’s retail store. His name was Brian McGuiness. Brian was a big brother type that I never had. He took an interest in us. He noticed how good Bruce and I were on skateboards. As skateboarding was getting much more recognition and many surfboard manufacturers started putting together their own skateboard teams, he talked to Bing Copeland and they decided to be our team sponsor. We then changed the team name to the Bing Skateboard Team.

We would compete against other teams in team competition and individual competition and from what I remember, we never lost one team competition except when we were on the first Surfing Show on television called Surf’s Up with Stan Richards. This was the first time skateboarding was on television. It was a live performance.  Bing and Brian got the team on the show. There were about eight or so other teams competing.  In the end, it was Bing, Kips and Hobie.  The Bing team ended up getting 2nd place behind Kip’s team.

Robin Logan
Robin Logan

In 1965 came the biggest contest of all. The Anaheim National Skateboard Championships.  ABC Wide World Of Sports was there to film this event for television. Many kids from around the country came and competed. During my freestyle I just fell apart in my routine, I was very nervous but not Bruce. He was one of the last ones to skate his routine. I remember the announcer from ABC say, “… and next up is Bruce Logan from Hermosa Beach. Look at him. He is such a little guy!”  I am not kidding.  Bruce was fourteen at the time, but looked about eight years old. . He was not perfect in his routine but it got him a 2nd place behind a kid named Torger Johnson. Torger was so hot with his space walk and the crowd just went crazy over it. Torger got 1st place.

Laura Thornhill
Laura Thornhill
Torger Johnson
Torger Johnson
Jay Adams
Jay Adams

The Logan brand became home for the hottest skateboarders ever. The most influential and progressive riders flocked to its roster. Torger, Jay Adams, Tony Alva and others were soon riding the Logan Earth Ski brand. It was a new age. The future.

Tony Alva
Brian Logan
Images: Bolster Archive

Tony Roberts / Guest Post

Steve Alba

Tony Roberts

“Shooting and skating with Salba was always an adventure. When we filmed his Speed Freaks part, we went up in a plane and flew around looking for empty pools. Salba has a Thomas Guide and would mark down all the locations. The we would drive around and find them. He was always equipped with pumps, brooms, and a crew of hard working pool skaters to clean them up. Then we would figure out our escape plans for the inevitable whistle from whoever was keeping watch that the cops showed. Then it was on to the next spot. He had a notebook, full of empty pools we could barge. His ritual was first run go straight up and frontside grind the face wall, accompanied by a primal scream. Then he would work out his lines. It was always more about the lines than the tricks, but Salba would always keep progressing and throwing new tricks in the mix. Not many people know he was the winner of the first Hester Series event at Spring Valley in 1978. That was the most important moment in that era of skateboarding by far. The raddest part of Salba’s story is that he is still ripping hard to this very day!”

Thanks to Tony Roberts for the words and photographs. For epic skate and surfing stories take a look at Real Surf Stories on YouTube.

Also – www.tonyrobertsphoto.com

Heart of a Giant / Jeff Grosso

Skateboarding, at its most fundamental level, has always embodied three distinct factors in my view … accomplishment, empowerment and friendship. The longer I last, the more I believe this truism to be correct as well as universal for all skaters. These interacting factors are what’s made skating and the people involved in it the powerful, legitimate culture that they are. The sport constantly changes and evolves with this dynamic with each of us adding our own little pieces to the whole …. and then there’s the giants. I first met Jeff Grosso around 2001 so I didn’t know him nearly as well as many. What I did realize immediately upon meeting him though was that he was a huge fan of skating and a 110% charger. I instantly related to him. We’d never skated together back in the day but I’d speak with Jeff every opportunity we had and we’d cross reference our experiences. His focus on the individuals around him and his heavy respect and appreciation for those that came before was always apparent. Getting to know Jeff only solidified my fundamental views of skateboarding and the people involved. On the occasions he and I skated together it was always a huge deal for me and he would make it apparent it was for him as well.  Mutual respect is core to skating and we both lived that. Jeff had not led a perfect life but then all of us have seen our lives go into shadow at times. He fought back from self-inflicted wounds and remained to be an example for us all to the end. He may have been more talented than most of us but at his core he was also very much like all of us. That’s why we love Grosso so much. The impetus for these words on my friend came from a photograph by MRZ that  I’ve kept for years.

I often look back on the shot for long minutes, remembering the moment and smiling. It’s from the Vans Pool Party in 2013 and the crowd is showing Jeff their appreciation for what he had just done while the ruler raises his scepter in accomplishment. I’m standing on tippy toes for some reason smiling maniacally and smacking Jeff on the back. Sergei Ventura is behind me showing his approval and Eric Nash is to the left, nursing a wing but not missing the stoke. It was a finals run —  I believe —  and the crowd had been going nuts for Grosso before his turn and he returned the energy during his run. Jeff put the pedal down and brought the receipts, by the end of the run we were all feeling like victors. It still gives me chills. I now realized why this shot held so much pull for me. We all were doing a healthy form of projection. We screamed for him because he was us. We felt on a certain level that Jeff Grosso’s accomplishments that day were all of ours and so empowered us all. In my opinion it succinctly represents the three fundamentals of skating. We were all sharing the communal spirit of skateboarding with Jeff and I’m sure he was fine with that. We are all friends and we will miss Jeff. RIP my friend. Peace
Scott Foss

Thank you to Scott Foss for the words and thoughts. Thank you to MRZ for the images. Rest in Peace Jeff. X Ozzie

Origins / Nude Bowl

Nude Bowl first session 1982

In the summer of 1961, a couple named Gordon and Terry Dixon began going to nudist resorts in the southern California desert areas. The couple wanted a place of their own so they could have their own friends participate in this new ‘lifestyle’ of theirs. Terry’s sister and her husband Bill were keenly interested in joining them on such an adventure and they started looking for a piece of land. By February 1963, they found a property just outside of Palm Springs that had a fairly large cabin area, a swimming pool, a water well for landscape and other needs… it was perfect. They put their savings together and bought the property. The Desert Gardens was founded. The two couples ran the Desert Gardens from that time until the late 1970’s. It was a constant financial drain on the owners and it eventually sat empty and abandoned.

Nudist Newsfront Magazine

Nudist Newsfront Magazine

Desert Gardens Colony

Kevin Skibba

A guy named Ray Morgan found the property in his four wheel drive truck in the fall of 1982. He had a friend named Kevin Skibba that skated and he told him about the pool on the property. Ray took him to it. Initially, there was a clothes washer, a dryer, motorcycle parts, palm trees, water, tons of junk…  locals used it as a trash pit. Bullet holes riddled its surface. It looked like a shooting range. Whenever Kevin could get guys together, he’d go up and clean. It took him and his friends several weeks to get it emptied. They had to drag the palm tree up to the shallow end and leave it dry out. It was too waterlogged to get out of the pool. No one had a gas pump either. The day they finally got it empty, Eddie Elguera was there. Eddie took the first run. The rest is history. Kevin and his friends heard that the property was an old nudist colony. The names stuck. Some called it The Colony, most referred to it as the Nude Bowl.

It became a Mecca of sorts. It was basically a bust-free pool. Locals left them alone and the police turned a blind eye. Years of heavy sessions and all-night parties etched and cemented the pool into the collective conscience of skateboarding. The Nude Bowl was one of the destination spots for any skateboarder out there. In the later 1990’s, the parties became more and more crazy. Not only skateboarders, but hangers-on and  lowlifes made the snail crawl up to the dusty slab. Rumors abound regarding events leading to its first burial. Crystal meth, a skinny girl in a tight dress, roving eyes and deceit. At an all-night party on May 22, 1999, a knife was pulled and blood was spilled. The locals in the neighborhood below and the local Desert Hot Springs police had enough. A backhoe was driven up the rutted dirt road and the pool was filled with dirt and debris.

Eddie Elguera

Nude Bowl 1987
Image – Brittain

Pool skater Dave Reul was working with Blue Torch TV in April of 2000 and he talked them into funding the Nude Bowl dig. Six of them spent twenty-eight hours just digging the pool out with a backhoe and shovels. They then had to jack hammer and replace the coping. A fresh coat of paint finished the resurrection. But it wouldn’t last. Locals quickly came up the hill and within months, the pool sat under tons of dirt and debris again. Fast forward. January 2014. Rodney Rodriguez and Jeremiah Risk decided to dig the Nude Bowl out once again. They did so under a blanket of secrecy that was CIA in its scope. The pool was refurbished to its former glory and still rests on a dusty hilltop in the San Jacinto ridge line. It waits there for pilgrims… much as it always has. The Nude Bowl. One of the longest running and last great skateboarding destinations.

Shallow End
Image_ Brittain

Thank you to Kevin Skibba, Ed Filijan,Grant  Brittain and Eddie Elguera for the images and Eddie for the memories and info. Skate- Ozzie

 

David Hackett / Guest Post

David Hackett Reseda

David Hackett

I want to thank Ozzie and Blue Tile Obsession for sending me these two photos from yesteryear to do a little write up here to help those who are stuck indoors in social distancing quarantine from this horrible Covid19 virus. This is a great time to stay indoors and read up on your skateboard history!! To do that, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the greatest book ever published on REAL hardcore OG Skateboarding: BACK IN THE DAY- The Rise of Skateboarding: Photographs 1975-1980 by William (Bill) Sharp and Ozzie Ausband. For two reasons: 1) If you fashion yourself a “Skateboard Historian” or lived and rode a skateboard in those eras between ‘75-’80- You owe it to yourself to own this book- It is a Must have. 2) The Sharp Brothers (Stan & Bill) were the photographers and Editors of Skateboard World Magazine in the 1970’s, and were the ONLY other skateboard publication that gave Skateboarder magazine massive competition- Some might say (Me) that the Sharp brothers shot better photos than the Skateboarder Mag photographers- That being said, and long story short- The BACK IN THE DAY book only focuses on Bill Sharp’s photos. Can you imagine (and there have been some rumors) that there is a Stan Sharp book in the works! (If that happens I think they should call it: “LORDS of the BOARD”)

David Hackett Reseda

Back in the Day, barriers in high performance skateboarding were being broken and busted thru by the day- Some days by the hour in a heated session. The day that these two photos were shot was in the summer of 1977. I was 16 years old. As you can see, I am sporting full G&S Competition Team rider gear. (many hardcore skaters back in those times thought G&S was kind-of lame and more like a little league team) but for me, it was an opportunity to be with a more professional outfit with deep pockets that could not only pay me, send me to contests and demos but also flow me as much equipment as I wanted. Plus, former Z-Boys Stacy Peralta and Paul Constantineau rode for G&S at that time. So that was good enough for me.

Reseda’s “SkaterCross” Skatepark was one of my favorite parks back then as it was fast, fun and a perfect place for all of us Pro riders to try new moves on a vertical surface without coping. SkaterCross was like a one track cement Motocross track consisting of a long push-in start leading into an eight or nine foot curved bowl that made you turn to the right and send you flying into the second bowl which was also about eight feet tall, but had a more inviting lip that was rounded and had a few inches that were vertical, and perfect for some of the earliest air attempts (and makes). It was here in the second bowl that I saw Tom “Wally” Inouye blast the very first backside air on the “Pro Day” before the park was open to the public. I also witnessed Jay Adams on that day fly out of the second bowl frontside and mute grab the rail creating that Z-Flex “Always Radical” poster.

Reseda was a ground-breaking skatepark and the host of many smashed barriers in skateboarding. My own barrier-smashing moment there was held a few weeks after Pro Day. It was a day when some of the best in the world were there. Jerry Valdez, Kent Senatore, Brad Bowman, Shreddi Repas, Jayboy, and a bunch of local skaterats were there,  all trying to get a “piece of that second bowl cheese”

On that day this crazy air photo was taken, I busted out an new Insane skateboard product called ‘Suspenders’- a two part Velcro® skateboard binding system consisting of lightweight nylon webbing sewn to patch of the Velcro® “Hook” side, fashioned into a binding that would be attached to my feet.  I used a 32” Fiberflex Teamrider deck with Tracker Fulltrack trucks and Roadrider 4 wheels. This skateboard was completely covered with the furry side of the Velcro®. This set up was light, strong, and gave me the ability to blast airs out of that second bowl as high as I possibly could at that time without the worry of the deck or trucks breaking on the landing.

I was excited and terrified at the same time- I was literally blasting backside airs well into three and four foot range consistently and blowing some minds (including my own) at the same time. I also ate holy shit on a few of these airs almost broke my F’in neck! If you look closely to the ‘Suspenders’ air shot, you can see the terrified look on my face!

In closing, many barriers were smashed that day including the ability to fly a skateboard into the sky, higher than anyone had ever gone before, with or without the help of a binding attaching my feet to the board. I also realized that day why the ‘Suspenders’ Velcro binding were never going to make it as a popular skateboard product. They were just too gnarly for the regular skateboarder. Some acted like “purists” saying it wasn’t really skateboarding, but those same critics didn’t have the balls to borrow my board and try it for themselves. Bottom line, they were the highest and gnarliest airs pulled off at that time and I’m grateful I got to be the test pilot!

GodBless,

Hackman the Gnar

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Lance Mountain / Guest Post

George Orton, Ray Bones Rodriguez and Lance Mountain (John Tuisl and Teddy Bennett are also seen)

Lance Mountain

George Orton and Ray Bones Rodriguez became the local pro skaters at Skate City Whittier when it opened in November 1979. During the skatepark boom of the late 1970s, Skate City was one of the last private skateparks to open in southern California, until most parks ended up closing by 1983. Skate City became one of the hotspots in skateboarding with its five pools complete with coping and a full-pipe. When it opened, riders from the existing and established parks started flocking to it as the riders were always looking for new and challenging terrain. Skaters followed the progression of parks as they became built. From Paramount, to Lakewood, to Skate City. I had been skating for five years around the San Gabriel Valley. My friend Larry Durant and I,  traveled a radius of a two hour bus ride away from my house, which would’ve been thirty minutes by car to ride the newer skateparks being built.  I rode hills, banks and school yards with much older friends. Montebello skatepark (which was much closer) opened in early 1977, but was pretty much already obsolete as riders were seeking out backyard pools when the vertical explosion began. Brief encounters at parks on the weekends or at early contests, were our only contact with sponsored riders, other than seeing them in the films and magazines. Once Skate City opened, I ended up on the park team the first day I rode there.

Variflex pro- George Orton – layback air

As they were putting me on the team, George Orton asked if I’d like to ride for Variflex. George was the first bionic, go-for-broke high-air skater who rode for Sims and Powerflex, then Variflex during this time. George would skate with all the locals and helped me when I was learning things. I remember working on Layback airs, especially in the capsule. Skateboarders still do that, and it is one thing about skateboarding that rules. They take you under their wing and it would open up opportunities, acknowledgment and exposure. Ray Bones, I had seen in the magazines but to see him ride in person, was impressive. He was quite possibly, the smoothest skater to ride at that time. His backside air looked like he was just riding up past the coping on a piece of glass. I was riding a thrashed Ray Bones Rodriguez deck at the park team tryouts and he gave me a new one. I told George Orton, I didn’t think I was ready to be sponsored and had just got on the park team, even though I didn’t know what that really meant. I wanted to stay on  the Skate City park team and I had hoped that by getting a deck from Ray Bones, it would lead to a spot on Powell Peralta. We were all huge fans of Stacy Peralta’s skating and were stoked on what he had just done putting the new team together.

Powell Peralta pro Ray Bones Rodriguez – backside air

I really am fond of this photograph because it reminds me of so much that I love about skateboarding. It is from the morning of the big Am contest at Skate City just after I got on the team. The categories were unsponsored, sponsored and semi pro. George Orton, Ray Bones, local ripper Darrell Miller, Kevin Moore and Ellen O’Neal were the judges. Steve Cathey and his G&S team were in heavy representation and — in a side note —  this was the day when we met Neil Blender. The photo is amusing to me. It feels like I told my dad, “I will walk by George and Ray Bones. Please shoot a photo of me standing there when it looks like I’m talking to them.” I hadn’t yet broken into the inner-circle of skateboarding. I had not been invited in or pushed myself into their world completely. I just observed and stayed in my own world. I did start to understand that if they didn’t see me skating, then they’d never know who I was and that would be the extent of my  ‘playing skateboarding’ before I had to grow up. It fueled me. I still like viewing skateboarding and skateboarders from a vantage point. It feels pure and reminds me of this time. It is also good to see its inner-workings. I’ve had huge opportunities to be a part of this thing we love and make it my life. I still appreciate that I watched it from afar for so many years first. Its made me appreciate George Orton, Ray Bones Rodrigues and those that came before them and to never take them for granted.  Sidenote: This was John Lucero’s Interpretation of this photo when seeing it:  It looks like you are walking into a conversation. George to Ray. “Are you giving Lance decks ? “ Ray: “No He said you asked him to ride for Variflex”  George: “Who?”

Thank you to Lance Mountain for the memories and William Sharp for the previously unpublished images. Skate and respect those that came before you. – Ozzie

Steve Alba / Guest Post

Steve Alba Pipeline

Steve Alba
Frontside airs in the pit of the monster. To this very day,  if I don’t tuck my left knee in before I take off, I will not make it. It has to do with pumping down the waterfall.  I spent many summer days perfecting my frontside airs. When I first heard of frontside airs, two names came up.Tony Alva and George Orton. Both guys had pretty sick photographs of them both doing them in the latest magazines. But I saw both of them ride Pipeline and T.A. did his tuck knee and George did his stinkbug style. Now let’s be honest. Most of us first learned frontside airs stinkbug. I know I did. At the same time, stinkbug style simply looks bad. For me it was a no -brainer. Learn it tuck knee like T.A. or don’t learn it at all. Man I studied the pictures in the magazines. I even pointed my finger like Tony Alva.
I still have scars on my knees from falling in that damn pit-like thing.The photograph also reminds me of the searing heat we skated in. One hundred degree days are the norm in the Badlands, especially back in the nineteen seventies with all the smog that was present.  Another thing I like about this photograph is that it shows where I am at the crossroads of my skating path. D.David of Kryptonics wanted me to be like some clean-cut tennis pro and I wanted to be punk rock destruction. So with the vibe of the time going faster and louder you can see I spray painted my board Punk / New Wave style to get rid of the dreaded Kryptonics logos. I really hated those fuckers at Kryptonics at the time for burning me. They owed me thousands of dollars. (they went bankrupt without paying me the thirty grand they owed me) My hair is shorter before being cut off — for good — right before I went hardcore punk.
I didn’t wear a shirt because its hot in the Badlands. Molly shorts were the rage when I was a kid, so I sported those all of the time. I wore red Rector pads because red /black is the color of anarchy. Red has always been one of my favorite colors. Actually, I still wear red helmets to this day. I loved to put Independent stickers on all of my gear and the Jay Adams Flyaway  helmet is the one I wore when fell on my head at the Pipeline Combi contest.  There is an ankle type brace on my left front ankle which I was always hurting from trying to run out in the fifteen foot bowl. It was better to ‘run out’ than  kneeslide because the bottom of the bowl was terribly rough. It always ripped off your pads. I like the Pipeline sticker on the wall as placement of where to go. It is something I still do. Proof is in the picture. Copers were the rage at the time and Grindmaster devices let you grind further and longer………….plus this has to be a few months before the Hester  contest at Combi in 1979. There is an Ick Stick Heart of the Badlands  sticker near my back truck and I always loved Rick Howell for making me custom boards back in the day. I rode an Ick Stick at the first Pipeline Hester in the pipe-pasting part of that event. I do remember shooting with the Sharp brothers. One thing about the Sharp brothers is that they just let me skate and do my thing. They never said, “Hey, do this here”. They just captured the moment. One last thing: I also like the fact that there is a Dogtown board in the background of a Badlands shot! – Steve Alba
Thank you to Salba for the great memories and to William Sharp for the photograph. Skate- Ozzie