There are now about nine times the amount of smart phones in the world than there are smart people. Funny how that works. Friday afternoon, I was driving in the San Fernando Valley and a girl went past me… I saw her coming up fast in my rearview mirror. She was weaving in traffic. When she went past me, she had her head down looking at her phone. She switched lanes and cut in front of me. I never saw her head look up. Indefensible. I had some guests coming into town from elsewhere. Tony Farmer had called from New York and had a friend of his visiting California. He asked if I could throw him into the session. “Of course.” There are very few people I won’t skate with… I like Farmer and — with rare exception — a friend of his is a friend of mine. I gave Farmer’s friend Chris a text and an address to meet.
Sunday morning, I went out early. Rick Stine and I had drained a few pools in the rain on Thursday. We got everything to a manageable level. I took three buckets, some hot coffee and drove out of West Hollywood a bit before seven in the morning. It was cold and quiet. Bucketing kept me warm. I like draining pools alone. I think. I wonder why people are such egotistical messes. How can some people think the way that they do? Delusion? I can’t really figure it out. It’s like this vision they have of themselves is all they are capable of seeing. No empathy. No way of putting themselves in another’s shoes. I guess one can’t really get too angry at them. They aren’t purposefully trying to hurt others because they never really think of anyone else in the first place. I feel sorry for them. Tragedy in two shoes. I think of our incoming President. I wonder about the El Gato Classic. I hum the Buzzcocks and think about frontside airs. I got the pools readied for my friends and we met up. Farmer’s friend Chris was really cool. We hit it off right away.
Cam brought James who was visiting from Colorado. Brandon Wong came out, Rick Stine, Ripperside Shawn, Gopa and BLKPRJKT all joined together for some fun. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: If its not about the skating, the fun and the friendship, you can keep your distance. I don’t want you around. I am generally kind, but I’m capable of quite the opposite. Just because I smile at you, doesn’t mean I like you. I might be picturing you on fire… Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Skate – Ozzie
“This shot was taken during a period in my life when I was one-hundred percent focused on snowboarding. At this time, I was traveling the world, competing as a professional snowboarder and was revitalizing my skate days from the past with some fun sessions and some crossover skating. My snowboarding was really taking my skateboarding to a new level. This was a fun pool session with a few friends and this opening shot looks like a very nostalgic, Tony Alva-esque frontside air.”
Thank you to Bert Lamar for the thoughts and Aaron Sedway for the images. Skate- Ozzie
My friend BLKPRJKT recently brought something to my attention. GoSkate.Com wrote something about the declining popularity of skateboarding. I quote – There is a culture associated with skateboarding, one that has not always had a positive image. It is important that going forward, all of us involved with the skateboarding industry create a universally positive image of the sport. In August of 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously to include skateboarding in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. The emerging ‘90s punk scene and the 1995 X-Games saved skateboarding in the ‘90s – Will the Olympics be skateboarding’s “saving grace?” End quote.
I wrote a fairly long and hostile reply to this… But I’ve scrapped it. After speaking with friends, it is easier to simply state that the Olympics won’t change anything for me or my friends. The X Games didn’t save skateboarding in the nineties because it didn’t need saving. The Olympics won’t do anything except usher in a long pathetic host of people that DO NOT skateboard, yet will try everything in their power to reap benefits and financial gain from our beloved skateboarding. If anything, I think skateboarding needs to be saved from them… We’ll be out here in the backyards, doing what we do, staying stoked, having fun and being lawless and unorganized. Purity. Skateboarding the way it has always been. FINI.
Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie
PS- As far as “…the emerging 90’s Punk scene” Go listen to The Stooges and not The Offspring. Punk had pretty much blown its wad by the 90’s.
Living in Nor Cal, I don’t really get to hang out with the old So Cal, La Costa crew. Thank you Glen for dusting off this old photo. I don’t think I’ve seen it before. The Phoenix team shirt and narrow board definitely makes it early 1976. What most people never realized was during those early years, I was already twenty five years old, with two kids and a mortgage, all while trying to run Gullwing and skate professionally. Now at sixty five, I wonder why I didn’t skate more back then? Everyone else during those times were teenagers and skating all day. Trying to compete with them was a bitch. Especially slalom. The little suckers were always nipping at my heels. I really liked vert riding. It was more like surfing, which is something I always did and maybe that’s why I had a natural aptitude for it. My greatest contribution to skateboarding were the Gullwing trucks and the right angled king pin. I was looking for something that turned more like a surfboard. Every time I see a new adjustable slalom truck or a longboard cruise by, I think, “I invented that.” My little joke. But, modern skaters have taken things to a level we could have never imagined. It feels good to have left something behind other than old photos, memories and stories. Thanks for noticing.
In appreciation, Michael Williams
Thank you to Mike Williams for the words and Glen E. Friedman for the previously unpublished image. Skate – Ozzie
She walked in. She’d walk out. Marriage. It was going that way. He carried on with the ghost of an empty whiskey bottle in his every waking breath. “Why are you looking at me like that?” he’d ask. Anger cut his tongue. She bristled. Cold front. It was all she could muster. A relationship was theirs. Use and misuse. She’d look at the wall as he’d climb onto her and pump… A human toilet. She’d think of Olive Garden breadsticks and she didn’t know why. He’d grunt and moan. Bathroom. Crying room. Her Kleenex and quiet refuge. She’d push the little brass button on the doorknob. It kept him out. Weeping quietly. Tormented and empty. The cinder blocks were cemented. Mortar and grout. Reinforced. She’d end up a shell of who she thought she’d be… no matter. Her decision. Cool water rinsed her hot skin and tears away. She saw her face and avoided her own eyes. That stranger had no answers. It never did. She’d asked and there was nothing forthcoming. It was a timeless tale that so many others had told… Unfulfilled. They were raised with the word. Colossians Chapter 3 stated- “… And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” He must not have read that last part. Her wrists hurt from his loving touch.
She blew her nose and thought of the kids. They were watching TV downstairs. They had no idea nor would they ever. She kept them blissfully unaware. Her boys were almost out of school. They grew weed and skateboarded with their friends in the empty pool outside. Good kids. Faces smiling and innocent. Eyes glued to cell phones.
There is a comfort that comes with denial. She knew it in the marrow of her bones. He was outside the door now. “What are you doing? It’s time for dinner.” She could feel his anger. He fiddled with the doorknob. Locked out. He’d been that way and that’s where he’d stay. She reached for the door. Cold front.
Double love. Bobby’s pool. It has been seen and felt. Much like the sun and heat it lays tranquilly beneath. The San Fernando Valley can be a scorcher. The trees try and shrug the heat off… Slumped. Summer sunshine. Pools are ubiquitous. Almost every street has a pool on it and in some cases, every home on every street. Like I said: everywhere. We prowl the narrow alleys and yawning neighborhoods. On a block wall, graffiti spells out something unintelligible regarding a late night debauchery. Broken beer bottles glitter in the sun. Tires and car parts lean against the mouth of the alley, waiting for a greasy trash truck that never seems to come. I spot hatred’s old tired face on a nearby wall. It’s message as weary and shallow as its always been. Racism. The maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.
An old Mexican man pushed a small cart filled with cheap ice cream bars and Otter Pops. His face is a tangle of wrinkles and pain. Unfulfilled dreams. I watch him move past me and towards a school. We move down the street and pull up in front of a house I’ve been watching. The house looks rundown. Uninhabited? No mail is in the mailbox. The windows are dirty on the car in the driveway and the registration is expired. We pull down the alley looking at the right hand kidney that has been on our radar for months. I pull myself up over the edge of the wall and look. I was trained well when I served with the United States Marine Corps. Frosty. My eyes take in everything. Threats. Dogs. Problems. I ease over the wall and into the yard. I turn on a garden hose and check to see if the water is still on. It is. I plug a night light into an outside outlet. Power? Affirmative. Quickly I’m back in the truck. Intel. “There are wheel marks in it. There’s also dog feces on the deck by the shallow end. I didn’t see a dog but even if it is inside, someone has to be feeding it…” I made a mental checkmark. We’d keep an eye on it. I shrug and we head over to the Double Love. Tony Alva is meeting us there. He’s filming something for the Vans Propeller video with Greg Hunt.
Greg Hunt and Tony Alva
Ripperside Shawn and TA
We skate for an hour or two. I always consider it a privilege to skate a pool with Tony Alva. We’ve become good friends over the last twenty years. If he needs something from me, I drop what I’m doing and handle it. He asked me to set up Bobby’s for Vans and it all came together. We were sitting there on the shallow stairs talking and I was telling Ripperside Shawn and Tony about the day that Arto brought the Volcom team riders over here and what they’d put the poor pool through. Punishers.
Grant Taylor, CJ Collins, Rune Glifberg, Pedro Barros, Omar Hassan… they handled business. Pro skaters that skated like Pro skaters should be skating. There was none of the twenty-five tries, filmed from three angles, crap. Splice. Splice. This was one-hundred and ten percent pure animal savagery. On point. White knuckle barbarism… The pool had so much potential. For guys like me, it was grind over the loveseat and try and stay on the line. For guys like the Volcom crew, it was anything they wanted, whenever and wherever.
Ripperside Shawn, Tony and I took a few more runs and went to eat tacos down the street. The sun dropped behind the clouds. I thought again about the Double Love pool and the magic it brought to so many people. Sometimes, we find a pool and it becomes so much more than what it appears to be. For the homeowner, its a useless hole in the yard that collects water and mosquitoes. Its a constant reminder of better times, family cookouts and laughter. For us, it becomes creative expression itself. Thank you to Arto Saari for the images. Skate – Ozzie