Saturday morning. An iron sky. The Accu-Wrong forecast calls for rain… “Maybe they are right for a change.” I mumble and pour coffee into a well-worn mug that Ben Bridgers sent me. It has a drawing by Neil Blender on it. As far as I’m concerned… I own one coffee mug. I’m in West Hollywood. It is January of a new year. The other day I posted a story about some pool skating photographs from twenty years ago that I had recently scanned. Time goes by. I was clearing my desktop yesterday afternoon and removing some recent pool skating photographs to an external hard drive. MRZ, Ripperside Shawn, Rick Stine, Howie, Henry, Lance Mountain, TA, Gopa, Marlon, Bulldog and Andy, Brad McClain… I wondered if in twenty years, I’ll be looking at these images and telling people about the sessions. Fond memories. Fun. Then I realized that in twenty years I’ll be seventy five years old. Seventy five?! My heart hurt… I stopped what I was doing and did the dishes, fed the cats and went for a long run. Runyon Canyon. The Hollywood Sign. I looked out over Hollywood. “How did I end up here?” I mused. The little boy from the farm lands of Pennsylvania. Dream big. Life takes us on a strange journey sometimes. Many years ago, a martial arts instructor told the class that we could predict our future by creating it. His words stayed with me. As I started back down the dirt trail, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Last night, I pondered my age and how it would be in twenty years. Would I be a seventy five year old man telling skateboarding stories? It seemed ridiculous. But maybe that is the way history works. We live our lives and pass down the experiences — good and bad — to those that follow. We’ve come a long way in twenty years. I don’t really recall having a cell phone until 1999 or so. Young people skating in this day and age have never lived a life without a smart phone and the internet. Our old way of searching for pools has become obsolete. Much like us in a way. Where we would once look through Real Estate listings and drive endlessly looking for abandoned homes, burned houses and foreclosures… satellite imagery has made it simple. You don’t even have to hop a fence any longer. Life. It moves on. I am holding on and trying to move with it. Here are some photographs I’ve shot along the journey. I’ve included notes about each. Be well and Happy New Year 2019. Skate – Ozzie
Andy Macdonald & Rhino at Tweaker Andy’s pool in Chino. December 1997 This was one of the first ‘Regular’ pools that Steve took me to when I moved here. It was on the menu. Permission. We would hit it often. The first time I went, it had been raining a ton. We went in the backyard and the deck was covered in dog crap. Big dogs. It looked like bark mulch everywhere. The owners just swept it into the pool so as we drained, it was poop sludge. In my notes, I actually have written, “Dog Shit Kidney, Chino”. As Steve was fond of saying, “A proper start for the Pennsylvania pussy.”
Tweaker Andy’s in Chino. December 1997
Steve Alba at Tweaker Andy’s December 1997 with Rhino and Andy Macdonald
Kale Sandridge, Steve Alba, Dave Reul and Tony Farmer at Pepper Pool. August 1998. Steve took me to Pepper and it was here that I tail dropped my first pool, did BS airs in my first pool and learned to begin riding shallow ends. I actually was there once with Jim Howell. The pool lay at the end of a cul de sac. They’ve since opened up the cul de sac and connected it to the north. Back then, you’d just loop around, park beside the pool and walk in. Jim said to me “Dude. A cop is here.” I saw his red lights above the fence and thought. “Oh well” Walked out, told him we were skating but we’d leave. He said, “Did you go in the house?” I said we didn’t and he just kept eating a sandwich and said he didn’t care. We happily rode the rest of the day.
Me at Pepper. May 99
Steve Alba and Andy Macdonald at Pepper Pool. Summer 1998
Dave Reul at Pepper Pool January 1999
Steve Alba, Charlie Middleton and Andy Macdonald at Pepper pool. Summer 1998
Andy Macdonald Pepper Pool. Summer 1998
Kale Sandridge, Dave Reul and Steve Alba at Pepper Pool. Summer 1998
Tony Farmer and Steve Alba. Barging / September 1998 Rialto
Dave Reul at Howard Johnson’s – Winter 1999
Chlorine Video Era
Steve Alba at Koontz Pool. September 1998.
Koontz Pool. One day I came up from San Diego with Tony Alva. We rode a bunch of pools that day and I couldn’t resist taking him to Koontz. I don’t think Steve was too happy…
Steve Alba at Koontz
Koontz pool was unreal. It was a full barge and on this day it was Kale, Reul, Steve, Farmer, Toby and someone else. Some local guys came in flexing but after watching Steve go over every obstacle, Kale aired the slide, Toby rocked the shallow, and Farmer rolling in, they shut up, lit a joint and enjoyed the show.
Palmetto One. There were several over the years but this one was beautiful. Dave Reul grinds while that heavy shallow end crew waits for theirs.
Rhino at Palmetto One . Summer 1998
I told you there was more than one. Dave Reul grinds Palmetto Two while someone watches… I don’t know who it is but I’m digging the Mike Frazier Tshirt
John Zask and Tyco at Fishbowl AKA Pink Motel Summer 2000
Tyco rolling into Fishbowl AKA Pink Motel. August 2000
Tyco. Simi Valley Capsule. Summer 2000. Stacy Peralta had me helping him and TA with the Z Boys Documentary at this time. I was listed as creative consultant but I really just found pools for them to ride and film stuff in. It was a cool experience and I’m grateful to TA and Stacy. Thank you. The Simi Valley capsule was a permission that we went to during this time. We ended up filming TA’s interview in the shallow end for Z Boys Documentary.
Texas Dan (Dansas) November 7, 2000. Sunaire pool. Dan and I left San Diego and drove to Palm Springs. We found about fifteen pools, rode a bunch and cleaned out and were the first to ride the Biltmore Hotel.
The Dog Egg. When I first moved to San Diego, I lived in the hallway outside of the bathroom in Andy and Rhino’s apartment. Pstone lived there as well. The Dog Egg was right up the street and they’d barge it once in awhile. I decided to knock and talk. The Dog Egg was the first permission pool I ever got going in my life… and so it began. April 1998
Nude Bowl. November 1998. Rhino, Chris Rice and friends all drove to do the Baldy, Nude Bowl big day out. When we arrived, the Sector Nine truck was there and they had painted the pool yellow. It didn’t bother me once I saw Crazy Eddie Aliota there… That dude is a fucking joy to watch on a skateboard.
Rhino Nude Bowl
Baldy- One thing I really remember about this Baldy trip… it was the first time I jumped into and out of the pipe. The first time I ever went, Steve kicked the planks that were spanning the gap and said, “First time in, you gotta jump.” So I did. On this trip, I jumped back out which is a much more daunting challenge.
Rhino and friend coming in hot. Baldy Gap
Encina Kidney. October 1998. This tiny nugget was found by Steve. If I recall correctly, he took me there the first day and we drained it maybe? Whatever the case may be, it still had the Blue Haven badge on it. I’d never been able to get one yet so Steve said “Frontside grind first run and its yours.” I pushed in and hung it. Steve graciously gave me a second pass and the plate was mine. He threw me his Leatherman and I removed it. I had it chrome plated in 99 and its been on every single automobile I’ve owned ever since. Thanks dude.
September 21, 2017. Car dealership parking lot. You should’ve seen the look on the car dealers face when I picked up my brand new truck, got out a drill and screwed the plate onto it. They were like, “WTF?!”
Steve Alba Encina Kidney. October 1998
On Saturday July 10th 1999 at 1:39 am, TA called me. He woke me up and gave me directions to a pool. At noon, I met him in Mar Vista. It was Gonzales Pool. We hosed it down and cleaned it together. It was amazing being there. While the pool dried, TA and I drove over and he showed me where the Dogbowl was. He talked his way into the yard and I got to see it. This day stands out to me because on one day, I got to skate Gonzales with Tony Alva and see the Dogbowl. Pretty great. On my return to San Diego, Rhino was with Buddy and Charno. They asked what I’d been skating. I told them and since they were filming Fruit of the Vine, I asked TA to set up a session. We went that next day. These are the photos I took. Fruit of the Vine is an amazing look at pool skating and I’m happy we went together that day. Tony Alva and Rhino. July 12, 1999
Charno, Buddy and TA. Gonzales Pool. Mar Vista July 12, 1999
Tony Alva at Dogbowl July 10, 1999
Thank you for going through memory lane with me. I apologize for the image quality. I was just taking photos and trying to skate. Stoked. Thanks – Ozzie