Eight

Me - Light / Death

Me – Light / Death

I’m eight years old today. I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. It has been quite the learning curve. Learning to live. Having no other solution to problems and pain. Fellowship. Friends. Real talk… I suppose I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I always felt like I never belonged and lies soon covered up the handicaps. I drank early on and it worked. Alcohol turned me into anyone but me. I was alright with it. I didn’t like myself anyway. I heard a famous pro skater say, “You gotta own your shit.” True enough. But who can really do that? A dying man? I guess I should know…  I died in an Orange County hospital. Stoli and Percocet. Killed by an angel. Alright with me. Owning your shit is a tough one. Full disclosure. What it was like? I would drink to leave this planet… first spaceship off this rock. Once I found opiates: slavery.  A garbage disposal. I’d take mine and yours. I would stop for a slice of pizza on my way home from work on a Friday night and wake up in jail on a Tuesday… naked. I’d be like, “Hey! Where are my clothes?” The duty officer would look at me and flatly answer, “You pissed yourself… and that was one of the nicer things you did.” Pitiful, incomprehensible, demoralization. Once you get to that ugly place, it takes those three words just to describe how low you’ve gone down the ladder of misery. No more. So, here I am. Eight years old and hopefully wiser. I try and help people as much as I can. I try to spread stoke around and make myself available for good. Love over hate. Positive over negative. Thank you to my real friends and Melanie. I am sober and sane because of you. Thank you for reading. Thank you to MRZ for the image. Skate- Ozzie

Experience

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If you ride pools for awhile, you run into pools that are super slippery. Many times, the chlorine eats at the surface of the paint or plaster, algae builds up, or the paint disintegrates and the surface is difficult to skate. We try different things to eliminate the slickness. Muriatic acid works. It is found in the pool chemical section at Home Depot and is around ten bucks for two gallons. Mix it in a bucket – half water, half acid. Wear a mask. Again: wear a mask. The fumes will burn your lungs… Mop it on heavy top to bottom. You can rinse or leave it on and then dry. I’ve had mixed results with both methods. I think it depends on what surface is being treated. Paint vs plaster. Try a small section and see. Another way to eliminate slippery surfaces is old-fashioned. Skateboarding 101. Grab a two liter bottle of orange soda (it usually has the most sugar) and spray the surface top to bottom. Leave it on and rip it. The bees may come but the surface will be grippy. It won’t last though.

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The great thing I use, is something Lance Mountain and I came up with. You buy Kilz 2 primer. Water based outdoor primer. Kilz brand works best because its very flat and dries fast. You buy a small tray, a big sponge and sweep the pool out. Mix two thirds paint with one third water. Stir it up and start daubing it over the surface.

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I know it sounds ridiculous, but this morning I did an entire pool in about an hour. It was an ice skating rink. An hour later, we were riding and it was super grippy and perfect. When pool skating, you are on your toes and heels quite often and slippery surfaces are a problem in maintaining speed. This is a great solution. The best thing is that Kilz lasts. Rain and riding won’t wear it away. It cost me eighteen dollars to do an entire pool. Just thought I’d help. Thanks Rick, Corey and KB. Skate – Ozzie

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Buried

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Mountains fall. Time has a way of helping that… Erosion. Decay. All life frantically moves around me. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry… to go where? I shrug and sip hot black coffee. The Glendale freeway rushes under my wheels. An orange sun is a smear over the hills to the east. A solis ortus cardine. (eastern lands are first to see the sun) Mt. Baldy. Palm Springs. Everything bakes under the merciless sun. It gives life and takes it away. One breath. Gone. An uncharted land of the poor, the hard-working and those who hide. I nose the truck down into a side street. The houses lie sleepy and sullen. Dogs stretch and yawn and wood smoke drifts to me in the morning air.

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I see a house boarded up. A pool lies forgotten in the neighboring yard. A large dog growls at my intrusion. It seems too early for him to bark… he follows me with his eyes. I continue my morning ritual. A neighborhood spreads out to my right. Old houses. 1950’s era. Huge untrimmed palm trees curve up above the somber houses. Rusting cars and trailers sit and deteriorate in overgrown lots. I walk along a crumpled wall. I see condoms. I find syringes. People had wandered in and spent the night. They rested on piss-stained mattresses and curled up in the cold with insects and trash. They scratched at festering sores. The long wait for a cruel sun. Buried.

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I find two filled-in pools in quick succession. Oddly. Rarely do I find pools turned into planters. Buried. I see the coping and the deathbox. It must’ve been skated. The pool company badge is missing. I smile thinly as a man parts his curtains and looks out at me. I give his stare directly back and make my way out to my truck. Life begins moving around me as the sun rises overhead. Families walk together in suits and dresses. Church bells ring in the distance. The Lord awaits. Penance.

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I see an old man driving past me, his pickup truck filled to overflowing with cardboard and refuse. Buried. I wonder if his life feels this way. Buried under debt, responsibility, a hostile environment… Questions I’d never ask and he’d never answer. He disappeared around a bend in the road.

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I parked the truck at a nearby apartment building. A man walks past me with a small dog. He has a torn brown leather coat. It’s cracked and tattered. His mouth is lost in facial hair. He baby-talks. “That’s a big boy. The sweet little boy.” I walk within an arms length and he never raises his eyes. I look back as the dog squats and leaves a brown pile of feces on the sidewalk…  they walk away and leave it. Passing under a small porch, I enter an archway. An empty kidney pool sits silent and alone. No water. No toys. No fun.

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I see a cop car and laugh out loud. It has a ‘For Sale’ sign on it…  Everyone knows that some police are for sale. I read somewhere that, “…police brutality is only effective when it is not caught on tape.” Hmmm.  I walk into an overgrown lot. Stepping behind a tree, I urinated out of sight. Walking back to the truck, my foot kicked something up from the grass and soil. I glanced down and smiled. It was definitely a piece of mangled coping. Looking around, I realized that there were once houses here. Long gone. Buried. I looked at the sun overhead and smiled. It was time to meet my friends and skate. Someday, I will no longer be here. I had to make the best of everyday I’m given. Skate- Ozzie

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Julz Lynn / Fire

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Some photographers see what is there and capture it. Others see things in their mind’s eye…  and set out to recreate it. Arto seems to be one of the latter. He has amazing ability and his photographs really stand out. About a year ago, he talked to me about a fashion photo shoot that he was doing at his pool. He was going to light the pool on fire and shoot a photograph of Julz Lynn doing a frontside air through the flames. We had done something similar with Lance Mountain a year or two ago at Ridiculous and I had helped during that shoot. I love fire and gasoline. There wasn’t too much arm-twisting involved. “Pour gasoline around the coping and set it on fire with a Zippo? Sure…  Count me in!” It was a cold night. The crew had set up lights, smoke machines… we had it all.

Arto

Directions

Direction

Quality Control

Trial Run

Trial Run

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Angles

The inherent problem in getting a particular photograph like the one Arto envisioned was timing. I had to get the gasoline lit and the fire had to wrap around the entire lip as Julz Lynn dropped in and pulled a frontside air. Sometimes the flames dwindled behind her, and other times, the flames were too high…  We tried several times. We used a leaf blower to keep the smoke billowing across the shallow end to mask the house behind the pool. Gasoline. Fire. Skateboarding. Symbiosis.

Julz Lynn and Arto

Julz Lynn and Arto

The results are pretty wonderful. Julz Lynn was the epic skateboarder that she is, no clothing was harmed and nothing burned that wasn’t supposed to burn. Good stuff. Thanks to Arto Saari and MRZ for the images. Thanks to Julz Lynn for ripping… skate- Ozzie

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Egg

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Snow covered the nearby mountains. Mt. Baldy loomed in the distance. The spillway knifed through a canyon somewhere to our left… We wouldn’t be walking up to the big pipe today. We had things to do. Shawn & Gopa were driving up from Escondido. Kevin Burke was enroute. We wanted to get into some backyard pools. The morning was still cold as I approached the Blue Haven egg pool. We’d been there before. It has been ridden off and on over the last two decades. I knocked and received the nod. “Go ahead… there’s quite a bit of water in there though. Did you bring a pump?” Not only did I have a pump, but the damn thing is sixty-six pounds of pool draining fury. Two hundred and fifty gallons a minute. Water doesn’t stay in a pool for very long  when we are around. We put ourselves into busy mode and a short time later, things were clean and water-free.

Gopa and Shawn

Gopa and Shawn

Problem: the shady part of the pool wouldn’t dry. It was too slick. We tried my leaf blower and towels to no avail. We decided to venture out and check on a few possible pools around town. We’d come back later. We knocked at a few doors, left a note and a short time later, the phone rang. “Hey, did you just leave a note on my front porch?” I replied that I most certainly had and that I’d like to come by again and talk with him about skating the pool. “Come by. I’m here.” We drove over. The guy was cool. He listened to my story and showed me the pool.

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Blue Haven. Rossmore kidney. It looked promising. We came to an agreement and soon left. We hit a few old favorites and returned to the egg. It was dry and big and fast. We like them that way. As the sun dropped and the temperature followed, Shawn, Gopa, KB and I put our wheels on plaster and all was absolutely right in the world.

Shawn

Shawn

Gopa

Gopa

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

Me

Me

Thank you to the owners and thank you to the crew. Skate- Ozzie

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Foundation

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In 1922, Pascal Paddock builds his first pool for the city of Lancaster, California. Two years later, he started Paddock Pools, mostly in order to win the contracting bids to build public pools in the west. A few years later, Paddock begins using white plaster to finish and waterproof his pools. He also devises a method of pouring the entire pool shell as a monolithic structure, eliminating expansion joints. Southern California landscape architect Philip Ilsley, considered by some the father of the pool industry, begins incorporating pools into some of his new home backyards. Later in the decade, he revolutionizes the industry with an oval-shaped pool with curved walls made of hand-packed, or dry-packed, concrete over steel.

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In 1938, Ilsley, who was chairman of the board of the Paddock Engineering Company, one of the nation’s oldest and largest concerns in the design and manufacture of swimming pools, introduced spray-pressure Gunite, an innovation which revolutionized the swimming pool industry. World War II delayed the boom, but between 1948 and 1957, private swimming pool ownership in the United States exploded from 2,500 to some 57,000 with 33,000 built in 1956 alone. Ilsley also rewrote the book on swimming pool shapes and pioneered the now ubiquitous kidney shape and other designs.

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Pascal Paddock and Philip Ilsley had no idea that what they would invent, would ultimately change people forever. Pool skating would eventually come from these humble construction beginnings. Thank you gentlemen. Skate- Ozzie

Addendum

Arto Saari text me and said that he really liked this post but he added that Alvar Aalto introduced the kidney-shaped swimming pool in Finland in 1939… Looks pretty good to me.

Villa Mairea by Alvar Aalto

Villa Mairea by Alvar Aalto

 

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Lance Mountain / Pools

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Lance Mountain

“The first vertical we skated were close neighborhood swimming pools. There is nothing like the real adventure, feel, challenge, and fun of riding a man-made plaster structure designed for something else. It is why we still do it. The pure feeling of skateboarding with friends as we did over thirty years ago. No practicing for a contest. No skating in front of a crowd. Just the same raw reason we did it back then. Backyard pools — as much as they make your knees feel your age — make your mind feel very young.”
Thank you to Lance Mountain for the thoughts and MRZ for the image. Skate- Ozzie
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