Boy on a Bus

 

October 1978. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. I sat on the old yellow school bus and kept to myself. The older boys were making a commotion in the back seats like they usually did. They were big. Much larger than I was. I kept to the seats towards the front and always sat by the windows. That way, when they got off at their stop, they couldn’t elbow me in the head ‘accidentally’ on their departure. They did this as often as they could. The torment of adolescence. I wasn’t the only victim. There were others. We saw each other and sadly hoped the bullies would take aim at the other. It was hard fitting into a puzzle I was never designed for. I looked back down at the Skateboard Wold Magazine that had recently arrived in my mailbox. August 1978. Ray Flores. Tony Alva. Kent Senatore. Brad Bowman. I was certain that these guys would be cool if we ever met. They’d see my splintered wooden half-pipe, my backside and front side airs and they’d surely welcome me into the fold! Brothers.  “…of course they would!”

The bus lurched and stopped again. The doors folded on themselves and cold air blew in. The kids trudged off. Red blinking lights had stopped cars and I could see people waiting impatiently for the kids to cross over to safety. It made me laugh. “Safety?” I frowned. I was safer crossing any dark road than I was in school, at home or on this fucking bus. I wasn’t afraid of being alone in the dark. I was afraid of people. They were always the problem. The thought of a big Buick running me down on an icy winter street played out its macabre bloody story in my head. Wind screaming, people running, voices gruff “Cover him up! Call the Police!” I lay there on greasy asphalt; limbs twisted and gore spattered. My brain on fire and no words forthcoming…. The bus stopped again and I was pulled from my brutal reverie. A small blonde-haired boy with empty eyes moved up a few bench seats and sat opposite me. He glanced over and then his eyes immediately fell to the floor. I knew him, but only by name. James Lauer. He was thin like me and he was my age but he looked like a little girl. His eyes rarely rose above his shoes. I’d seen him a time or two in the locker room during gym class. He had bruises on his thighs, hips and back. I was a punching bag everywhere I went… and I felt that we may have shared the same fate. I saw his eyes glance at the open magazine. I pushed it across my thigh and stated, “Skateboarding… ”  Then asked, “Have you ever skated?” He shook his head no.

I paged through slowly. His eyes roved over the photographs. The bus lurched and shuddered. Kids talking loudly. Folding doors open. Raw fall air… Twilight. We kept to our quiet inspection. James Lauer. Me. Two frail and destroyed kids moving through the bleak Pennsylvania countryside. We didn’t belong in this world and we both knew it. Unspoken. Cornfields stretched away to both sides of us. Most of the kids had been dropped off and we moved through the late afternoon until we finally approached a trailer park near Avon. The trailers marched up the street in uniform fashion. I saw old cars parked and rusting. I saw pale light streaming from the windows. A tattered American flag fluttered slowly from a pole nearby. James Lauer shifted in his seat and once the bus stopped, he moved off of the bus without a glance or a word. He shuffled across the road and he seemed smaller than any human could possibly be. I shook my head. Whatever waited for him in that cold Pennsylvania afternoon was not good. I never saw a person move so slowly. The bus pulled away and I craned my neck….  A turn of the road and he was lost to me. Time and life removed James Lauer from my mind until one day at school, I overheard someone say his name. It seems he hung himself in the tiny closet of his bedroom. The cold dark called and life held no respite…  no comfort of any kind. I think of him from time to time. A box of bones in a Pennsylvania field. Maybe skateboarding could have saved him… maybe. Rest in peace James. X Ozzie

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Twenty Years Gallery

 

Jeff Phillips R.I.P.
This sticker was on the tiles on the right side of the shallow end at Howard Johnson’s. I’d slap it with my hand every time I skated there. I saw others follow suit. Jeff was a true GIANT. I can’t believe he couldn’t find help when he needed it most. XO

Memories. They blend together sometimes. Who. Why. What. Where. When. Over the decades, I’ve kept a pretty accurate list of this stuff. I continued scanning all day while it rained. I’ve come across a couple of cool images. I’m posting below with notes to accompany each. I hope you like this stuff. It makes me feel good to get this out there to each of you. A time capsule. Skate- Ozzie

There was this dude (on the stairs) living at the Howard Johnson’s hotel while it was in transition. The place was a mess. He sort-of squatted there to the best of my recollection. He’d let us skate. I think people brought him weed and beer. The first time I rode it, I went with Steve and we cut a hole in the fence with green tin snips. There was no one there and we had to pump that pig for hours…

Dave Reul September 2000. Dave Reul and Steve Alba completely dominated this pool. It was big and fast and both of them did corner airs and every obstacle. We had some incredible sessions there. We filmed some Chlorine stuff there as well.

Scott Ward. I knew Scott from the Pennsylvania Buster’s Barn Ramp days. We skated for years together and he ultimately moved out to California as well. He would come skate pools with us. A very talented skater, Scott really started skating pools well until a shoulder injury took him out for good. He lives in Seattle now with his wife and baby daughter.

Steve Roche at B Bowl in San Diego. November 1997. This was one of the pools in San Diego that I rode in the first few months living in California. I recall it being steep and difficult, but then again, I suck so…

Tyco at Checkers. Fontana Ca. May 1999. I found this pool driving with a girlfriend at the time. It was the first Paddock Pool I’d ever found and I was stoked. It had about three feet of nasty water in it and I came back to drain and skate it that next week. There was a huge citrus tree over the deep end which you can see. The bottom of the pool was inches thick with rotting citrus muck. It stank horribly. Once we got it drained, we had to deal with its fiberglass surface. Ultimately, it would be a fun pool for a few months. I rode it with Aaron Astorga and Shaggy once. Jesus! I got the Paddock Pools plate from it and had it chromed along with several others. I gave the plates out as Christmas presents. I think either Steve or Rhino got the Paddock plate.

Triple Bubble. May 3, 1999. Charlie Middleton and Rhino. I think Andy Macdonald, TA and Pool Hustler Bobbo were there that day. Boarded up for awhile, this thing became a legend. When I lived at Ridiculous ten years later, I got it going as a permission.

Tony Alva Triple Bubble May 1999

The Constellation. June 1999. Shaggy and Rhino spot checking for broken glass… I recall asking permission and the dude let us in.  As I walked through the house, I recall seeing a Nazi flag and photos of Adolf Hitler on the wall. A silent TV played a video of some girl getting wrecked by three huge cocks. She was flopping around. I looked at the dude that let us in and thought, “Nah… we should go.” We were in and out in less than a half hour.

Shakey’s with Big Al Glasco and Shaggy. Summer 1999. Big Al would meet up with us and take us into Inglewood and Compton. Big Al is Los Angeles OG. Dude has skated everything and everywhere.

Funny story. I’m not sure if this is the pool but I think it happened here. Check it out. Big Al took us to this pool. It was in a gnarly part of the city. It was a boarded up motel or apartment. As we were walking in, we had to pull back the corner of the fence and slide in single file to get access. As we pulled the fence out, a toothless crackhead hooker came out and she reached over and took a lit cigarette that was hanging out of someone’s mouth. She put it in hers, took a puff and cackled as she walked away. We were like “WTF? Did that just happen?” Comical.

I think this pool was called Mike’s but I only went there once. Huntington Beach? Westminster? Anaheim? I recall it being in Orange County. That’s the best I got on this one. Given the grind marks and stickers everywhere, there has to be someone that knows the deal on this permission.

Rhino at Sea Monster December 25, 1997

Bacon, Preston and Rhino watching Andy Macdonald at Sea Monster. 1998

Sea Monster 25 December 1997. The Sea Monster was in San Diego and we rode it regularly in my first few months here. It was buried early in 1998. I rode it with Rhino, Andy, Preston, Bacon, Old Man Andy and Roche. It was steep and gnarly but everyone ripped it!

Tahitian Village in Anaheim. May 1999. I only went here one time. I was hurt so I took photos. I had twisted my ankle at the Penny Pool in Rialto so I couldn’t really get around. I recall everyone getting through the corner, love seat action and heavy grinds. We went to another pool in Anaheim on this day and I do recall going to the Royal Pool company off the I-5 freeway at that time. They had closed and the demonstration pools were empty and just sitting there. Strangely, I recently drove past and though the company is long gone, the giant Royal Pools sign still hangs high above the freeway.

Royal Pools. I-5 Freeway. Anaheim

Tyco at Tahitian Village. May 1999

John Zask Tahitian Village. May 1999

Pete Engle at Tahitian Village. May 1999

Steve Alba at Tahitian Village in May 1999.

Thank you for walking through memory lane with me. I hope you like these. I have another huge box of negatives so…  another part looms on the horizon. Skate- Ozzie

 

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Twenty Years and a Day

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

Pepper pool

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.

Yup…

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

CREW

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?!”

img474

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

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Twenty Years

Twenty years ago. Hmmm… I wonder what you were doing. I was recently scanning old negatives and came across a bunch of pool draining images which I promptly stuck in the machine and scanned. Drinking coffee and listening to Sigur Ros, I was surprised to see the time frame from when the images were taken. Interestingly enough, the date was on the bottom of several of the images. 12/31/98. New Years Eve. The photographs brought back a ton of memories. These were taken when Toby Burger and I were draining pools in the lead up for our Big Day Out with Steve Alba. It would ultimately be in Thrasher Magazine in May 1999. ’22 Pools in a Day.’

Preston Maigetter, Rhino, Reuler, Toby and Salba

Toby Burger / Anaconda 12/31/98

Palmetto 12/31/98 (stoked to see my old BMW 2002 by the fence)

Armitron 12/31/98

Steve had decided that he wanted us all to get thirty pools drained and ready and we would start at dawn and see how many we could ride until dark. It was a rainy winter so several times, we would drain three or four on a weekend, only to have to backtrack and pump them out again. This particular day–New Years Eve 1998– Toby and I drained somewhere around nine or ten if memory serves me correctly. This was long before satellite, smart phones and all of that easy stuff. Steve and the crew agreed on Saturday, January 2, 1999 as the day for the big pool assault and we needed to finish draining.

Chicken Brick 12/31/98

Chicken Brick 12/31/98

Alice Sunset 12/31/98

Toby Burger Mesa Blue Haven 12/31/98

Mesa Blue Haven 12/31/98

Back then, I would leave San Diego in the dark, drive to the Inland Empire and meet up with the crew. We would literally drive all day. We’d look for houses on the market, HUD homes boarded up, dead lawns… We could drive all day and only find one or two pools. It wasn’t easy and it took passion and hard work. It also took a huge block of time. Getting thirty pools located, drained and ready is extraordinary… we are talking twenty years ago! We had made a map (I think Steve drew it up) and it had a starting point and thirty stops with cross streets and addresses. We had pools from Colton through Muscoy, San Bernardino, Fontana and over into Ontario and Upland. As Steve says, “The Land of the Bad”. He’s right on that one. We started early on that cold January morning in 1999. We ended the day at twenty two pools.

Steve Alba pivot on jacuzzi with Rhino shooting

Wilson Blue Haven 12/31/98

Looking back at theses images, I think of the crew. Steve Alba, Dave Reul, Toby Burger, Rhino, Preston… I’m saddened by the fact that we really don’t skate together anymore. Lives become complicated. Children, jobs, misunderstandings, bitterness, injuries… We lost P-Stone and its an ache that doesn’t really go away. Seeing the photographs reminds me that there is an absolute pure beauty in backyard pool skating with friends. These photographs could’ve been taken last week…Nothing different. Nothing wrong. Nothing but fun. My apologies for poor image quality. I had what I had. Happy New Year 2019. Make it good and be a better person. Skate- Ozzie

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The Last Word / Jay Adams

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

Posted 2015
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Bobby’s Double Love

l10017092015228doublelove

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.

Me

Me

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

Greg Hunt and Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Ripperside Shawn and TA

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.

Omar Hassan

Omar Hassan

C.J. Collins

C.J. Collins

Grant Taylor

Grant Taylor

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.

Rune Glifberg

Rune Glifberg

Pedro Barros

Pedro Barros

Arto Saari

Arto Saari

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

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Nick Menza / Menzanator

Nick Menza R.I.P.

Nick Menza R.I.P.

Jim Howell and I skated in the freezing cold all day. It was December 1990. Pennsylvania can be raw at this time of year… We felt it all day long. We rode the Reading skatepark. Asphalt. Both of us were amping on overload. We were skating all day and then headed to see Megadeth and Testament open for Judas Priest that night. A day of days. That night, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth introduced the band members in between songs. Drummer Nick Menza raised his sticks in the air as he was introduced and at that, Dave Mustaine stated unequivecally, “…and you all better know who the fuck I am!” At that, Megadeth launched into new songs off the Rust In Peace album that had just been released. As I worked myself into a thrash metal, sweat-soaked heap, I would’ve never believed that about twenty five years later, I’d be standing in Nick Menza’s backyard in California, he’d be gone from us and we’d be skating his empty swimming pool.

Nick Menza played drums with Megadeth for four albums and on solo projects after. Nick tragically passed away May 21, 2016 while playing drums with his band in Los Angeles. His home in Los Angeles, which he moved into in 1995, sat on a quiet street. The ivy grew over the fences, the trees sagged in the hot sun. His sister Donia started cleaning things up and going through Nick’s belongings. It was all terribly daunting and sad.

Rick Stine was driving through an alley in the San Fernando Valley, when his phone began vibrating. He stopped at the next corner and checked it. His friend Phil had text him a photograph of an empty pool: “Look at what I found”  Rick went back and forth and learned the news of Nick Menza’s passing and that Phil was helping Donia clean up the place. The pool sat empty and — delicately — Rick asked about permission to skate it.

After a month or so, Donia gave Rick permission to come by. The house was being sold and was empty. Rick and I drove over one morning. We weren’t expecting too much. On satellite it seemed really narrow in the deep end. Usually, a narrow deep end can make a pool difficult in some ways. When we arrived, there was a small amount of construction debris in the bottom but little else. The facewall transitions were amazing and the sidewalls pillowed. We were immediately stoked. Rick and I took first grinds and the following weekend, we came back with Chris Livingston, MRZ and Corey Philips.

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Corey Philips

Corey Philips

Chris Livingston

Chris Livingston

Me

Me

The Santa Clarita fires were burning and the sky was orange and smoky. It was a strange thing to look up and see the entire sky in such a way. It seemed like the whole world was burning. La fin du monde. This was to be the first real session and we did it right.  I put on Megadeth and played Rust In Peace. While Nick Menza hammered away on the drums as only he could, we hammered away at the coping on his pool. We knew that Nick was smiling down on us. Good friends, a great pool, Megadeth and the sky on fire… A proper tribute to the greatness of Nick Menza.  Recently, Rick had shown me a photograph Donia had sent him of Nick Menza skating his own pool! We were so stoked. It seems that he had ridden his own pool back in 2014.

Nick Menza R.I.P.

Nick Menza R.I.P.

He was a multi-faceted guy and very talented. It is a tragedy that he is gone. We hope that in some way, we gave him a proper tribute. His life. His music. His skateboarding and legacy. Thank you Nick. Rest In Peace. Thank you to MRZ for the images and Donia for the session. Thanks Rick. Skate- Ozzie

Originally published 2016

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