Edge Of The World

sunset

It was nearly Christmas.  I walk outside with my hands buried deep in my pockets.  I see a skinned sky. Blood red. I notice mountains that can’t be climbed and oceans that won’t be crossed. It seems like the whole world is losing.  Sinking like a polished stone, I spend the long night by myself.  I read books and find it interesting that we were to mark the conclusion of a five-thousand year cycle in the Mayan calendar. Yet the world didn’t end… Oblivion? The edge of the world.

endless

endless

Every year during the holidays, Ripperside Shawn and I take a skate adventure somewhere. We were going to head to Phoenix this season but things didn’t work out. Shawn and I decided to scout the desert areas to the east. When I left Ridiculous that morning, it was pouring rain. It didn’t really matter and I  didn’t really care. It was supposed to be the end of the world anyway… I drove to meet up with Shawn. I wondered at the behavior of people around me. Deceit. Indifference. It was probably for the better that the end was coming…

Scouting

Scouting

finality

finality

We scouted around randomly for awhile until we came upon this huge pool. It was at the very end of a long valley. There were dirt roads that drifted off into nothing. I saw sun-split boulders and burnt scrub brush from fires. Wind shrieked and moaned. We saw the pool through the trees and smiled thinly at each other. We had located a gem and it truly seemed like we were living at the edge of the world.

_DSC8319bw

_DSC2506bw

There was a good bit of water in the pool and we bucketed it out in silence. The wind kept us company… the ghosts of the desert spoke to us. They wondered, “Why are you here? This is a dead place and it belongs to us.” I knew that they couldn’t harm us and they would soon see why we had come. Inevitability. We dried the pool with towels and pushed in. It was with a sense of unreality that we rolled through the pool. We couldn’t believe the perfection. There was mutual agreement. It was truly the best backyard pool that we had ever skated.

_DSC8306

I went to see Bucky Lasek at his house a few days later. We were talking about pool riding and he said that he wanted to come out again and ride some backyard plaster. I immediately thought of something that I could envision him riding. I showed him a photograph of the desert gem and he simply raised an eyebrow and asked, “Tomorrow?” I nodded my assent. I went about my business and prepared. I told him that few things are certain. Texting. Phone calls. Plans. We met up early. Paul Wisniewski, Owen Neider, Mike Napoli, Bucky, Scott Taylor, Aaron Astorga and Brian Fick. Looking around at the talented crew, I hoped we weren’t taking a long drive for nothing. I asked the Gods above for a glimmer of hope. “Please, shine a light on us  today…” I really wanted to see what these guys could do in this pool. We drove east. The sky was ominous. Once in the mountains, it started snowing. Spirits sagged. We pushed on.

Paul, Fick, Bucky, Scott and Mike

Paul, Fick, Bucky, Scott and Mike

We drove for a few hours and talked about all of the things that skateboarders always talk about. Tricks, contests, style… there was a good bit of friendly crap talk and everyone was laughing at each other. Descending down out of Julian, the skies remained gloomy but the ground was dry. No snow. No rain. Hopeful, we soon arrived at the desert gem and saw that everything was perfect. Everyone had the same look on their faces. Awe!

Aaron Astorga- tailslide

Aaron Astorga- tailslide

Aaron Astorga is a joy to watch when he rides a skateboard. His first runs were fast and stylish. He did shallow end grinds right away and soon followed it up with Smiths and tailslides. Bucky had to backpedal from the huge transitions of his bowl and onto smaller ones. It took him only a few runs and he quickly lit the session up with inverts, airs and grinds. Bucky did trick to trick combinations with apparent ease. He pulled a huge boneless and I thought to myself, “Good Lord!”  I was happy that I had witnessed that.  I wondered if the old ghosts of the desert were watching. Mike Napoli put his trucks on the spit gutter and the look on his face was priceless.

Bucky Lasek - boneless

Bucky Lasek – boneless

Mike Napoli- frontside grind

Mike Napoli- frontside grind

Paul Wisniewski was on a mission. He pulled some insanity out, formed it with some soul searching and put it out into the universe. Frontside lipslides over the spit gutter and bullnose was an absurdity in my book. I never saw that one coming… Awesome! Owen Neider fought with his demons, Scott Taylor stood up the longest 5-0 grinds in between filming and I took to the sky on a tall wall. Everyone had a similar sense of disbelief going on within them. We couldn’t quite grasp how amazing this huge old pool was. It was a gift from the Gods. It was the end of the world and we had been given a temporary reprieve. Opportunity. Setting things right. I caught several of the guys looking around in wonder. Here at the tail end of a mountain pass, in a land of desolation and bleak wind, we had found a place to make a final stand.

Paul Wisniewski- Sean Penn

Paul Wisniewski- Sean Penn

Owen Neider- tailblocked

Owen Neider- tail-blocked

Scott Taylor - 5-0

Scott Taylor – 5-0

me

me

The afternoon waned. The clouds started spilling over and a cold wind picked up. Rain rode down the hillsides. Everyone was tired, yet elated. It had almost been too much. We looked around at each other and smiled…  If this was to be the end of the world then we were certainly going out in grand fashion. I peered up at the clouds as they shoved their way across the gaunt passes above me and wondered what the new year would bring.

Edge Of The World II – Dawning

Thank you to Shawn, the crew and KRSNA. Special thanks to Brian Fick and MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Buddha

unnamedIn the November 1977 issue of Skateboard World magazine, there was an article on the Buddha Pool. It captured my imagination. The story related how several skateboarders found and skated this perfect off-set keyhole pool while the owners were away. It seems that the house was being worked on and the pool was empty. There was very little information other than this. The pool received its name due to the fact that there was a white Buddha statue perched on the wooden diving board, overlooking the pool. The bowl was amazing with huge transitions, perfect coping, a love seat in the mid wall and clamshell side ladder stairs which would serve as an obstacle to go over. I’m unsure why, but the Buddha Pool stayed with me for all these years. I would dream of it…   When I was skating in Pennsylvania as a teenager, I would look at the article on the Buddha Pool and go out and ride my plywood ramp. I would pretend that I was doing one-wheelers with Kent Senatore and tail-taps beside Jerry Valdez. Imagination. It was all I had.

Kent Senatore / Skateboard World

Kent Senatore / Skateboard World

Once I moved to California, I asked around about the Buddha Pool. It had been thirty years. Memories fade. Pools become mixed up in people’s minds. “Oh…  I don’t know. I think it was in Studio City.” “That was deep in the Valley bro…” “Hollywood Hills. No doubt about it.” These were some of the responses…  others just shrugged. The Buddha took on mythical proportions. The Dog Bowl, Fish Bowl and Gonzales Pool were found and skated again over the ensuing years. The Buddha Pool remained lost in the dim gulfs of time. It was considered a perfect pool by those that rode it. Where? Didn’t anyone remember? When William Sharp and I began writing his book together, I saw images of the Buddha Pool in the archive and it quickly put me back on the hunt. I now had access to the very guys that skated it. Over a few weeks, I spoke with them. Heavy OG Los Angeles pool riders weighed in on things. We went over Google maps and slowly but surely, we found two distinct neighborhoods that might be the resting place of the famed Buddha Pool. One June morning, Lance Mountain and I drove the Los Angeles hillsides together. He and I shared the same passion. We wanted to find the Buddha Pool. Neither of us harbored any illusions about being able to skate it. The neighborhoods that we were searching on this day were million dollar properties. These folks don’t let their pools sit empty…  money is never an issue. We drove into the dirty sunlight. After several hours of fruitless searching and growing weary of our disappointment, we stopped at the bottom of a hillside street. A long paved driveway meandered off to our right. Red Bougainvillea spilled over the fences. It was quiet. Lance looked over at me. “Well? You want to walk up and check? There are three or four houses up there I think…” I peered out of the windshield and noticed the Hollywood sign on a hillside nearby. I thought of the Skateboard World magazine article. Ghosts from the past whispered to me.

image-1“Yeah…   Let’s drive up and act like we are turning around.” I looked at my phone. The satellite view showed a square pool closest to us, two empty yards and at the very top of the street, a pool I couldn’t quite see. Its shape was obscured by trees and stuff. Lance eased the truck up the street. Once at the top, I saw water and a pool through a slat in the fence. He stopped. I quickly got out and walked over. Stepping up on a small boulder, I looked over and there it was. The Buddha Pool. I hurriedly raised my camera and put it over the edge of the fence. Click. Done.unnamed-1We were soon driving away. Ecstatic. Laughing.  Seeing it full of water, noting the beautiful condition of the home and the expensive automobile parked outside, I knew that our chance of ever draining and skating it were nil. I put it away in my mind. Fast forward about eighteen months. I was in Hollywood and it was early Sunday morning. I was sitting at a red light and I realized that the Buddha Pool was very close to were I was. I drove by for a quick peek. I walked up and quietly peered over the fence. I almost passed out in shock. Empty. The Buddha Pool sat bone dry…  Disbelief. I phoned Lance. I didn’t know what to do… The pool is situated in the front yard. In order to get to the front door, one has to walk around the pool. I turned my camera on, took a deep breath and walked to the front door.

The walk up.

The walk up.

Opposing view.

Opposing view.

I took two photographs and then knocked. No answer. I decided to leave a nice note on the car and see what happened. A few days later, the phone rang. It was the daughter of the homeowner. “Yes. I remember when skaters rode the pool. I was about eight or ten years old. My uncle would chase them out.” I laughed. She was telling me exactly what had happened in the Skateboard World magazine article… except, she lived at the house back then. It was surreal. I told her about the book and the William Sharp photographs. I explained that I’d like to show them to her and possibly talk about doing a small photograph session with some of the guys that originally skated it. A full circle sort of tale. She told me to stop by and I ultimately did. The daughter explained that the pool had been refurbished in about 1979 and that is why the tiles are no longer blue. They were replaced. She took me inside and explained that the living room of the house had started to slide down the hill around 1976. This is why the pool and house sat empty back in the 1970’s when the skaters rode it. She pointed out the front window. A living room fireplace sat outside the glass. “They basically tore down the three walls of the living room and glassed in what was once the dining room. We lost the fireplace I guess…” I laughed. Hearing the history of the home was pretty amazing. The Buddha statue was long gone. I had heard that it was stolen back in the mid 1970’s and ended its life in a garden over near Echo Park. The weather had eventually dissolved it and it sat an unrecognizable terra cotta blob surrounded by ferns.

Buddha Pool

Buddha Pool

Me / Full Circle

Me / Full Circle

IMG_5461

Jerry Valdez

Jerry Valdez

We went back outside and sat by the pool. We looked at old photographs of Jerry Valdez and Kent Senatore riding the Buddha pool in 1977. I looked around me as I sat beside the empty pool. I compared the palm trees and plant life in the images to those surrounding the pool. Even the flower planters were still sitting in the same places beside the pool. It was strange for me… The daughter was amazed at the photographs as well. I asked her if she thought we might be able to ride it. The answer was an emphatic “No.”  She told me that the pool had been full since the refurbishment of 1979 until the week before I happened to stop by and find it drained. “Cracks had developed and the pool was leaking. We had to have it drained. It was emptied only a few days before I received your note.”  I just happened to go by and look at it only a few days after it was emptied for the first time in thirty years! Even though we couldn’t ride it, I still felt the skate Gods shining down on me…

Kent Senatore

Kent Senatore

Even if I was unable to take Bill Sharp, Kent Senatore, Jerry Valdez, TA and Lance to the Buddha Pool for a last full circle session, at least I stood in it. At least I learned its full story. Perhaps things aren’t meant to be sessioned again. I’d like to tell you that we ripped it. I’d like to show you current photographs of Kent doing one-wheelers, Jerry tail-tapping and the others doing insane things…  but I can’t. It wasn’t destined to be. The pool is repaired, filled and now provides refreshing relief from the summer heat. I did go back to the end, where it all began and strangely, it was enough. Thank you to Big Al, Bruce, Lance and the homeowner’s daughter and son for everything. Thank you to William Sharp for providing the previously unpublished Stan Sharp photographs. Skate and know where you come from…  and now you do. Believe. – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Don Shirley

44389909

January 2014. Sunday morning. It had started drizzling lightly in Brentwood. I sat at the red light on Sunset boulevard and Barrington and pondered my day. I had just left a morning meditation meeting. I felt grateful to be sober and alive. The sky looked like Reynolds Wrap tin foil…  the dull side. Clouds boiled above me. To the east, I could see the sun peering through the clouds. I wanted to go look at a few pools and roll around but skating was certainly now out of the question. I’d go drive the grid regardless. I’ve found that looking for pools in the rain is often a rewarding thing. People and dogs stay indoors and the wind and rain make noise… it is good cover.

I cut a long arc south on the 405 freeway. Traffic was fairly light even though the 405 is generally a snarl and tangle of concrete, metal and pain. By the airport, I turned due east and drove up into the hills. The drizzle had ceased. The LAX flight path is directly overhead and I can see the jets coming down out of the clouds. They rush past…  hurried and metallic. I idly wonder about the passengers on board. Where are they coming from? Do they sit in that window seat pondering their past? Do they see the cars below and wonder about who we are? Questions.

IMG_6910

IMG_6926

I drove along the crest of a hill. Post war, mid-century homes backed up against the ridgeline. The homes were large and spacious. Palm trees arched up into the sky. They swayed in the wind. I saw a few pools on satellite. I pulled the truck to the side of the street. It was sleepy. Quiet. Glancing at my phone, I realized that it was only 9:35 am. “Church.” I mumbled. Most people are probably in church or sleeping. I ran an experienced eye over the neighboring houses. When I hunt for pools, I stay frosty. On point. I walked over to the house I wanted to look at. I knew that a kidney pool was behind it. There were the usual indicators. Old newspapers. Trash cans with spiderwebs on them. Dying plants and untrimmed hedges and trees. An air of neglect and disuse. I still had to be careful. I approached the front door and knocked. Nothing. Mail was overflowing the mailbox. Another knock. Silence.

IMG_6914

I was in the backyard in less than thirty seconds. I checked windows as I walked back. Empty rooms greeted my eyes. I watched for signs of dogs and threats. Squatters. Gang graffiti. The pool sat on a raised portion of brick and concrete. It was a third full. Black water. Trash. Dead rats. There was nothing to block the view into the yard and any attempt to drain and skate the pool would probably be halted by the neighbors on three sides. I took a photograph and left. I was back in my truck in less than two minutes. Get the intel and get out. Frosty.

I found a few more. It was much of the same. High end neighborhoods. Quiet. Calm. Idyllic. I knocked and tried to get one going but they politely said that they weren’t interested. I found a huge kidney on satellite at the very end of a cul-de-sac. It looked immense. The satellite showed it to be promising. I knocked on the door. Two huge Mercedes Benz automobiles sat in the driveway. The house was immaculate and the yard well-maintained. No answer. I shrugged. I didn’t bother leaving a note.

Fast forward. June 2016. Christian Cooper had started coming out to occasionally ride a pool or two with us. He got the pool bug again. Christian is an old hand. He has a NorCal pedigree and earned his scabs in the Los Altos and Kitty pools and the Blood Bowl of Nor Cal legend. Christian also knows how I am. Most people should. I make things pretty obvious. I have a really hard time with people that call and want to come out and skate pools but never bring anything to the table. I take people around because I love to ride pools with different people and share the stoke. Reciprocity is the key to every relationship. Give a little to get a little. Christian started finding some things. One day, he sent me three potential pools. I looked at them and chuckled. One was the big kidney in the cul-de-sac that I had visited two years ago. I drove by one day on my way to a job. I left a note. Three weeks later, the homeowner called.

Don Shirley Pool

Don Shirley Pool

She agreed to let me come by and talk. I did. I asked her what she needed done around the property. I looked at the pool. There were some things we could do to help. Yard work, planting, mulching. MRZ, Christian, Rick Stine and I gathered stuff together and made the drive over on the next Sunday. We put in a few hours of work. The pool itself was problematic. The left side wall was pitchy and flat. We could see it. That would probably limit the approach toward the opposite wall and the shallow cup. The shallow end and face wall seemed good. In a few hours we finished our work and took some runs. It was pretty fun.

_DSC8272

_DSC8308

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Me

Me

The next weekend, we took Brad McClain and Lance Mountain by the pool. Brad McClain must’ve studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry because he displays some serious magic when he stands on a skateboard. He did things and dropped lines in that pool that clearly defied logic. It was inspiring to witness and I’m happy I was there to see it.

Brad McClain

Brad McClain

Wahlstrom Brothers Burbank

Wahlstrom Brothers Burbank

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Don Shirley Pool

Don Shirley Pool

Brad McClain

Brad McClain

We’ve made friends with the homeowner. When I try to get a permission pool going, I have a rule that I follow. I try and always do what I say I’m going to do. We are going back to do some yard work in the next few weeks. She’s happy with all we’ve done thus far. The pool is fun and challenging and we now have a new permission pool in the rotation. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. It is always fun to be able to bring my friends out and ride something new and different. Sharing the love of pool skating and being stoked is what it is all about. It is not about a guy, a magazine, a truck company, a brand, the Hall of Fame, the X Games, sponsorship or the Olympics. Forget this at your own peril. In my opinion, if the fun and love of skateboarding dies… we die with it. Thank you to Christian Cooper for sending me back and for getting the pool going for us. Thank you to Rick Stine, Christian and MRZ for working with me on the property. Thank you to Brad McClain and Lance Mountain for being great examples of humility and talent and thank you to MRZ, William Sharp and Kevin Denning for the images. Skate – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Last Words / Jay Adams

Jayboy

Jayboy

It has been almost two years 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 in Uncategorized

Fire Sign

tumblr_static_firehorizon

People had no idea what would happen when the end came. No one did. People assumed that they’d act courageously…  running straight into burning buildings to drag the elderly and infirm to safety. Mounting the high ground on a rooftop to send a stream of brass into the sidewalks to deter looters from the family business… I think that’s the general picture most would wish for. Sacrificial bravery. Living on in songs and stories. Picture it. Long after the great sleep descended on the earth. Fire light. Windows barred with brass locks and brandy. “Kids. Shhh! Sit quietly. Let me tell you a story about your crazy cousin…” Alas, this probably would be the exception and not the rule. No one saw it coming and no one knew what started the whole slide into oblivion.

It came… and there could be no doubt. Phone service and electrical went first. The power grid was decimated. Long dull explosions marched across the earth. Crump! Crump! Crump! Giants in black boots. Freeways were littered with the fleeing… as people screamed and scurried. Running for nothing. No safe harbor. Squirming and impotent. No where to go… death turned its face toward the dark night. It beckoned… “Come with me.” Fire came rapidly. Rats and other animals were seen pouring onto the city streets. They ran ahead of the heat. Maddened. People flailed through the inferno blindly. No plan, just panic. Smoke hung on the horizon like a leprous thing. It smelled pungent. Acrid and biting.

The five men sat quietly inside the motel room. They had sheets over the windows and duct tape surrounded its edges holding it in place. It kept the worst of the smoke out when the winds shifted. It had been their refuge for the last few hours. The fires consumed the hills around them and boiled towards them on every side. Hours earlier, they had tied a rope to each other and wandered out looking for an exit. They frantically searched for a break in the doom that scorched the land in every direction. Nothing. Now, their eyes were the only thing showing above the bandanas covering their noses and mouths. Outside. Hell. Ash dropped like snow… ashes from the burning world they no longer believed in. One of them had heard a radio broadcast several days ago that told of relentless horror. No government. No help. No future. They drank deeply from water bottles and then poured water over their bandanas. They wrapped them around their heads again.

MRZ, Chris Livingston, Rick Stine, Corey Philips, Ozzie

MRZ, Chris Livingston, Rick Stine, Corey Philips, Ozzie

They grabbed skateboards and slipped out the door. The heat pushed at them… a wall of pain. One by one, they moved into the old abandoned swimming pool behind the motel. This was it. They skated one last time. Like they did when they were kids… when the world was a better place and a new day was dawning.

Corey Philips

Corey Philips

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Ozzie

Ozzie

Chris Livingston

Chris Livingston

Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate and send positive thoughts to the Santa Clarita area and its firemen. – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Don’t Change

DSC01054

San Fernando Valley

Stones crunched under the tires as Rick pulled into a shady spot under a tree and switched the truck off. He grabbed his phone and thumbed the key pad. Momentarily, he was scrolling a grid search of the neighborhood. “Where are you looking?” he asked. My head was down and I mumbled about being in the neighborhood west of us. “I saw something earlier…  wait! What the hell? Where did that come from?” I leaned over and showed Rick my phone. Huge left-handed kidney in an alley nearby. “It wasn’t empty a month ago…  I just drove this area. I shrugged. They must’ve updated the satellite photographs recently. We started driving over. In a few quick turns, we were in the alleyway. I stood on the front tire of his truck and peered over the edge. A perfect Blue Haven kidney. I took a quick look. It appeared that the paint was peeling. “Drive around front… we have to talk to these people.”

DSC01051

DSC01050

DSC01052

A lady came to the door and I spelled out why we were there. Glib. Truth. Real talk. “Here’s what I can do for you…” She listened. “Yes, we’re going to repaint and fill the pool very soon. I’ll talk to my husband.” She took my number. We drove off and talked excitedly. The waiting awaits us. A few days later, they agreed to have us come by and look at the pool. The pool was a pale shadow of herself. Cancer had marred her face. Semi-good looking. A well-used street hustler. I smiled. “I wouldn’t change a thing…”

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

I wasn’t sure that it was worth money for paint and supplies. We talked. I asked if we could scrape, sand and clean the pool out and then give it a few test rides. The transitions certainly looked very good. The family agreed. Rick and I went to work. Once we were done, we gave it a solid half hour session. It worked. It was a bit rough, but the transitions were so mellow, you could carry your speed fairly well. We thanked them and I worked on setting up a super session to help pay for the paint, rollers and pans. That was the trade off. The owners said that if we painted it when they were ready to fill it, we could ride. “A few weekends at the most…”

Me

Me

A few days later, the family informed me that I needed to buy a special pool paint. It would be around seven hundred and fifty dollars but it would last for a few years. I informed them that this was not something I could do… But I’d look into something that might work. I called around and worked on it. Futility.

Al Brunelle

Al Brunelle

Chelsea Castro

Chelsea Castro

Brad McClain

Brad McClain

The following Monday, I asked the family if Ray Zimmerman, Al Brunelle, Chelsea, Rick and Brad McClain could come by with me for a couple runs. “No problem.” We rode for an hour and everyone had a great time. Unfortunately, it would be the last rides we’d ever take. Change was coming… The following week, the family had the pool tiled and plastered. I suppose, paint may have never been an option. Later, we found out that others had ridden the pool a few years before this family had bought the home. It was just another, of the seemingly unending pools that the Valley offers up. Thank you to Rick Stine for helping. Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate – Ozzie

FINI

FINI

Posted in Uncategorized

Return to Adolph’s

Adolph's Pool

Adolph’s Pool – 1977

Adolph's 2015

Adolph’s Pool – 2015

Over thirty five years have gone by since Shogo Kubo, Brian Clark, Jay Adams, Mike Szeliga, Craig Clark and Darren Ho were captured by Glen E. Friedman at Adolph’s Pool in Holmby Hills, California. Adolph’s pool was also known as Westlake by some skateboarders in the late 1970’s. It was located near a school of the same name. Last Saturday morning, I was up early and drinking coffee. I had decided to go to a meeting on the beach at Gladstones. I was cruising along Sunset Boulevard. The road twists and turns on itself. There was minimal traffic. I passed through the flats. I saw North Maple Drive. I passed Rodeo Drive. Huge estates marched up into the hillsides. The morning sun glimmered through the heavy green screen of trees. Black wrought iron fences were lost amid a tangle of vines. Security cameras perched high on gated driveways. I was thinking of how things might have been back in the 1970’s when Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Kent Senatore, Jerry Valdez and all the early pool riders would hunt for pools in this area. Times have changed. I doubt I could scale a wall to check a pool, without finding my face in the grass and tasered within a micro-second.

Jayboy

Jayboy

I then thought of Adolph’s pool. There are only a limited selection of photographs from there. Glen Friedman, Craig Stecyk and Hugh Holland shot there. I was on Sunset Boulevard and was approaching Bel Air. “Didn’t Glen say that Adolph’s was in Bel Air?” I mumbled to myself like some mad scientist no one understands. Some people occupy themselves with things that others find mystifying. I picked up the phone and called Glen Friedman. “Hello.” Sleepiness… “Glen, It’s Ozzie. I’m driving through Bel Air. Can you remember where Adolph’s pool was?” Glen said something about it being early in California, told his son Ezio in the background something about his breakfast and said he’d look on his computer. “I think I know exactly where it is.” Twenty minutes later, I had hastily scribbled directions and was on my way. Glen Friedman’s instincts were spot on. It had been thirty-eight years and he recalled the exact place. Later that morning, I found myself in front of the property. It was huge. Gates. Cameras. Privacy. I rang the bell…

Shogo

Shogo

According to Jay Adams, he had previously told me that Adolph’s pool was the first place were they started really exploding off the lip. Shogo Kubo wrote to me about the Sharp book in 2011. He stated that, “I remember doing frontside edgers and wheelers at Adolph’s Pool. It was pretty early on.” Adolph’s has a place cemented in my mind and heart. I never rode it and never will. But the images are scorched into my brain cells. I saw them and fantasized about riding there with Jay, Shogo, Darren and the others. Sometimes, you simply can’t go back… and maybe we shouldn’t. Perhaps the thing that makes Adolph’s great, is that it happened, these particular progressive skaters were there, they were captured in these photographs and history was written. Perhaps… Thank you to Glen E. Friedman for the guidance and photographs. Rest in peace Jay and Shogo. Thank you both for everything. Skate – Ozzie

For more of Glen E. Friedman’s remarkable work, books and words – Burning Flags Press / Glen E. Friedman

Posted in Uncategorized