Friendship

Gopa, Rick, Shawn, me

Gopa, Rick, Ripperside Shawn, me

Ripperside Shawn moved to West Virginia a few months ago to work a farm there. We have scouted, drained and cleaned many pools over the past few years. I missed him when he moved away. He drove across country this past week and arrived in Escondido Saturday night.

Ripperside Shawn

Ripperside Shawn

Gopa

Gopa

His son — Gopa — celebrated his birthday and Shawn drove into town. He asked me to set up a pool mission for them. Easy. One of the pools I had set up was a new little Blue Haven kidney. I was pretty stoked to be taking them this weekend. The owner text me yesterday and said they’d be gone all day, so it was off the list. I thought of the Pink Motel. I knew that Shawn and Gopa had never ridden there.

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Me

Me

Rick and MRZ drove over and we met up and had the place to ourselves for awhile. Good friends. Fun. No other reason to be doing this…Happiness. Happy Birthday Gopa. Thank you Rick, Shawn, Gopa and MRZ. Excellent. I value your friendship. Skate – Ozzie

Friendship

Friendship

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Raining

_DSC0568Jon Bolduc
Andy and I had just flown into LAX the night before, the weather for the weekend looked bleak…a rarity in Southern California. So we knew despite our jet lag from our cross-country travel that we needed to get on it right away. We had already hit two pools that morning before the skies opened and rain ended our session.

We had taken cover and a much-needed food break at a nearby taco stand and planned our strategy for the following day. Ozzie, Rick, Andy, and I knew our only chance to avoid the rain on Saturday would be to head east into the desert. There was a chance it may storm out there as well as it seemed rain was inevitable for many parts of the Los Angeles area.   Although, we didn’t really have any other real options since riding an indoor skatepark never seems like a good idea. In fact, it would be a bummer to fly to California to ride in a cage with a bunch of jocks working on their stunts, we could most certainly do that on the east coast. But that’s not skateboarding…or at least the kind of skateboarding I’m interested in doing. So with that, it was decided pool mission in the desert and we were going to go for it!

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Saturday morning at first light our crew assembled to head east. Marlon had to bail on the pool mission since his wife had made plans to attend an all day rock concert (or something like that) leaving him on dad duty for the day. Corey and Ray rounded out our solid six man crew.

Bulldog

Bulldog

Corey

Corey

The skate gods smiled upon us that day as we didn’t see any threat of rain until dusk. We moved quickly and swiftly from pool to pool.  We looked at some and passed, we drained and cleaned others, and of course we skated as many as we could. Who did what, who ruled the pool, which pool was better, etc. These details are unimportant…what matters is that we all had a blast, skating, laughing, and sharing the stoke. It was beyond a rad day!  It was perfect!

Rick

Rick

Pool riding is all about finding perfection in the imperfection. Backyard pool skating was and will continue to be 100% pure skateboarding.  All day, everyone was stoked.  We were with friends riding backyard swimming pools that had never been intended to be ridden. How rad is that?

The feeling of riding a backyard pool is hard to describe (or at least for me it is difficult to put into words) but what I can say is that it is a feeling that I have never experienced riding in a skatepark and for that reason alone I will always be a pool skater. – Bulldog

Andy Neal

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Skateboarding is fun.  The first time I stepped on the wooden toy was in 1984 and I was ten years old.  The feeling that I got from skating was pure joy and happiness.  Not much gives me this feeling other than my family, my daughter, and some of my friendships. In 1984, my terrain was the streets of Poolesville, MD and my grandmother’s long asphalt driveway. Eventually, the terrain progressed to ramps built by me and my skateboard family of that time.  I would look at my idols in Thrasher and Transworld and read every word in every issue.  I was always drawn to the images of skaters riding in backyard pools and all I wanted to do was ride them.  A few years later I rode my first pool in Poolesville.  Fast forward to 2016.

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Skateboarding is still fun.  I can’t stop.  At 41, I still feel like that ten year old smiling from ear to ear from that pure joy and happiness that riding provides.  I go to California once or twice a year now to search for the plaster and to hang with the owner of this blog who has become one of my dearest friends and my personal SoCal meteorologist.  Pretty easy job, it hasn’t rained in LA since 1935 and it’s always 78 degrees, right?  Wrong!  “And then the rains came.” But, we outsmarted old man Nino by heading into the desert to ride some sun parched plaster.  At first entry, not a word was spoken; every part was perfectly played out by those in the crew, who just, knew what to do.  A well-oiled machine.

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Andy

We handled the situation in ten minutes. Pure Fun… Repeat.  Wheels rolled, stories were told, and the tacos were bold.  I am grateful for skateboarding and my pool pals, both old and new.  The day, put simply, was perfection.  If there is one thing that skateboarding has taught me, it is not to take things too seriously and just have fun.     – Andy Neal

Rick Stine

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Saturday morning. 5:30 am wake up with a 7:00 am meet up. Palm Springs was on or radar this morning. Pulling into town sometime about 9:00 am, the attack began with almost military-like precision. Two pools were cleaned out and on the drying list by 9:30 am. This had to be one of the best executed double barge missions that I could remember, and this was only the beginning of a very successful barge springs mission.
I salute my brothers Ozzie, Bulldog, Andy, Corey and MRZ.  – Rick Stine
Rick

Rick

Corey Philips

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Bucket brigade the first pool like a tribe! The chief, Ozzie, synchronized a great crew to beat the rain in the valley and head to Palm Springs. I never met two of the guys (Bulldog and Andy) before, but after the first pool it felt like I’ve known them forever. 10:00 am double trucker slash grinds from hell, almost blew the quest by the main man Bulldog. Rick decides to back him up with a slasher and Andy gets super close on the second run on a frontal slasher in the shallow end, but we had to dip out as quickly as possible because of the gnar. We went to skate another pool close by and Ozzie does a one wheeler on some heavy tranny. The coping stuck the fuck out and Mrz got the epic shot!

Corey

Corey

By this time it’s only 11:00 am. We had two pools skated and had scouted several so we celebrated with — what turned out to be– the most expensive tacos in Palm Springs. We then drove further east and end up running into a very heavy crew. Me and Rick cracked open a couple of cold ones and watched. The crew was crushing things. We dipped out and got to this last barge that was super sick.  Rick got the grind so we headed out as soon as possible.  It was a wonderful day and I left with new friends and great memories. – Corey Philips

MRZ

MRZ

MRZ

This particular day was nostalgic in some ways. After Ozzie was arrested in 2011, he began trying to get more permission pools going. We’d still go out and barge from time to time, but it sure was easier on the nerves when we had permission to be there. It also made it better for shooting the skateboarding. I could set up lights, set up shots and the skaters could basically dial in the pool. On this day, the heavy rains had forced us east into the desert. Ozzie hooked up with some local friends and did his homework. He had several barges on the menu for that day. It was in and out. The fifteen minute rule was in full effect. We drove in, cleaned out several pools, then headed back to the first one after it had dried and checked them off one by one. It was exciting and fresh… it felt like the old days. – MRZ

Rick

Rick

Andy

Andy

Ozzie

Ozzie

Corey

Corey

Bulldog

Bulldog

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Blue

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A dirty sun had perched over the city as he reached the thickest part of its guts. The news was blue. A grey sky overhead colored his every word. Brain boiling black. Fingernails bit into his palm. The freeway was a blur of metal and motion. His dark eyes drifted left and right. Exhaust fumes were a balm to his troubled mind. At seventeen, he knew his end was close. No Medicare for him. The thought of growing old, church functions, ice cream socials and Viagra filled him with a raw red panic. His blood thrummed. He was the kind of kid that others called, “Strange”. Snorting in laughter, he changed lanes almost hitting the car beside him. Middle finger sign language passed between them. “Fuck. What’s so strange about Sigur Ros and poetry?” As far as he was concerned, they were the ones that were fucking strange… slaves to parents, schools, jobs and expectations. He had read a book by Talbot Mundy who said, “The only safe thing I know is to follow opportunity and leave others behind to do the worrying. More people die lingering, ghastly deaths in arm-chairs and in bed than anywhere.” He fully agreed.

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He went down an off ramp, slowed as he passed an accident and pulled into a line of glass-fronted buildings just off the freeway. Sitting in his car, he calmed himself. “Jesus…” He liked accidents. Hurt and happiness are one. Always. His reflection looked back at him. Empty eyed. He was a book with no pictures. Only mirrors. He reflected nothing and everything. He was whatever anyone wanted him to be. No identity. Cipher. Whatever caused him to end up like this, he didn’t know. He always felt dead inside. His one emotion was wrath… Going into a bookstore, he purchased a journal and paid for it with a stolen credit card. The clerk must’ve been stoned. He kept up some happy talk to distract him, commenting on the Phish t-shirt that the clerk was wearing. “Oh yeah, Phish bro…  great band.” Had the clerk looked closely, he would have noticed that the customer certainly didn’t resemble a female named Cynthia Dottingham. He walked out of the store smiling. Underneath his sweatshirt were two books of poetry by Baudelaire and Bukowski. “He had it coming. If you’re too dumb to do your job right, you deserve to be ripped off.” Driving across town, he spotted a young schoolgirl on a corner with her mother. “Not bad.” he thought. He stopped by his friend’s apartment and bought a shard and took the speed home to smoke it.

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Empty house. Empty street. Empty pool. His yard was full of trash and junk that his mom’s boyfriends left laying around. She’d come home from the bar with some shithead and he’d soon move in. A few months later, another. Then another. He didn’t even talk to her anymore. He’d be eighteen soon and he’d never allow “It” to tell him what to do ever again. He exhaled and looked out the back window. The dirty glass was cracked. His brain squirmed and his thoughts moved like ants on a hot summer sidewalk. The old pool squatted there in the weeds and grass. When he was a boy, they would swim in it. He shook his shaggy head. He couldn’t recall the last time. It was a shame… at least the neighborhood kids would come talk and hang out. It was the only cool thing about being a kid that he could remember. He mattered. He fit in. No more… Thumbing a stray strand of black hair from his eyes, he picked up the pipe again. Thank you to MRZ and Rick Stine. Skate- Ozzie

Al Brunelle

Al Brunelle

Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

Corey Phillips

Corey Phillips

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Stripped Away

Ray Zimmerman taking one for the team.

Ray Zimmerman taking one for the team.

Why? Why do we seek out filthy, neglected backyard swimming pools? What compulsion drives us in a relentless search for others? We clean out rotting fruit, garbage, landscape debris, moldering grass clippings, endless beer bottles and cans, dog feces, urine and virtually any other putrefying thing you care to imagine. The stench is horrifying.

Al Brunelle and I

Al Brunelle and I

Al Brunelle, Rick Stine, me and Brad Bowman.

Al Brunelle, Rick Stine, me and Brad Bowman.

Final Countdown

Final Countdown

Dead animals, paint, oil drums, car transmissions, dead dogs, household appliances and — the myth that still lingers — a dumped homicide victim, have all been seen at one time or another. Pool skaters regularly unearth completely filled in pools. Jeremiah Risk and Rodney Rodrigues put it all on the line. Nude Bowl, Buena Vista, Pala… Action. Not words. They dug out the Nude Bowl and Rodney was responsible — I believe — for the others being rideable again. Devout. Pool skating is a minor religion.

Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

Al Brunelle

Al Brunelle

Corey Phillips

Corey Phillips

Pool skating is difficult. I think it may be the most difficult discipline in skateboarding. You have to locate a pool. Drain and clean it. Figure it out. Every pool is a puzzle. Every single wall is different. Pools are humbling. I’ve seen some of the best pool skaters in the world, like – Tony Farmer, Ben Raybourn, Kevin Kowalski, Matt Dyke, Cody Lockwood, Mason Merlino, Brad McClain, Skreech, Mark Partain, Steve Alba, Robbie Russo, Shaggy Palmer, Chris Livingston, Sean Mazza, Al Brunelle, Grant Taylor… and every single one of these skaters have been humbled by pools.

Me

Me

Stripped away. Pride and ego. Pools are the great equalizer. So, why do we do this thing that we do? I think that it is a combination of things. It is the challenge of riding something that was never intended for skating, it is the lawlessness and excitement, it is the purity and it is the fun. The satisfaction that comes with going over obstacles in pools cannot easily be put into words. It is not a perfect wall, pristine surface, skatepark stunt. You have to figure out how to get the speed and the angle to pick a line that puts you over… a puzzle to work out. Then, you have to stay on. The simplest thing, becomes everything.

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Stripped away. We strip away the filth to reveal the surface. Then we strip away our fear and ego… and that is where the fun is found. Thank you to Brad Bowman, Rick Stine, Al Brunelle and Corey Phillips for the hard work in the heat and a huge thank you to MRZ for suffering through the afternoon to capture what is hard to put into words. Skate – Ozzie

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Jerry Valdez & Friends

The Jer

The Jer

Jerry Valdez. If there was ever a more perfect example of a skateboarding legend, I haven’t heard of it. Jerry Valdez ripped pools, pipes and parks into easily digested pieces. What he didn’t like, he spat out for the weaker to suckle on. Frontside insanity at eleven o’clock in the shadowy realms of the twenty-two foot Arizona pipes, San Fernando Valley pool play mostly above coping while most struggled above the scumline, frontside inverts, frontside rock-n-rolls and incomprehensibly high lines on Baldy’s flat wall were all his and his alone. He was called a “Val” because of his affiliation with Val Surf, yet Jerry was Hollywood — as he puts it — in Yearbooks. He grew up in Hollywood and went to school there. He rode everything and was a ruler from the starting gun.

Angelo

Angelo

Lance Mountain 'Tail Tap' under the watchful eye of its originator

Lance Mountain ‘Tail Tap’ under the watchful eye of its originator

Christian Cooper

Christian Cooper

Brad Bowman

Brad Bowman

Now, some forty years later, a few of us gravitated to Angelo’s Malibu clover to put down some lines with the birthday legend. Brad Bowman, Jim Gray, Wesley, Angelo, Christian Cooper, Chris and Tommy, Lance Mountain, MRZ, Tony Alva and I were in attendance.

Happy Birthday Jer

Happy Birthday Jer

We pulled grinds, laughed and the hard line crap-talk was a mile a minute. When Jerry is around, he pushes you to skate harder, pushes buttons and shoves the insanity level past the edge. It’s where he’s most comfortable. I love you dude. Happy Birthday Jer. Thanks to everyone and thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Me / Brad Bowman

Me / Brad Bowman

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Old Bones Los Angeles

Alison & Christian

Alison & Christian

Christian Potter visited with his wife Alison this past week. They flew in from the UK. We immediately had a super pool day out and everyone had a stellar time. Christian came to visit me about two years ago. On that visit, we rode Ridiculous pool, Gorilla pool, Malibu, Arto’s and Baldy among other things. When Christian returned to the UK, he built a bowl in a barn with some like-minded friends. They created their own scene. After riding several times a week in their bowl, Christian was more than ready to get into some pools and parks on this recent trip. Immediately, I saw a difference in his skating. He jumped into the shallow end and promptly handled business. He was grinding over the light and nabbed his first side ladder grinds as well.

Bronson Canyon

Bronson Canyon

Etnies

Etnies

There were a few days when I had to work and MRZ came up and took Christian and Alison around. They ended up in Bronson Canyon ditch, Etnies and Arto’s. I met them at Arto’s after work one day. BLKPRJKT came along and Jason Jesse showed up. We all rolled around trying new things. The day was bright and perfect. Happiness.

Arto's

Arto’s

Christian, Jason Jesse and Arto

Christian, Jason Jesse and Arto

It was good to show our friends around Los Angeles. It is a place I love and call home. I’m always happy to share pools and stoke out my friends. Thanks for the visit Christian. Good to meet Alison as well. Until next time… Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate and love your friends before it’s too late- Ozzie

That's right...

That’s right…

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Return to Magoo’s

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He sat on the side of the bed and shivered. Bones aching. His nose was running and his stomach spasmed, a convulsing knot. Drug life. He pondered. The oncoming dark? The element had become everything. Angelic. Insidious and sensual… Magoo slipped the rubber tourniquet around his right forearm arm and squeezed. What veins remained in that arm, began to bulge and thrum. They cried out like tiny mouths…  There is no hell that compares to opiate withdrawal. Magoo knew…  his legs trembled. A puncture, a pullback, blood spilled oily and vivid into the syringe. He pushed with one finger and felt the drugs piss down his spinal cord. Killed. A bit at a time. There would be no other view. After his last arrest, he had finished eighteen months and was cut loose from the Penitentiary early. Overcrowding. The weapons violations were what really fucked him. The judge didn’t like him. Magoo didn’t care. He didn’t really like himself very much either… What was to like? He had returned to the house in the San Fernando Valley two weeks ago. His parents had given it to him in the 1970’s. A sister in Phoenix had kept it locked up and in the family name while he rotted away behind bars. “Nice of her…” he thought. During his heyday, he had floated her loans of a few thousand dollars from time to time. It was okay with him. He had money piled in shoeboxes. He actually didn’t even know what to do with it sometimes… That had been back then. The good old days. There certainly were no shoeboxes of money laying around now. The heroin lulled him.

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He lit a cigarette and idly sat in a chair. The sun glimmered through his window. A ceiling fan spun in a lazy arc above him. Tireless. His eyes felt heavy and his palms itched. Drifting. Awhile later, Magoo heard a noise in the backyard. He reached the sliding glass door in three quick strides. Someone was in the swimming pool… ‘

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What the fuck are you doing? You’re trespassing!” A head slowly appeared as the person walked up out of the deep end of the empty pool. He grinned sheepishly at Magoo. “Hey man” he mumbled. Magoo laughed in spite of himself. “Picciolo. “I should’ve known it would be you…”

Thanks to William Sharp for the image. Skate – Ozzie

https://ozzieausband.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/magoos/

https://ozzieausband.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/the-fall-of-magoo/

 

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