I had just crested a rise on the 57 freeway. I saw red lights and a wall of metal. I pumped the brakes as the phone rang. I fumbled for it, turning the volume down on the stereo. Salba checking in. “What are you doing?” I clued him in on my current parking situation on the 57/60/91 freeway tangle. He laughed. I downshifted and listened as he told me that some Santa Cruz team riders were visiting town this coming weekend. “We are having a Salba Cruz session on Sunday. I need to get a few things drained… can you help me Saturday morning?” I agreed and we made plans for an early morning draining mission. Saturday dawned early for me. It was cold and had rained a few days earlier. I drank strong dark coffee and loaded up the truck with the pump, hoses, buckets and assorted tools. Salba phoned and said he was headed my way but was checking on a few ‘possibles’ while enroute. I smiled knowingly.
Salba is the ultimate Recon man. He would’ve made a kick-ass Marine had he chosen to go that route. He is a master of memorization, details and surveillance. We met up at Ridiculous and drained a few for Sunday. At one, a tarantula floated ominously on the surface… bumping twigs and leaves on the water. It looked like it was swimming–but on closer inspection–I found it to be long dead. I scooped it out and shuddered in spite of myself. I actually fear little on this earth, but big hairy spiders still fill me with loathing and dread. As we drained, Salba told me about Salba Cruz. I asked him when he actually thought of the name and the idea.
Pulling the hoses out of the truck, he responded- “Back in 1988 or so, I had a graphic of a guy sitting on top of the world. On that graphic I wrote ‘Salba Cruz’. About the same time, I had a postcard and posters made up of me in a Santa Claus suit with “Salba Claus’ on it. It all started there.” Salba told me that he’d always wanted to go ahead with a board line called Salba Cruz. It took many years for it all to come to fruition but the time had finally arrived. Salba Cruz was a reality. Salba designed the shapes to allow for a wide range of choices. Lance Mountain drew up one of the graphics and the board line looks incredible.
We finished cleaning out a few muck pits and made plans for the next day. Salba helped me put all of the tools and the pump in the garage. “I’ll call you in the morning first thing.” – he stated. I phoned him later that night and asked if Ray Zimmerman could shoot photographs or if the Santa Cruz team had someone with them. Salba wasn’t sure. He phoned the team manager – Jordan – and got the go ahead. Salba asked me to see if Ray would come. The next day was an awesome one. Ray Zimmerman showed up and when we saw the Santa Cruz van pull up and empty out… we knew that it was going to be a stellar day of pool riding!
This was the lineup: Zarosh, Josh Borden, Justin Strubing, Sid, Omar, Salba, Cody, Josh Peacock, Jason Jesse and my roomies- Michael & Chris. Damn! We loaded up the vehicles and hit this super steep and difficult bent square. Salba likes to go there once a year or so and see what people can do in it. Josh Borden suffered through a FS corner air that appeared insanely impossible… until he did it! Omar pulled FS ollie to grinds, Cody grinded the side wall and Salba rode the pool like it was a skatepark. Phew!
While Borden struggled with his corner air demons, Zarosh decided to amp him up with an Indy bomb-drop into the pool over the side stairs! Insanity. After that, Borden crushed the corner air and we loaded back up and headed for a “one-time only” permission pool. It is a left-handed kidney with a tiny shallow end but an awesome deep end bowl. The blue-tiled old pool was built in the late 1940’s and its red bullnose coping curved around invitingly… Everyone was immediately stoked on the pools apparent potential. We bucketed with the entire crew pitching in… It was good to see everyone doing the work! The crew immediately threw down.
Sid speeded a BS Smith, Salba crushed the deathbox like it owed him money! Omar would ride along the shallow end deck, ollie into the shallow and pull Judo airs and air to fakies… We were like -“Jeez!” We all rode the pool for a great hour long session. Everyone needed some drinks and stuff, so we headed to a store then went over to our last permission pool of the day. Josh Borden quickly lost his mind and destroyed the pool. Lien airs, ollies and anything else that he wanted, were served up quick and tasty.
Omar pulled beautiful lipslides and everyone else got in the game and quickly turned up the heat. The sun was falling fast. It bled red over the nearby rooftops. It grew cooler. I looked around. High fives. Happiness. Stoke. It was growing dark and everyone was happily tired. Salba gave the Santa Cruz guys an epic day of backyard pool riding. For decades, Salba has been a ‘mainstay’ in the pool scene. An icon. When everybody else in the skateboard world –seemingly–forgot about pools and bowls, Salba continued doing this thing that he does so well. I believe that we are all the better for it! Thanks to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie
Click the link for more on the Salbacruz line- www.salbacruz.com