truckload of goons
spillway of joy
‘Gates of Steel’
the writing on the wall, told the story of it all.
Michael using sign language
‘threeler’ by Kevin Burke
Salba told me that his father watched the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers building the Baldy spillway & pipe, back in the 1950s. His father told him that the ‘pit’ was full of fresh water runoff from the dam & had rainbow trout swimming in it. He said they would go ‘fishing’ in there. I could hardly believe anything could come out of that muck hole….I guess times were cleaner…& better back then.
Legend has it that Pat ‘Muck’ Mullis rode the Baldy pipe in 1969 on a skateboard. I know that I saw pictures of Waldo Autry, Curt Cortum, Jerry Valdez & an entire host of early skateboard pros, riding there in the mid to late 1970s. The feds would bust skaters & the fines went up as high as 500$ back then. The feds would dump buckets of hot tar over the top edge of the pipe, to let it splash & dry in an effort to prevent riders from getting some of Baldys sweetness. Andy Mac & Salba took me there for my first trip in 1993. I will never forget it.
I walked slowly back the pipe & saw all of the different stickers on the pipes ceiling. I saw early Powell Peralta & Bones stickers. I saw a fading curled G&S Fiberflex sticker. I saw countless names & dates spray painted on every available surface. The bottom was rough from the winter snow melt & runoff. I have seen water spouting a 4 foot high ‘rooster’, as winter snow melt smashed a path down the spillway. I guess it picks up a bunch of gravel & stones which pit the pipes concrete bottom. We try to avoid the rough areas when we ride.
In Greg MacGillivrays movie ‘Five Summer Stories’ from the 1970s, there is a small part where skaters cruise the Baldy pipe. Its smooth as glass & virtually graffiti-free. We went today & made the pilgrimage to the big round concrete church for skaters. Its one of the longest ridden skate spots in the world. Stan Hoffman saw Salba & others ride there in the 1970s & decided to put a fullpipe in at the Upland skate park he was making. A combi pool followed & history was assured. Whenever I go to Baldy, its a spiritual thing for me. I saw photographs in 1976 from there, when I was an ‘outcast’ skating in Pennsylvania. I wanted to get there terribly. It took many years. When I walk in the pipe, I always walk back with a flashlight & peer around in the gloom. All that history…all that energy & power…it gets me. When we start from the very back of the pipe & ride out, I experience something strange. About halfway out, I am no longer riding the pipe….. it is riding me! You go so fast & its so dark & echoing…its unreal. Today,we went & worshiped. It was stellar. Thanks to Michael Serna Jr., Samwise & Kevin Burke. Thanks to Kevin & Sam for some of the images. I shot the rest. Skate-Ozzie