Angelo’s Malibu Clover

Angelo’s- image courtesy: William Sharp

A teenaged Angelo pushed hard with his back foot and felt his skateboard accelerate. He laughed as he heard George Orton trying to catch up. They were cruising through the skatepark. Skate City Whittier. Angelo’s parents owned the place and he and his friends would fly through the park, playing tag and laughing.

Skate City had the infamous Clover Bowl. Local rats that participated in some of the legendary ripping were: Blender, Lucero,  Armijo, Mountain, Kasai,  Nash and Grosso.  George Orton, Ray Bones Rodriguez and  Darrell Miller were the Skate City pros at the time. In the skate park catastrophe of the early 1980’s, Skate City disappeared as well. Angelo always recalled the times at his parents skate park with fondness. They were the times of his life… but life moved on. In 1981, Angelo went off to Pepperdine University to play baseball. Skate City receded from his mind.

Angelo and friends- image courtesy: William Sharp

Fast forward thirty years. Angelo had moved on and moved up. He worked hard. Harder than most. Little time for play. He retired at forty-one years of age and bought a place up on a Malibu hillside. After fixing up his dream home, Angelo decided to put in a little kidney pool.  He said that,  “I always skated. I just love to carve. I thought about putting in the Skate City Clover Bowl at my home. I first put in a kidney swimming pool but made the transitions rideable. I dug the thing myself. I had a friend that I phoned. He owned a pool building company. He instructed me to rent a Bobcat, lay out the pool, get spray paint and do the outline. I was to dig it out. Once I got it close to the way I wanted it, I was to call him.”  Angelo laughed. He said that with his ADD, he had to be involved in every step of the thing. He went on-  “I was obsessed. My friend came by once it was close to being ready. We cleaned it up a bit, the steel guys came out and that is how it went. We rode that for a few sessions and then filled it up and swam in it.”

Angelo- at home in a paradise of his own making.- image courtesy: William Sharp

“I just wanted to build the Clover again. I called up Art Kent who was the original architect for Skate City. I got the original blueprints for the Skate City Clover from him. Immediately, I went out and measured the yard trying to find a place to fit it in. I was talking to my friend who made pools and he said ‘… call California Skate Parks.’  I left a message. Lance Mountain ends up calling me back. It was so awesome. We hadn’t seen each other since Skate City. The next day Lance was out here and it was like we hadn’t missed a beat in twenty years. Lance was here everyday until it was done.”

Lance Mountain – remembers the Skate City Clover with a FS Boneless- image courtesy: William Sharp

“We paced it off and worked so hard on the waterfalls and transitions. Then Lance had the best idea of all. He decided that since we are bigger and older, the walls should be moved out three feet. It came out perfect. We did the pool fast. Five days of digging, two days for the forms and the concrete guys came three days in a row and poured it. They did it in thirds. It was done in two weeks. We rode it immediately. It was great to see everyone again. We acted like we were twelve years old again…  in fact, we are twelve years old most of the time.”

Brad Bowman- timeless style meets modern concrete.- image courtesy: William Sharp

Christian Hosoi- skyclimber- image courtesy: William Sharp

Jeff Grosso- high-powered BS Smith- image courtesy: William Sharp

Lance filled me in on the details of building the Clover. “Well, the original was only eight feet deep. In the original at Skate City, you could fly between the bowls and pressure ollie into the next. We knew that this wasn’t going to be the case with Angelo’s. We decided to pull the walls out three feet and add another half a foot to the depth. It made it more user- friendly. We worked hard on the bowl. Building it went pretty quickly. In the end, one of the neat things we noticed was the addition of the roll in. It took us back to the skatepark era. Only someone from that era would understand. Modern skatepark pools all have coping around and you have to tail drop into them. Angelo’s has a roll in… just like the old days. It brought back that nostalgic feeling right away. I looked around during the first sessions. There we were: Blender, Bowman, Angelo, Lucero, Sharp… it was like we went back in time… except we went back in time as someone’s grandparents!” Lance laughs. He related how they rode Angelo’s and sat around laughing like they did back in the day at Skate City. The Clover Bowl. Timelessness. Fun. Friends.

Wesley Trbovich – charging- image courtesy: William Sharp

Jim Gray- no stranger to FS hip grinds- image courtesy: William Sharp

Stevie Cab- dropping some Teflon smooth NorCal- image courtesy: William Sharp

Perhaps when all is said and done, the photographs will tell the story better than the story itself. After all, how does one put thirty years of daydreaming and the subsequent fulfillment of that dream into words? Is it even possible? Can I write about Angelo’s  baseball career plans, water ski accident, leg injury and the demise of those plans? According to him, he was messing it all up anyway.  Could I write about his frustrations and unending work days that led him from there to here? Would it matter? Perhaps it is only important to the story in one regard. Angelo kept his love of carving alive all those difficult years so that –one day– when he finally retired, he could rebuild his favorite childhood place and share it with his friends. In life, most people measure success in the accumulation of possessions. Respectability. Power is their drug. Many of those people lose their dreams in the process. They forget how to dream. They lose sight of how to have fun. Angelo has succeeded where many fall short. He has more fun than most. In life… this is what counts. Thanks to Bill Sharp for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Pat Ngoho- “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…”- image courtesy: William Sharp

Pedro Barros- nothing less than everything- image courtesy: William Sharp


19 thoughts on “Angelo’s Malibu Clover

  1. I learned to skate vert at Skate City. Tighten your trucks and follow me. That was my lesson. Once I popped out of the capsule I went directly to the clover pool and spent the rest of the day there. Great story…

  2. I have been curious about the origin of Angelo and his Malibu cloverleaf pool since I found BTO on facebook with pictures of my brother Kent, Jerry Valdez, Ozzie Ausband, and a couple other guys all laughing. I called The Jer and he told me He had just told Ozzie that he had a small cock and that is why they were all laughing! Don’t worry Oz he tells everyone they have a small cock he’s been telling me I have a small cock for almost 40 years now! And honestly I don’t think he has ever even seen my cock. Anyway enough about our small cocks. I enjoyed this story about Angelos pool! And I have 1 question for him. Did The Jer drink all his beer?

  3. Super great story, super great pool, super great memories of Whittier…… Angelo is a very nice guy and we are truly lucky to be blessed by his kindness to share this with all of us…..

  4. Amazing! Gr8 article, gr8 story, cool dudes!. Love Malibu, stayed on Pepperdine Campus two years ago for three weeks. Did not find any sk8 sports then, I guess you got ’em now! One day we’ll have a clover bowl in Sweden too, hopefully. Are those blueprints possible to borrow, by chance?

  5. I always joke “I never used to care about money till people started spending it the way I would.” Killer story, and congrats to Angelo on making it happen. If my ship comes in, it’s the Turf clover for me!

  6. Thanks for the pool story, I have been seeing it in your posts and was blown away by it! Perfect pool and an unbeliveable location! Great to learn the background story, thanks so much for sharing again. The pictures are fantastic and the last shot of pedro…..Wow….

  7. Another Good Read Oz. Love the clover, Ang is such a bro, Sharp’s images are so SHARP! Thanks to you all for giving to skateboarding!

  8. Angelo rules! Plain and simple! I came out from the east coast and had never met him before. You and Tony Alva took me out there to ride… Heaven! Angelo treated me like I was a long lost best friend. His pool is the best ever, and Angelo…. You are one of the coolest people I have ever met! Great story Ozzie. Thanks to you, TA, Lance and most important, Angelo for making an old mans dreams come true!

  9. great story. every old schooler dreams of recreating their favorite pool from the skatepark era (mine would be the end kidney from cherry hill). kudos to angelo for realizing his dream and getting it done. i hope to skate that clover someday, and maybe to rent a Bobcat and get that kidney dug in MY backyard…

    • I saw Bowman riding Cherry Hill indoor park way way waaaay back in the day and he was unbelievably smooth, powerful and stupid confident. Still gives me wood.

  10. Gr8 stuff on a gr8 playground. Angelo rules! May there be many more insane sessions at Chateau de Angy.

  11. We’ve had some great sessions up there. Your piece definitely did the clover justice. Thanks for the memories and all the ones still to come…Your pool pal Wesley.

  12. What a Great story on Anng….! Thx Oz for giving the Kudos he so deserves … And at the same time, He doesn’t give a Shit About it! Angelo is a One of a kind ADHD sk8 Soul!! He has a passion for
    Life that is Unmatched by anyone… Thx Anng! for your unselfish kindness to us sk8’rs and our never ending Quest For sk8 Heaven…… Special Thx To Lance, for Building a Fucking Great Cloverbowl… George Orton

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