Some say we are actually three different people. We are who we are, we are what we want others to think we are and we are who people think we are. Convoluted? Not really. We all wear a mask from time to time. I think it is defensive… We are the sum of all our experiences. I also think we are a bit of everyone that came before us. From our childhood, we are brought up to present ourselves in a certain way. “Boys don’t cry and show their emotions.” “A girl must always be a lady.” But what if you are a dude and want to cry? Life hurts. What if a girl wants to be a filthy bitch? Just saying… There is nothing wrong with being human. There is nothing wrong with being yourself. I’d rather be ‘me’ than some cookie-cutter Cool Guy cut from the regulation template and served up in whatever is deemed the current uniform. We are all products of the past. To know where we are going, we must sometimes look back. Someone once wrote, “I only look back in order to see how far I’ve come.” Makes sense. I like when the past and the present meet. Recognition. Nostalgia. A glimpse into the future.
Kent Senatore is one of skateboarding’s original pool pioneers. He is a lifelong surfer and skater. Kent rode it all in the Golden Days of the 1970’s. In his magazine interview from back then, I think he listed over twenty pools that they’d skate on a regular basis. He rode the earliest parks, the desert pipes in Arizona and everything in between. Kent recently came into town and we wanted to spend a day riding backyard pools. Ray Zimmerman thought it would be cool to bring young Patrick Ryan along. Patrick is a wonderful skateboarder. He has great style and extraordinary board control. He is the future. I left Hollywood early and drove up the Laurel Canyon road that twists over into Studio City. Kent was staying there with his father. We quietly talked and discussed Jay Adams recent passing. The sun glimmered off of nearby cars. Traffic crawled. We soon found ourselves at a coffee spot where we met Ray and Patrick. We climbed into one car. Soon, we were at our first pool. It was 9:30 am, the sun was bright and spirits were high. Kent swept the pool and immediately wasted no time. It was his first backyard pool of the trip and the sounds of wheels on tiles and coping, soon filled the air. Patrick is no slouch and Kent and I were joking about how Patrick was going to “…sit the old men down.” with his speedy lines and perfect style. He didn’t disappoint. Crails and shallow end rocks were offered up to the skate Gods.
We drove into the late morning and visited a few old favorites. Pools. Blue tiles. Death boxes. Hips and curves. All the things that make skateboarding so special… There is something amazing about pool searching. I looked over at Kent and his eyes missed nothing. Years of driving through Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley had instilled in him the exact same obsession that all pool skaters share. His need was our need. Symbiotic. It didn’t matter our age differences. Ray, Kent, Patrick and I were hunting.
Driving to one of our permission pools, I looked over and saw a boarded up house. It was a particularly nice part of town. Golf courses. Huge trees. The houses sat back from the street. It looked promising… We pulled over and approached the yard. We saw a square pool and went inside. There was a small amount of water and debris but we decided to give it a turn or two. I slipped out in the muck and put my board into the water. Once I pulled it out, I knew I had to grind the damn thing. Next turn. Done.
Patrick Ryan took a shallow end plaster blast and then sat the old guys down with a frontside ollie to truck… How?! We were so stoked. Kent Senatore gave him a high five and smiled. He shook his head. Youth. The past meets the present.
We decided to try and stop at an old favorite. I had painted it with the help of a few friends at the beginning of the summer. The owner was going to have it filled and use it for its intended purpose. I phoned him and asked if we could stop by and swim. He said that we couldn’t swim because it wasn’t filled yet. I don’t have to tell you what my next question was… Ray, Kent and Patrick were stoked and as I stood on the love seat emptying buckets of putrid water, I was laughing. I was watching a fifty-something, legendary pool master- Kent Senatore bucketing a backyard pool with a teenage, style-wire – Patrick Ryan. The past and present meet. The circle complete. Thank you to the crew. Good times. Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie