Kent Senatore and Tony Alva looked across the pool at each other. Tony was telling Kent about seeing a bird earlier that morning when he was hiking down by the beach. He was walking down to check the waves and stopped as a bird flitted from limb to limb. It pipped and chirped at his intrusion. So he thought. Jay Adams had recently passed away and Tony had been thinking about Jay, their lives, and the times they spent together. The sun splashed through the palm trees. Tony watched the small colorful bird as it preened its feathers and spoke to him. “It is just like Jay…” he thought. Waves licked the sand and Tony heard people nearby. The bird took one more look at Tony and rose up out of sight. He felt a weight lift off of him. “Jay…” he murmured. When Kent heard Tony’s story, he smiled. The three of them had spent a great deal of time together in their youth. They surfed, skated and partied. Jay was truly missed.
Here they were at Angelo’s Clover pool. It was thirty five years since they first skated pools together. They were both older. Jay was gone and yet the fire still remained. Good pools. Good friends. Stoke. Tony flowed through the pool like water. Kent kept his style clean and pure as only he can. Brothers. The Malibu afternoon waned. The sun sank and they went their separate ways. Days later, Kent crept through the San Fernando Valley in a rental car. The sun glimmered off the windshield and he squinted into the glare. Graffiti splattered alley wall. Pool ladder. Kent stopped the car. He pulled himself up on a cinder block and looked. Empty pool. This was his second of the day. He was accustomed to it. Decades of pool hunting had given him a pedigree few could argue with. He was doing this long before he knew that what he was doing was special. Kent and Tony and all their friends had thrown a pebble in a pond. The ripples have never diminished…
Kent took a few photographs and continued on. He searched the grid. The afternoon wore on him. Heat. Traffic. It never ended in the valley. He stopped for a drink and then pulled to the side of a neighborhood street. He checked his surroundings. Satellite showed several possible pools in this area. Family homes. 1950’s vintage. Larger yards and properties. “It has potential…” Kent drove through the neighborhood. Bent square. Steep Anthony kidney. Box of rocks. Three pools. Little use. He kept to the task at hand. Kent knew–as did anyone who searches for pools–that just when you want to quit and go home, you’ll find a gem.
Kent had seen a really good pool on his last trip to Los Angeles over a year ago. Weaving through side streets, he made his way back to that neighborhood. He saw the familiar pale blue green tiles through a decorative cinder block wall just as he turned a corner. “Whoa! Hold on here…” He almost hit the curb with his tire as he stopped quickly. Bright white plaster met his eyes as he walked up to the wall. “Damn. It’s empty?” He looked over. A capsuled deep end and arrowhead shaped shallow greeted his eyes. He took it in at a glance. The side walls pillowed out. Transitions looked stellar. He had made contact, but the owners son wasn’t sure his mom would allow it. He was certain the answer would be no. Kent made a note of the address. Contentment filled him. A few days later, he flew back to Hawaii .
Kent filed it away with all the other pools he had found. It was a big file. Months passed and he was soon back in California. He was with me and we were skating pools. He took me by the house. We knocked and Bobby, the owners son, came out. The pool looked amazing once we were inside. Bobby still denied us and we took his number. That started another ripple in the pond. I’m relentless. Over the next few months, I called from time to time. I actually began to think it was not going to happen. December came. Winter colored our every word. Clouds and rain. I phoned Bobby. Lance and Rune wanted to film something. We reached an agreement. On the appointed day, it rained. We tried to no avail. The sky wept…
The next day, we returned. It was still wet. We used leaf blowers and propane heaters to speed the process. Once dry, we skated hard. We took the long awaited runs we had been dreaming of. I phoned Kent Senatore in Hawaii. I could hear an odd mixture of stoke for us and sadness for himself. He had found a gem and couldn’t be here for the first session. We tried to do him justice. We wanted to make him proud. He was the definition of altruistic.
Thank you to Kent Senatore. You rule it brother. Thank you to Bobby for allowing us to roll. Thank you to Arto Saari for the images. Skate- Ozzie