I don’t know if I can honestly say “then and now”. Life is one big ride and journey for us. We cycle and roll through the ups, downs, in and outs of a long and winding road titled “life”. Birth. Nurture. Education. Discovery. Appointment. Duty. Somehow we squeeze in enough pleasure to make it all worthwhile. Elements that keep us marching forward in accomplishment. For some of us, the wonders of rolling on a piece of wood attached with plastic wheels by metal devices is a lifestyle.
Of course, as a child, the wonders of a magic rolling board under my feet gave me indescribable amounts of pleasure and education. It served as a mode of transportation, it was my trusted dear friend that rarely let me down, unlike some human contemporaries had done. My current-of-that-moment skate stood proud and mightily next to the door of my bedroom in the same place it did every night, awaiting our next adventurous destination. Some nights I would just stare at it until I fell asleep thinking about the events of the day behind me. Also anticipating tomorrow’s newest backyard pool that one of the boys found and was going to share with a lucky few.
Backyard pools. Challenges. Permission or bum rush? Coping size? Shape? Left or right bend? These and so many other questions are the first line of offense to a backyard pool skater. In the early days when a pool came upon someone’s radar, they usually told the crew about it with stoke and confidence. Currently, most hold them near to their heart like a Vegas poker player. Not blinking or showing any tells. Unless the pools have been around for some time and many sessions have taken place. Then it’s cool to spout off about it in critical mass. These days when I get in a backyarder – I feel much like I did when I was fourteen.
The smell of chlorinated walls brings me right back to my first pool on Ventura Boulevard in Encino where the 405 and 101 freeways intersect. It was one of those cool, old two-story hotels that went under due to a multi-story monolith that was built two hundred feet away and, upon completion, instantly put the old school version out of business.
Perfect! We young skaters were always seeking new spots and challenges. This was a perfect U shape pool that had 9′ depth and reddish-grey 2″ round coping (which didn’t matter as no one was going onto it yet). We were so psyched that we had a hassle-free place to skate since everywhere we went we got hassled skating. Every few days after school I would catch the RTD bus along Ventura Blvd. and ride twenty minutes to get there. Stoked.
These days, as a middle aged teenager, I exude the exact feelings that overwhelmed me when I would first hear wheels clack-clack-clack on the blue tiles while carving over the light. I still attack pools in the same manner but with decades of wisdom and a better perspective of what not to do. The same feeling 40+ years on. That’s incredible! I don’t think there are many sports/hobbies that give the same feeling decades on quite like skateboarding does. Perhaps this is why the elder statesmen of skating (Alva, Olson, Peralta, Hackett, Pineapple, Strople, myself, etc.) still capture that same emotion when we step on deck and roll. There is no then and now in live form. That’s for the books, mags, dvd’s, websites and documentation of the blood sport we love, known as skateboarding. Roll until you drop! Regards, Brad Bowman
Thank you to Brad Bowman for his thoughts and thank you to William Sharp and MRZ for the images. Skate – Ozzie