San Juan Pool / Haunted Hole

San Juan Pool / Haunted Hole

Kelly Bellmar / San Juan Pool

Dave Duncan

In the late eighties, there really were no skateparks. We had pools and backyard ramps. We were on full pool missions back then. These were the Alva Posse times. The San Juan pool happened around that time. I was working at Alva in San Juan Capistrano. One day at the factory, a guy told me that he’d been to a Halloween party at this old mansion on a hill. There were actually two pools on the property. We went up there and the place was abandoned.

Dave Duncan

Dave Duncan

Something bad had occurred with the people who had lived there. There was a square pool and a round one. They were filled with green, crappy water. We stuck a garden hose in the square pool and drained it but it was junk. We put the garden hose in the round pool and drained it down a hill. It slowly emptied and it took days… Once emptied, it was so good. It saw some unreal sessions. The pool had several lives. It was filled with dirt, then it was jackhammered…  and resurrected again. It was one of the best pools ever. Charleston Hanger ramp was fashioned after it by Tim Paine. The face wall was very round and it half-piped back into the shallow end. A bunch of heavy sessions went down in that thing. The Alva crew. It was ours. We were there all the time. – Dave Duncan

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

This Venice local Tonan, he was living in San Clemente at the time. He worked at Alva. He got wind of this abandoned mansion. I heard that a guy lived there and supposedly killed his whole family in the house. Crazy shit. Murder scene. Tonan got intel on the pool. We’d all go up there…  We ended up draining it. I actually drained it with TA and the Alva crew. It is the only pool I ever actually recall draining with TA, so it stands out in my mind. When we first skated it, we were like, “Oh shit. This thing is unbelievable.” It was like a side-to-side capsule. Elongated. We called it ‘Time Capsule’ but Thrasher came and shot photographs for an article and they called it ‘Haunted Hole’. It was an amazing pool.

Darrel Delgado

Darrel Delgado

The shape was great. The transitions were really good. There was a deathbox on the middle of the face wall, firecracker coping, side ladders… It was great. The Alva Posse took it apart. It lasted awhile…  It’s hard to recall how long it lasted anymore. It got jackhammered and then patched. John Lloyd lived near there and ripped it really hard with his brother Joe. The surface was slow after the patches were put in. When it was first going, it was pretty unbelievable the things that went down in that pool. There were only a handful of times that the Alva Posse ever rode together in a pool in the mid to late eighties. The San Juan pool was one of them.- Darrel Delgado

Eric Dressen

Eric Dressen

Eddie Reategui

I remember when Alva moved down to the San Clemente area. Dave Duncan was the team captain. I remember Duncan saying that he knew there was a pool up on a hillside nearby at an old abandoned property. Finally one day, they went up and found two pools. They put a garden hose in there and started draining it. Everyday, it went down about a foot. Day after day, it looked better and better. One day, Duncan called me and said, “Dude. This pool is unreal. You have to come.” We got there and it was basically just us. The Alva crew and some friends.

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

Eddie Reategui

The guy that really blew it was John Lucero. We told everyone, “Keep it quiet. Keep it quiet.” One day I pulled up and there was John Lucero. Tony said, “You better not tell anyone…” The very next day, Lucero showed up with a bunch of people and after that, everybody found out about it. He told someone and they told someone and it was over after that… we did have it for like a month to ourselves though. Just us. Overnight, it was crazy. Big parties. Someone lit the house on fire… out of control. It didn’t last that long. We’d go there and it seemed like a hundred people were there. Blown out. The local authorities quickly put an end to it. That pool had perfect transitions. I could do frontside inverts in it. Beautiful pool. The house had some bad vibes to it. The pool was quiet and peaceful though. I’d just sit there by the pool and listen to the birds… One of my favorites. – Eddie Reategui

Cooksie

Cooksie

Chuck Hults

I wasn’t one of the first to ride the San Juan pool. When I went there, the house was still standing. When I went back, it was destroyed. We skated it for awhile. It was filled in with dirt and it got dug back out. It was jackhammered. Kelly Bellmar and Chicken went in and patched it themselves. Tony Alva rode that pool really well. The shallow end had gnarly transitions. Steep. Most people avoided that area and would go into a figure eight line in the deep end. Tony would hit the face wall, come way into the shallow past the ladder, do a three block long micro edger and then head back into the bowl. I’ll never forget it. Some guys would half pipe it. The deep end was good. The coping was raw. It was as raw as it could be. Firecracker. Chris Miller ripped it. Here’s a Duane Peters story: We came early one day. Someone had spray painted on the pool wall, “Duane rules pools…” or something about Duane being awesome. Duane showed up that morning, grabbed some paint and painted over the words and then just left. That was pretty rad.

Chuck Hults

Chuck Hults

Kelly Bellmar

Kelly Bellmar

Kelly Belmar and I were going to see Devo at the Coachhouse nearby. We got there early, so we went up to skate the pool. We arrived and there were guys that had driven a ways that were camping there and bucketing the pool. We helped them bucket the pool and emptied it so they could ride. We went to the concert. When it was over, we came outside and it was pouring rain. The poor guys didn’t get much time to skate… Kelly ripped that pool. He did inverts, rolled in…  He basically dominated.- Chuck Hults

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

Tony Alva

The San Juan pool was a big part of the Alva Posse days in San Clemente. We’d go up there and ride every day. It was our spot. We had it to ourselves for a little while. The thing I really remember about that pool were the Texans. John Tex Gibson and Craig Johnson. Tex and Craig made that pool look like a mini ramp. They killed it. They were doing vert ramp sized airs and crushing it everywhere. They took a doubles run, doing figure eights together and then they both went over the ladders on both sides simultaneously… They were ripping so hard. They’d go to the shallow end, smoke a fatty, swig a beer and go back at it. Those two guys were gnarly skaters. The Texans… Besides Eddie Reategui, they were the best. John Lloyd too. He was gnarly. – Tony Alva

Thank you to Aaron Sedway for the beautiful images. Thank you to Chuck Hults for his images as well. Thank you to Darrel Delgado, Eddie Reategui, Tony Alva, Chuck Hults and Dave Duncan for their memories. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Box of Rocks II

_dsc7357

The homeowner stood in his backyard and stared at Lance and I. He looked over at the pool thoughtfully. He mumbled to himself. “So, you want to cut the rocks off and cement it flush?” He asked a whole string of questions. Lance and I went over it all. We looked closely at everything involved. It was a massive undertaking. After careful consideration, the owner gave us permission. For obvious reasons, we decided to do a section on the face wall. We weren’t quite sure how the cutting of the slate top and rock would be. We had no idea on the degree of difficulty involved.

_dsc7410

_dsc7334

MRZ, Lance and I drove over one day in December and started in on it. It was pretty gnarly work. Lance cut the top away and scored the rocks underneath. I took a huge chisel and a hammer and broke the rocks as flush with the pool plaster as I could. We did a fairly long section of the face wall. Our lower backs were screaming after a few hours bent over at the waist. We stretched, ate lunch and mixed up cement. We slowly moved our way back across the lip and troweled the cement into the holes. We finished it flush and cleaned and rolled the top lip.

_dsc7514

_dsc7585

_dsc7628

It was getting colder and late in the afternoon when we were done. We cleaned up and let it set for a few days. The following Sunday, Lance, MRZ, myself, Ripperside Shawn and Gopa met together at the Box of Rocks for its trial run. The transitions were so good, we could all maintain our speed really well. The new lip was smooth and functional. Grinds and airs were put down. We were elated.

Box of Rocks

Box of Rocks

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Me

Me

Everyone talked about the new lip and how amazing the pool would be once we completed the entire circumference of the pool. I knew that this scenario would take awhile. It really was a gnarly undertaking to just get it this far! Over the next few weeks, I brought the Volcom crew back out for a film day. Pedro Barros and his Brazilian friends tore the pool into bite-sized pieces and gobbled it down. David Gonzales and Omar Hassan punished, Arto flowed through the pool like water and CJ Collins spent more time above the lip than below it.

David Gonzales

David Gonzales

Omar Hassan

Omar Hassan

Pedro Barros

Pedro Barros

The homeowner continued asking for things each time we went there. I understood. He has a large family. Many children. We had set him up very well during the first few weeks and I thought he’d be content for awhile… it wasn’t to be. I soon realized that if we were to keep the pool going on a regular basis, it would take a decent financial commitment on our part. It couldn’t continue as it was. In the end, maybe this is the way it should be. We took nothing and made something. Everyone received a good time, gifts were given and the Box of Rocks lives on in the Volcom Holy Stokes video for everyone to see and admire. Why ask for more? Thank you to MRZ and Arto Saari for images. Thank you to Lance Mountain for the assistance and knowledge and thank you to Russell Houghten for the video footage. Thank you to Remy Stratton and Volcom. Skate – Ozzie

Box of Rocks Part 1 – BOX OF ROCKS PART 1

Posted in Uncategorized

Box Of Rocks

2015_12_13_boxofrocks_artosaari_00003

Remy Stratton contacted me a year or so ago and asked me to help him find some pools for the Volcom film that they were currently producing. I ride with Arto Saari – one of their primary photographers – and had ridden with virtually everyone on the Volcom roster at one point or another. They’d be in town and would ultimately end up in some pit I had recently found and drained. After all, its what I do. I talked with Remy awhile and we agreed on what would work for everyone involved.

2015_12_13_boxofrocks_artosaari_00017

Having access to clothing, boards, wheels, shoes and cash can help open doors that may previously stay closed to me. I try hard to figure out what a homeowner needs on my initial recon and approach. Gather intel. If there are toys in the yard, you can automatically play the kid angle. Most kids love skateboards… especially free skateboards. Same thing applies to the cars on the approach. Stickers on windows? Stickers on cars can tell you a good bit about who may answer the door. Is there a child seat? Toys? Then scan the yard. Beer bottles? Broken fence? Paint peeling? Is there yard work in need of attention? Meticulous yards and well-maintained homes are usually going to be a hard sell. These people pride themselves on their property and most people think that skateboards will somehow ruin the pool. You can gather a ton of information on a drive by. But, you only get one chance at the front door approach.

2015_12_13_boxofrocks_artosaari_00012

I approach alone or with only one person. I prefer alone. It is less threatening to the homeowner and if anything tragically does go sideways (drug house, etc), I am confident that I can handle myself, but if I have to defend a friend as well, people can be hurt. Look clean and appropriate. Smile. Have a good line of banter ready. I knock on the front door and immediately step down the stairs again behind me. It affords me the opportunity to keep my eyes open for threats and watch the windows. It also gives the homeowner a psychological space… They are looking down at me. They hold the power. I keep my hands open and in sight. I smile. I tell them my name and ask if they know anything about skateboarding. In this day and age, virtually everyone has heard of Tony Hawk or Tony Alva. You can tell the homeowner that pools are where modern skateboarding came from. These two skateboarding superstars evolved from the backyard swimming pools found all over. The vert ramps that are seen on television during the X Games somewhat have their origin in the simulation of pool walls… Have a good skate photograph pulled up and ready on your phone. Preferably of yourself. Show them what we do. It helps them understand and is a testament to your ability.

boxrox

Make sure that you say that you saw their pool on satellite, even if you spotted it in another way. Some people are still computer naive and will think you were already in their yard somehow. Tell them at the start… “I saw you have an empty pool on satellite.” Remove suspicion. Alleviate fear. Always. I’ve used these principle approaches and they usually work. Sometimes they don’t. As I have said before, “It is a numbers game.” I run about ten percent. This means that you have to do a whole bunch of work… I spotted the Box of Rocks about a month into our search for Volcom. I approached the home. Gated off. No buzzer. No access to knock. It is this way at times. I left a note. Carefully worded.

Me, Grant Taylor and CJ Collins

Me, Grant Taylor and CJ Collins

 

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

I received a phone call from the homeowner and we agreed on a time to meet up. On satellite, the transitions and shape seemed incredible. There was something bothering me. It seemed as though there was either bad plaster, graffiti or something wrong with the pool. It didn’t have the typical look that a pool does on satellite. I needed to get into the yard. I went over and spoke with the owner. He let me see the pool and it was as I thought. Graffiti was on the pool but the surface was fantastic. The problem was the lip of the pool. It was completely covered in rocks and to make things worse, there was a slate top lip cemented over the rocks. The entire top of the pool was practically useless. The owner and I agreed on a deal and I informed Remy. He looked at the photographs and thought we should try it out. Lance Mountain, Arto Saari, CJ Collins and Grant Taylor met up and rode it one cold December afternoon.

Me

Me

Grant Taylor

Grant Taylor

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

CJ Collins

CJ Collins

We all tried to use the pool as best we could. It was amazing and amazingly frustrating. The transitions and shape were such that you could generate a good deal of speed, but because the rocks stuck out everywhere in a jagged way, you’d hit your wheels carving through the shallow end and get crushed. Without coping and the dangerous nature of the top, we were limited in what we could really do. Lance and I talked at length. We had an idea. We spoke with the homeowner. He rubbed his chin with his fingers and thought…

Box Of Rocks Part II will be coming soon. Thank you to Arto Saari for the images. Thank you to MRZ for the image of Lance Mountain. Thank you to Lance Mountain for the help and thank you to Remy Stratton and Volcom for the opportunity. Skate – Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Wait For It

James Hedrick

James Hedrick

There are now about nine times the amount of smart phones in the world than there are smart people. Funny how that works. Friday afternoon, I was driving in the San Fernando Valley and a girl went past me…  I saw her coming up fast in my rearview mirror. She was weaving in traffic. When she went past me, she had her head down looking at her phone. She switched lanes and cut in front of me. I never saw her head look up. Indefensible. I had some guests coming into town from elsewhere. Tony Farmer had called from New York and had a friend of his visiting California. He asked if I could throw him into the session. “Of course.” There are very few people I won’t skate with…  I like Farmer and — with rare exception — a friend of his is a friend of mine. I gave Farmer’s friend Chris a text and an address to meet.

Chris Reilly

Chris Reilly

 

Sunday morning, I went out early. Rick Stine and I had drained a few pools in the rain on Thursday. We got everything to a manageable level. I took three buckets, some hot coffee and drove out of West Hollywood a bit before seven in the morning. It was cold and quiet. Bucketing kept me warm. I like draining pools alone. I think. I wonder why people are such egotistical messes. How can some people think the way that they do? Delusion? I can’t really figure it out. It’s like this vision they have of themselves is all they are capable of seeing. No empathy. No way of putting themselves in another’s shoes. I guess one can’t really get too angry at them. They aren’t purposefully trying to hurt others because they never really think of anyone else in the first place. I feel sorry for them. Tragedy in two shoes. I think of our incoming President. I wonder about the El Gato Classic. I hum the Buzzcocks and think about frontside airs. I got the pools readied for my friends and we met up. Farmer’s friend Chris was really cool. We hit it off right away.

Rick Stine

Rick Stine

Cam Dowse

Cam Dowse

Ripperside Shawn

Ripperside Shawn

Cam brought James who was visiting from Colorado. Brandon Wong came out, Rick Stine, Ripperside Shawn, Gopa and BLKPRJKT all joined together for some fun. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: If its not about the skating, the fun and the friendship, you can keep your distance. I don’t want you around. I am generally kind, but I’m capable of quite the opposite. Just because I smile at you, doesn’t mean I like you. I might be picturing you on fire… Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Skate – Ozzie

Me

Me

Posted in Uncategorized

Bert Lamar

Bert Lamar

Bert Lamar

Bert Lamar

“This shot was taken during a period in my life when I was one-hundred percent focused on snowboarding. At this time, I was traveling the world, competing as a professional  snowboarder and was revitalizing my skate days from the past with some fun sessions and some crossover skating. My snowboarding was really taking my skateboarding to a new level. This was a fun pool session with a few friends and this opening shot looks like a very nostalgic, Tony Alva-esque frontside air.”

Bert Lamar

Bert Lamar

Thank you to Bert Lamar for the thoughts and Aaron Sedway for the images. Skate- Ozzie

Posted in Uncategorized

Salvation?

Al Partanen

Al Partanen

My friend BLKPRJKT recently brought something to my attention. GoSkate.Com wrote something about the declining popularity of skateboarding. I quote – There is a culture associated with skateboarding, one that has not always had a positive image.  It is important that going forward, all of us involved with the skateboarding industry create a universally positive image of the sport. In August of 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously to include skateboarding in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.  The emerging ‘90s punk scene and the 1995 X-Games saved skateboarding in the ‘90s – Will the Olympics be skateboarding’s “saving grace?” End quote.

unnamed-2

Marlon Whitfield

Marlon Whitfield

I wrote a fairly long and hostile reply to this… But I’ve scrapped it. After speaking with friends, it is easier to simply state that the Olympics won’t change anything for me or my friends. The X Games didn’t save skateboarding in the nineties because it didn’t need saving. The Olympics won’t do anything except usher in a long pathetic host of people that DO NOT skateboard, yet will try everything in their power to reap benefits and financial gain from our beloved skateboarding. If anything, I think skateboarding needs to be saved from them… We’ll be out here in the backyards, doing what we do, staying stoked, having fun and being lawless and unorganized. Purity. Skateboarding the way it has always been. FINI.

Me

Me

Brian

Brian

Corey Philips

Corey Philips

Ripperside Shawn

Ripperside Shawn

Thank you to MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie
PS- As far as “…the emerging 90’s Punk scene” Go listen to The Stooges and not The Offspring. Punk had pretty much blown its wad by the 90’s.

Posted in Uncategorized

Mike Williams / Guest Post

Mike Williams

Mike Williams

Mike Williams
Living in Nor Cal,  I don’t really get to hang out with the old So Cal, La Costa crew. Thank you Glen for dusting off this old photo. I don’t think I’ve seen it before. The Phoenix team shirt and narrow board definitely makes it early 1976. What most people never realized was during those early years, I was already twenty five years old, with two kids and a mortgage, all while trying to run Gullwing and skate professionally. Now at sixty five, I wonder why I didn’t skate more back then? Everyone else during those times were teenagers and skating all day. Trying to compete with them was a bitch. Especially slalom. The little suckers were always nipping at my heels. I really liked vert riding. It was more like surfing, which is something I always did and maybe that’s why I had a natural aptitude for it. My greatest contribution to skateboarding were the Gullwing trucks and the right angled king pin. I was looking for something that turned more like a surfboard. Every time I see a new adjustable slalom truck or a longboard cruise by,  I think, “I invented that.” My little joke. But, modern skaters have taken things to a level we could have never imagined. It feels good to have left something behind other than old photos, memories and stories. Thanks for noticing.
In appreciation, Michael Williams
Thank you to Mike Williams for the words and Glen E. Friedman for the previously unpublished image. Skate – Ozzie
For more of Glen E. Friedman’s work – BURNING FLAGS PRESS
Posted in Uncategorized