Pool Stories

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Aaron Astorga, V20N11

Pool Stories
Words by Dave Swift

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This whole fiasco started for me back in October 2001 when I went out for a session at the revamped Clinton Keith pool with Al Partanen, Omar Hassan, and Brian Howard. The deal was that I just wanted to get a photo or two for an article I’d suggested that Ed Dominick shoot with his crew of pool shredders. Once I got started, I just couldn’t stop, and for that matter, didn’t want to stop. Sorry, Ed, I kind of took over on your article.

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Hopefully, you’re intelligent enough to realize that pool skating started in California back in the 70s, and has stuck around ever since in some form or another. Back then, it was the thing to do if you were a skateboarder, just like how vert ramps were the terrain of choice in the 80s, and how street took over in the 90s. Guys like Tony Alva, Jay Adams, Shogo Kubo, Steve Alba, Stacy Peralta, Tom Innouye, Dave Hackett, and Steve Olsen were virtually treated as gods. If you couldn’t keep up with the moves they were pulling off in So Cal pools, then you might as well have taken up horseback riding. As the 70s turned to the 80s, pools dominated the landscape of all the newly built skateparks, thus breeding a new crop of pool skaters who never learned to search out pools ’cause they already had a perfect one at the park.

This bred some resentment from the old guard, and backyard pool skating went underground, while new heroes began to emerge from the skatepark era. When a backyard pool was found, its location was kept secret so that none of the skatepark kooks would barge in on the sessions uninvited. It was rare to see skaters under 25 years of age in a backyard pool session. Groups of D.I.Y. skaters began networking their pools with like-minded cells across the country, so that those in the know-knew. There were tales of pool-seekers going as far as renting helicopters or small planes to scour and map out different areas for new terrain.

Over the years, they remained a quiet bunch who only celebrated during a heated session at a virgin pool. While skateboarding grew and grew, the amount of hardcore pool skaters dwindled. The theory was, “More pools for us.” Now while this may seem selfish to you, look at it from their perspective: If you’re not down with the network, then why should you reap the benefits? The only drawback was, “Would pool skating survive into another generation?”

Well, the new generation is here and pool skating is alive and well. I found that out firsthand over the last several months when I took it as my mission to document as many pools as I could in a limited period of time. The old guard is getting respect from the current generation of pool rippers, and new holes are being shredded on a daily basis. Do your part: find a pool, clean it out, rip it, and don’t disrespect the terrain. Enjoy yourselves.

Hesh Bowl

This pool has been skated for more than ten years, which is pretty damn long considering its location is near the epicenter of the skateboard industry. Harsh coping that sticks out like mad, a love seat waiting to take you out, and occasional slipperiness is what the Hesh Bowl is all about. For those who have conquered this right-hand kidney, we salute you. Sorry, no BMXers or Rollerbladers allowed.

Monster Bowl

Located close to San Diego, California’s Mexican border-if you’re in the know, you’ll find this sweet little number. There’re hips so round you’ll be mesmerized, a good love seat, and a rideable shallow end. Warning: stay away from the black water in the Jacuzzi, it’ll melt your skin. But this pool will probably be rendered unskateable by the time you read this, so don’t even worry about trying to find it.

Convict Pool

In the land of Salba is where you’ll find this masterpiece of a left-hand kidney. The transitions are nearly flawless, so riding forever in the deep or taking it in the shallow is not a problem. Check the Label Kills video for footage of the Convict Pool in Omar Hassan’s section. Oh shit, I forgot to mention that the coping on this baby is like butter, so stand up and grind far.

Fifth And Sierra

Ghetto area, ghetto hotel, nice pool. I’m sure the hotel and area will be demoed by the time this story comes out, but this right-hand kidney was nice while it lasted. Smooth walls, good trannies, and killer bullnose coping.

Cancer Egg

Permission pools are always a bonus ’cause you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket for trespassing or a beatdown by the owner. This Egg with no coping spewed out so much white cancer dust during our heated session that a major eyewash was necessary shortly thereafter. The “I used to skate way back when” owner was about as cool as you could get in that neck of the woods.

Del Mar

One Saturday morning, Matt Moffett called me with a change of plans for a session-he’d found something different. After getting lost on a windy canyon road that forked about six times, we found ourselves at Ground Zero staring directly out over the Pacific Ocean. Different it was, but nosy neighbors always kept the crew looking over their shoulders. We waved to them as they took pictures of us.

Chino

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I called Salba one day to see if he had any new pools, and of course, he said yes. As a warm-up, we went to the old Chino pool only to find out it was the last session at the place because the owner was moving out. We ended up staying there for four hours. Maybe the folks who rent the place will be skate friendly, ’cause this pool needs some work before it’s swimable again.

Dairy Square

Two pools in a block of houses were found sometime earlier this year just off a rural highway in So Cal. It seems that the houses were bought by a fertilizer farm ’cause the owners were a little pissed off about the stench. One (a beautiful left-hand kidney) was rendered unskateable soon after it was located when a load of dirt (or manure) was skip loaded into the deep end. The other pool was a square that was fenced off by a brick wall and a chain-link fence with barbed wire atop, so stopping the skating wasn’t so easy. Occasionally, you’d be able to session unhindered for hours, and other times ol’ Sweet Tits (an oversized sweaty caretaker) would press his bare chest up to the chain link fence and tell the skaters to beat it. Daylight sessions became rare, but for those with generators and lights, the skating could go on deep into the night. Sweet Tits finally got wise and figured out a way to dump a load of dirt into the Dairy-Square, and for now, all sessions have ended.

Pasadena

Another pool that’s been around for a while. A right-hand kidney featuring nice trannies, carveable shallow end, and stairs with cut-off slab coping. I drove from Oceanside to Pasadena one Sunday afternoon to meet up with Dan Rogers and Jim Greco, only to find the pool full of freshly dumped sand. Two-and-a-half hours for nothing. I suggested to Dan that he get a crew together the next week and dig the sucker out, and that’s just what he did. Helping out on the cause was Calixto Hernandez, Brian Young, Notorious B.O.B., Lil’ Jeffey, and Ben Gilley (with a few of his Alabama friends). They cleared it out in under six hours, and I showed up just in time to click a few photos and get some skating in on a fine Easter Sunday. I heard that when the CalTrans workers showed up the next day to find the sand they’d dumped lining the rim of the pool, they were awestruck. They promptly had another load brought in after jackhammering the bottom a little.

Sunset Pool

This one’s also seen its share of sessions over the years-tales of Hosoi flying about years ago have been heard. Recently, the pool got new life, and the Hollywood crew sessioned the hell out of it until the good folks over at the nearby dentist office ice-picked the bottom and dumped junk and water into it. It’s still there, but definitely unskateable.

Palm Springs

I don’t know much about this pool, other than the fact that Ed Dominick, Sam Hitz, and Chet Childress drove from San Diego to skate it only to get dissed by the invitee. I don’t want to name any names, but the aforementioned used to be teammates with Chet when he rode for Creature a few years back. The guy told them to come up, and when they got there, he got all twitchy and told them he had to go to work and couldn’t skate. Chet and the boys got a little confused when the guy wouldn’t even tell them where the pool was. On the way out of town, they saw some skaters and asked if them if they knew of any pools. They finally got directions to the pool and when they showed up, guess who was skating? Chet went nuts on the guy.

AZ Roman

Here’s another one that Ed’s crew found. Not much info on it other than Darren Navarette, Neil Heddings, and Wez Lundry ripped it up. Arizona is hot, so not many people empty their pools in the summer.

Dodger Bowl

Everybody always asks me why this pool is called “Dodger,” and I think even I asked myself that the first time I went there. Fading away on the bottom of the pool are different team logos, and the one near the drain is the L.A. Dodgers insignia. There you go. Dodger is a great left-hand kidney with a love seat jutting out in the deep end, and dainty ladyfinger coping surrounded by good tranny. The people who own the pool have a son who skates (but not the pool), so they’re cool with skating. Salba hooked this one up. The pool’s done for the summer as the family just filled it with water, but hopefully they’ll decide to drain it again in the near future.

Ortega

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Up on the hill, hidden in the trees near a golf course, is (or was) an abandoned house surrounded by jungle-like plants and trees. Hidden amidst all that was a deep right-hand kidney. No one knows how long it had been skateable, but it’s gone now-bulldozed a little while ago. You can’t get in the way of progress. Its walls were steep, the coping was jagged, and it was covered in grafitti, but it was a skateable pool, nonetheless. R.I.P. Ortega.

Fontana

This was a “quicky.” One of those 30-minute in-and-out sessions-don’t give the neighbors enough time to call the cops on you for trespassing. Dan Rogers hit the light and it exploded, sending glass shrapnel into the air. Salba grinded the shallow, five-0′d over the deathbox, and then said, “Let’s go, we’re outta here!” A neighbor yelled at us, ’cause she thought we’d stolen shit. We broke quick.

r at the nearby dentist office ice-picked the bottom and dumped junk and water into it. It’s still there, but definitely unskateable.

Palm Springs

I don’t know much about this pool, other than the fact that Ed Dominick, Sam Hitz, and Chet Childress drove from San Diego to skate it only to get dissed by the invitee. I don’t want to name any names, but the aforementioned used to be teammates with Chet when he rode for Creature a few years back. The guy told them to come up, and when they got there, he got all twitchy and told them he had to go to work and couldn’t skate. Chet and the boys got a little confused when the guy wouldn’t even tell them where the pool was. On the way out of town, they saw some skaters and asked if them if they knew of any pools. They finally got directions to the pool and when they showed up, guess who was skating? Chet went nuts on the guy.

AZ Roman

Here’s another one that Ed’s crew found. Not much info on it other than Darren Navarette, Neil Heddings, and Wez Lundry ripped it up. Arizona is hot, so not many people empty their pools in the summer.

Dodger Bowl

Everybody always asks me why this pool is called “Dodger,” and I think even I asked myself that the first time I went there. Fading away on the bottom of the pool are different team logos, and the one near the drain is the L.A. Dodgers insignia. There you go. Dodger is a great left-hand kidney with a love seat jutting out in the deep end, and dainty ladyfinger coping surrounded by good tranny. The people who own the pool have a son who skates (but not the pool), so they’re cool with skating. Salba hooked this one up. The pool’s done for the summer as the family just filled it with water, but hopefully they’ll decide to drain it again in the near future.

Ortega

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Up on the hill, hidden in the trees near a golf course, is (or was) an abandoned house surrounded by jungle-like plants and trees. Hidden amidst all that was a deep right-hand kidney. No one knows how long it had been skateable, but it’s gone now-bulldozed a little while ago. You can’t get in the way of progress. Its walls were steep, the coping was jagged, and it was covered in grafitti, but it was a skateable pool, nonetheless. R.I.P. Ortega.

Fontana

This was a “quicky.” One of those 30-minute in-and-out sessions-don’t give the neighbors enough time to call the cops on you for trespassing. Dan Rogers hit the light and it exploded, sending glass shrapnel into the air. Salba grinded the shallow, five-0′d over the deathbox, and then said, “Let’s go, we’re outta here!” A neighbor yelled at us, ’cause she thought we’d stolen shit. We broke quick.