Humble Beginnings
Lee GahimerMy neighbor Mike Martin lived across the street and we always borrowed Gary's skateboard until he got sick of it. At this time freestyle was the rage along with slaloming coke cans, high-jumping broomsticks, and nose & tail wheelies. I met Lee Gahimer while playing little league baseball. Lee made his own custom-made Lightning Bolt skateboards in his garage and our school woodshop. We had been skateboarding for about 6-7 months when we followed Lee and Gary to Central pool down Stoner Alley (a big no-no in those days). I had already ridden my bike in Holt pool which was next to the Vet hospital. The dogs would always bark and blow it for us alerting the doctors who, would in turn, call the police on us. We began sneaking into Central pool to learn our craft a whole summer before riding L-pool. L-pool was the Badlands mecca much like the Dog bowl or Gonzo's was to the Dogtown guys. In addition to the L-pool, we also rode the Bel-Air pool (2 blocks away next door to my friend 's house), Jackie Alice, and Santa Anita pool near Tony Escuelea's house. In addition to these great pools was Baldy pipe and 25th & Euclid pool. It was at these spots I would meet many new friends.

We used to take the Omni-bus to the top of Euclid and skate through the neighborhoods then, walk across "no-mans land" to the pipe. Afterwards, skate and walk back to the top of Euclid. Afterwards, skate the 25th & Euclid pool then finally ride downhill all the way back to Montclair on Benson & Kingsley (which in those days was a trudge for sure). Becaause I lived the farthest away if I wanted to skate I would take the Omni -bus everywhere to get around. Back then it only cost a quarter for the one way trip.

The Original Bad Landers
It was at the L-pool is where we really learned to pump the walls because all the other pools were so tight. L-pool was the old Upland Swim Club and believe me, the re-make at Pomona Pipe and Pool was nothing like the original at at all. In fact, it was a farce. A total joke. The original L-pool was the shit! It was two pools within a pool. I feel it was the first real combi to speak of.

Garret ChickAll the Badlanders skated there such as Lee, Mike Cantu, Pat "Muck" Mullus, Buddy Allred, Curt Kimball, Steve Evans, Charlie Ransom, Spiff, Rick Howell, Don Hoffman, Pablo, Drug Doug, Mark the Nose, Tay Hunt, "Chuck" Tay's friend, The Alvarez brothers - Dino and Steve, Kenny Shriver, Jeff Lorrigan from Chino (Cowtown), Tracy Robar, Rich Ernst, Garret Chick, Roberto Tarin, Scott Dunlap, and a whole host of others who I don't remember their names. Oh yeah, yours truly. Our scene was so rad that word quickly spread and the "Worm" Kevin Anderson and Doug Schneider came all the way from Hermosa Beach just to skate Baldy and the L-pool.

These were the raddest times ever!

First Place... a Case of Beer!
Rick Platt - Egg BowlThe older guys would have jams and first place would be a case of beer. Naturally, they would share with everybody. All kinds of shit went down at that place such as bikers coming in there and trying to skate and fall on their asses. We would all laugh at them as they tried to get rad on us. Also, some dude blew his brains out there supposedly in the changing rooms. A car crashed in the empty field there one day and my buddy Brent Jones—whose father was the Montclair firechief (We would steal the water pumps from time to time to empty pools!)—tried to save the guy (who plowed into the lightpole then careened into the field) by performin CPR. I was skateboarding there the day my dad had a heart attack and almost died waiting in the waiting room. They said he was suffering from "flu-like" syptoms.

Even though my mom knew the older guys there were drinking and smoking the "ganj" she still let us hangout there because we loved to skate it so much. Because she was cool I just skated my ass off and learned to get better and better and craving vert big time.

Buddy was the master and he rode out over the spit-gutter coping onto pieces of wood that we propped up next to the lip. Anything would serve our needs from discarded washers & driers to refridgerators. This is how Stan Hoffman came up for the idea of the 15 foot bowl with 10 foot trannies and 5 feet of vert. When Stan and Don showed up one day to scope our scene we blew their minds. They had W.P.O.D. (The Tubes song "white punks on dope") written all over their boards - that was the rage! Stan also saw us at Baldy pipe and wanted to build the first pipe in a skatepark - which happened in 1977.

As time went on I met more and more people like Kurt Ross, Martin Texiera (who lived in Ontario and had cars to drive us around to skate the Skull Bowl and Roll Bowl). During Jr. High, the Pepsi Team came to my school and I won the little contest there as they gave away Mountain Dew. Afterwards, I took Stacy Peralta, Gregg Aryes, and Rod Saunders to the Bel Air and Santa Anita pools (Rod totally remembered all this at the OMSJ last year - he even brought it up!).

Where Were You in '77
Mike CantuAll of this right before Upland opened in the summer of 1977. When I started skateboarding there those guys remembered me from those pools I took them to. I looked up to all these guys back then and would just sit and watch them. Specifically, how they pumped, how they tucked, and how they approached skateboarding. I learned fast and asked a lot of stupid questions but, they all seemed to take me under their wings because one, I did not talk to much and two, I progressed fast and applied it to skating and not showing off. During this time my dad always told me to try your best and let your actions & performance do the talking for you. He also went on to say only then will people notice you.

I got sponsered first by C&D wheels then by Pete Gonzalez (who later ran Pomona Pipe and Pool skatepark on Garey) of Paved Pacific skateboard shop in Covina (they saw me rip the Fruit Bowl charging the stair lines and getting on the wood exstensions like the D.T. guys) and then the Pipeline park team. We rode all day at Pipeline and yeah I will admit the Dogtown guys went higher than me at first but, Lee and Tay gave those guys a run for their money.

Garret Chick Pipeline 1978You only saw the Dogtown guys in the mag then and not in person. Stacy came around a lot and was not into the "crash and burn trip" all the other Dogtown guys were into. It was guys like Stacy, Schneider, and Blackhart that I really dug outside of the Badland boys. They really inspired me back then and I must have done something right because they included me on some of the first pipe trips to Arizona for the CAP pipes that Ameron built. In fact, I was on the first real pipe mission to the mother lode of all skate spots back in Texas back in 1978 and 1979 with Blackhart, Schneider, Craig Stecyk, and Cassimus.

The Badlands Boys were the only guys to give Dogtown competition in those early days along with Rick Blackhart. Keep in mind we did as much as the Dogtown guys did albeit alittle later in the game. We did just as much and carried the tradition even farther as far as skating was concerned in my book. Our scene rivaled their scene slightly after them (77-80') exposure wise. Both areas had tons of pools, a major drought, and neighborhoods on the brink of destruction. They did beat us to the punch (75-77') though because traditionally L.A. was quicker and hipper and much more revelent in trendmaking than any other area. Their influence was vast but so was ours. Not all of us surfed, but alot of us did - me included (athough I never spent enough time in the water to make it worth my while). We did live 34 miles from the nearest beaches so sidewalk surfing became our savior and new religion so to speak.

Salba Pipeline 1978Tony Alva takes credit for the first frontside-air but, it was Tay Hunt that pulled the first backside-air. Buddy Allred did the first Cess Slide (wonder where that came from?) or "Rock Walk" as others called it. Curt Kimball did the first knee-slide (that is still used to this very day). Harvey Hawks did over-vert "berts" in the pipe as well as huge flying berts out of the pipe landing onto the hip where George Orton had his 15 minutes of fame landing frontside airs on the hip wall of the bowl/pipe combo. Garret Chick did the first Fakie Rocks and Fakie Hang-Ups along with the first 360° I ever saw on vert! Stacy and Blackhart did them but Garret was the first. Garret also did frontflips over the fence from the banked walls of the 15 foot bowl right next to the snack bar. A llittle later Craig Rowe—who rode for G&S—did the sickest slides like frontside 540's slides in the combi as well as "alley-oop" fronstide lein airs to reverts back in 1979. He was also the singer singer for our first punkabilly band "The Wild Ones!"

I should also mention that Chris Strople and Wally Inouye were honorary "Badlanders." These guys actually moved into the Badlands for the sake of skating! Specifically, to ride the rad terrain like Skull Bowl, Egg Bowl, and the Pipeline park. These guys were the pioneers that nobody ever knew about outside of our beloved area.

Dogtown and Badlands - A Comparison
At this time, a few Dogtown boys and their scene disentegrated as they stopped progressing except for Stacy, Shogo Kubo, Hackett, and Polar Bear. All the others disappeared after a couple of years. I am not knocking them at all because alot of them are my good friends. I am merely setting the record straight as I see it. They keep getting all the credit for everything and everybody from all over California was ripping in those days while not knowing about each scene until the mags came out. They were the first to get coverage for sure and definitely helped shape the future of things to come. Everybody emualated them-myself included. But scenes from all over California were happening and riding banks, pools,and pipes. Hermosa, O.C., the San Fernando Valley, S.D., Nor-Cal, Sacto, Palm Springs, North County, and the Badlands.

The similarities between Dogtown and the Badlands are numerous. Wes Humpston made hand painted boards that have inspired thousands but it was Rick Howell who made his famous "Ick Sticks" for vert and slalom which are some of the most sought after boards in that world. Dogtown legend Jay Adams went to jail for supposedly killing somebody while Badlander Harvey Hawks actually did and is still serving time in Federal Prison. Jay's dad made the "Z-flex" while Tay's dad made "Pool Tools." We all started as local guys riding local brands but looked else where for sponsership when the original companies started declining and the big companies swallowed everybody up offering bigger exposure and pro models and salaries. But we all had our teams,dreams and places to skate.

Jeff Lorrigan was the first Badlands pro to travel outside of the U.S. to England. Along Lee Gahimer, Tay Hunt, Steve Evans, Garret Chick, Charlie Ransom going pro slightly thereafter. Harvey and Curt Kimball quickly followed for not only vert but, for slalom and banked slalom as well. We were a well- rounded group. What was visible was only the tip of the iceberg. After them it was myself, Scott Dunlap and a couple of others who rode for various companies before I settled riding for T.A. It's kind of ironic that Tony Alva and I share almost an indentical last name. I rode for Alva for almost 2 years but decided to leave after Kryptonics offered me a pro model and Alva did not. Later I went to Santa Cruz (thanks to Steve Olsen). The Bevel came next the first real concave board to be mass produced. Then the Witchdoctor board that was modeled after my tattoo and a Playboy pin-up, the Tiger model and then the Angry baby model which was influenced by a trip to Norway and Gustav Viglands' " Angry Boy" sculpture at Vigland park in Oslo.

The Alba influence doesn't end with me. My younger brother Micke won the second Hester Series overall championship back in 1979-80. Ten years later Micke took skating to another level with greats like Christian Hosoi, Tony Hawk, Jeff Phillips, and Gator for the top 4 slots for four years running in ramp skating.

Badands Roll Call
Other Badlands influences included Chris Miller (the epitome of skating style and flow), Eric Jueden, and (God rest his soul-my skate brother) Chris Robison (who in his time took his huge frame of 6 foot plus to new heights and broke boundaries with huge airs and liptricks that never seemed feasible). Second generation Badlander Al Losi is another whose influence on skating is still felt to this day. He did the first lipslides over coping (I gotta say Stacy was the first to do that trick).

John Nakama was another fine example of Badlands pool riding who ripped all kinds of terrain from pipes to pools to parks. Chris Ortiz (you should see his little brother Steve skate!) was another skater whose influence is still with us. Currently, he runs the 411 skate video machine. He was rad as shit and a great photographer to boot. There were lots of guys who rode Pipeline and learned their craft there as well like Steve Gable, Mark Duran, Scott Frailey, Nick Lacota, Jeff Badders and cousin Scott Tidwell , Billy Braden, Greg Teal, Dennis Hill, Dave Espinosa, Vince Dennis, Bill Renney, Marcus Solomon, Rick Kenner, and Mike Serna (whose son Michael is ripping the new Upland and Fontana parks). And the pools we rode; Egg Bowl, Dolphin pool, Sir Bloomy's parents pool in Upland, Dave West's parents pool, Central pool, Groid bowl in Pomona, Grape bowl, Andy's pool in Chino, Prime Evil in Chino hills, Arnies pool in Montclair, Upland high School, Montclair high school, Fish bowl #3, Los Roble's Jr.High School, Kitty's pool in Claremont (where Steve Olson got taken to jail for using Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols name), various pools in the dairy lands (where the smell would make you puke in the summer heat), 18th & Euclid pool right near the Hoffman's house, ,the Archibald square (where the new Rancho Cucamonga library now resides), The P pool, the B pool, Sapphire street, Double Death box, Sycamore pool, Dodger pool, the Butterfly, Pepper pool, Pepper #2 , Jacuzzi wall, Samuri, Pomona Swim Club, the golf course, Pink Tile lounge, Howard Johnson's, and hundreds more that I never gave them names.

Flamethrowers and Barf
STEPMOTHERS - 1st 7"Another level of madness came from the punk rock world whose participants all started skating first then were musically taken over. Muck's first band "The Barf" appeared on Chuck Barris' Gong Show several times and his other band The Stepmothers played new wave/punk rock and went on to Posh Boys famous punk label and Kent State featuring Kurt Ross (another early skater was featured on the Rodney on the Roq's first punk compliation records). I was a victim of this music phenom. I had a band called The Flamethrowers with Kurt singing (who went on to more success playing live shows with all kinds of bands from Agent Orange, Human Therapy, the Misfits, The Chili Peppers, X, Billy Zoom band, Specimen, Guns and Roses, Poison, and tons of others). Another was George "the white rhino " Bellanger who skated with me in high school and went on to start Christian Death with James Mcgarrity (another Badlands ripper from the early days and the 1st guy to build a backyard halfpipe in his backyard up in Alta Loma). McGarrity was a classic mix of half Chinese/German whose dad allowed him to skate only after he took his Kung Fu classes.

The Future is Now
And now with the opening of the new Upland skatepark which I had a hand in designing the circle is completed after 30 years of Badlander ripping.Thank you Stan Hoffman and Family. Without you I would be a nobody!

Dogtown R.I.P.
Dogtown was rad but their scene has disentregrated after all these years (in the 80's they rose again with Muir taking charge along with teamriders Scott Oster, Aaron Murray, Dressen, Tim Jackson, Ben Schroeder, and even my little brother). Their heyday was radical but, our "heyday" never ended and is still happening big time. We still have Baldy pipe (the longest running skate spot ever), massive amounts of pools and street spots . Even T. A. comes to the Badlands to ride the pools I got going in secret (he never calls me!). It's unfortunate but, Dogtown does not have that many pools anymore due to the modernization and cleaning up of the town and they don't have a 20 foot fullpipe in the heart of their home town.(Wally Holiday is going to build them a superpark soon!) Don't get me wrong, I still give a lot of credit for those carrying on the Dogtwon tradition like Eric Dressen, Jesse Martinez, and Block.

Dogtown was then... Badlands is now!


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