The skateparks from yester-year are what set us apart
from all the other skaters going along for the magic
carpet ride. Sure we were the pros who set the standards
for alot of stuff and empty backyard pools really got
us all going but, the parks allowed us to practice our
craft in a no-bust environment.
This set us up for practicing every day and learning stuff
for the early contests that really inspired millions
in the days to come. Remember the A.S.P.O. series turned
us on to each other's abilities and these contests brought
all of us together in the first place.
I met Brad Bowman this way along with Shreddie Repas at
Skatercross in Reseda. I met Pineapple and Dave Andrecht
in Spring Valley during one of our first trips there
to ride a real pool made for skating. I saw Steve Olson
, Arnie Hogue, and others at Skatopia in Buena Park.
The parks made terrain just to skate in, and on, but
the really good parks offered empty swimming pools built
just for skating. Spring Valley built the first skatepark
bowl shaped like a peanut or figure 8. Newark was also
one of the first parks to build a bowl/pool with coping
that stuck out (before this it was always rounded or
squarish lips that worked but was not particularly suited
to a skaters wants and needs). That is why all the locals
at Upland's original Pipeline skatepark repeatedly asked
for a real pool with tile and coping! We were so into
that we actually gave money to the Hoffman family to
get the ball rolling. I personally gave 1,000 U.S. dollars
along with my brother, Strople, Wally Inoyue, and assorted
The Pipeline also offered "Gold Cards" so that
rich parents of skaters near the park could pay up to
$500 bucks to get their kids the first rides in the
combi before us pros who donated even more money. This
also allowed them unlimited access day or night to skate
anywhere or anytime at the park.
That kinda rubbed me the wrong way for sure but it helped
raise the $ 30,000 dollars to build the original combi-bowl
(which still is way better than the new one Vans built).
I was always pissed that the Damico brothers got the
first rides at the combi before us. So a lot parks followed
suit in building crazier and crazier pools to bring
in the masses and attract the pros in order to get magazine
coverage to give props to their parks!
Almost every contest held at the original 70's parks
had their contests "in the pool area." The
better ones had more money and locations to bring in
the kiddies. The best ones I rode were Big-O, Lakewood,
Whittier, Pipeline of course (which separated the men
form the boys), Winchester, Oasis, La Mesa, Vista, Marina,
Milpitas, Del Mar, Boulder in Colorado, Cherry Hill
in Jersey, Skate in the shade in Tempe, Colton, and
Surf and Turf in Wisconsin.
Spring Vallley was cool cuz' it was the first pool to
have tile and coping. It was big with lots of flatbottom
which was unheard of in those days (with kinda of pointy
hips and a shitty shallow end). The deep was decent
but had a slight kink on the right wall if I remember
right. I did take the cake there during a contest. My
mom told me not to expect anything and just try my best
(I came back with a $1,000 check for 1st place).
Newark was built up north and had no tile or plaster
finish but offered coping. It was a round keyhole that
had deep trannies but little vert so it was kinda hard
to ride "the pit." Blackhart brought forth
the dreaded frontside roll-in at that contest and made
the famous Indy ad from that event. I sucked there and
fell but found Mr.V and Eric Swenson there asking me
to try some new trucks. Things have never been the same
was pretty much the first super park that offered sooooo
much terrain from the small
keyhole, the capsule pool complete with a channel, the
first real clover pool combo with 3 bowls, the holiday
bowl , and two 3/4 pipe deals that were pretty insane
for back then. We were all excited to ride that place
which was prime property right along the 55 freeway
and Chapman. Big-O was sick as shit and that's where
I met Duane and guys like Freddie Desoto along with
Bob Sarafin and Eddie Meeks. The first contest was killer
and super hot with a heatwave from outta nowhere but
alas I won again and proved to the skate world that
I was a true Badlander to be dealt with. Death to Dogtown
was always our motto in the Badlands then!
Whittier was king of the lowriders then but their park
was the next super park. Built after Big-O, I think
it was built by the same people. It offered a huge keyhole
with a roll in channel, a better clover bowl/pool set-up
than Big -O's, a fullpipe complete with a metal top
that swayed slightly when bigger guys rode it like Scott
Dunlop and various lil' pools and bowls in the back
of the park that were real fun. This park ruled and
the big pool was super fun with a good amount of vert.
was a cool place to go by the Del Amo mall. They had
two little keyholes side by side which was kinda of
a nightmare cuz' if somebody lost their board it would
roll into the other and kill you. The halfpipe was really
fun slightly downhill that gradually got bigger and
deeper that lead into a huge bowl at least 13-14 feet
deep. I was like the only guy who could carve around
the thing and come back up the halfpipe very salmon
like swimming upstream. The park also had the hugest
pool built at that time. It was a big huge peanut shaped
thing with the raddest shallow end plus kill hips. Totally
fun. A little later they built the clamshell that inspired
Kelly Bellmar to build his pool.
Pipeline was hella rad because they built the first
fullpipe in the U.S.of A. They also built the 15 ft.
bowl after the Hoffman's saw us riding over the coping
at the L-Pool on 4 x 8 pieces of plywood and refigerators
getting out of the pool 4-5 feet past the coping! The
park was rad cuz' it was my home and playground for
12.5 years. The thing that was really rad was the combi-pool.
It was super sick and super vert (3 feet of vert all
over ). If you did good there in a contest you were
considered by many to have conquered all of skateboarding.
It was that important. If you proved yourself there
you were rad. Cab ripped that place as did Duane Peters
who did acid drops in the square. Tony Hawk did crazy
shit there also but the guys who ripped it the most
in my opinion was my brother Micke and Chris Miller
with Eric Jueden and Chris Robison following a close
2nd! The combi was by far the craziest and raddest place
to skate period!
Colton was cool and the Losi family ran it. Al Losi
and Eddie Elguera skated there alot with Sausage man
coaching their every move. It has a cool capsulish pool
with a kink on the bottom of the left wall. The pool
was really fun with rounded corners in the shallow end.
They also had a halfpipe that had extensions on it and
a huge capsule like Big-O. This place was definite Varibot
Winchester had the sickest pool out of them all as far
as I am concerned. Perfect is all I can say. Perfect
finish work, perfect coping, and a sweet scene where
I met all the up North guys guys like Mofo, K.T., the
Buck Brothers, Kevin Reed, Eric Halverson, Scotty Parsons
(saw Cab for the first time), and Scott Foss. They had
the washboard and a little pink egg where everybody
Cherry Hill was the east coast version of a superpark.
The raddest deepest 12-13 ft. egg was perfect with kill
plaster and coping. The 3/4 halfpipe deal was hella
fun and if you rock-n-rolled that thing you were friggin'
hella rad! They also had other pools like kidneys and
keyholes . Super sick scene for sure. Scope
Marina was rad also and had the Dogbowl which was alright
but had a couple of super kinked walls near the hip.
It was big so it was fun and cool to carve. The brown
bowl up top offered stuff to learn in and the deep capsule
bowl was where Stacy Peralta did 540 slides. The top
keyhole was super fun and better than the Dogbowl. It's
also where we filmed Devo's "Freedom of Choice"
video. They also had a deep keyhole near the Dogbowl
that nobody ever rode but us. The one thing I really
liked about Marina was in all the pools where the light
should of been was clear plexi glass drilled with holes
to allow the speakers underneath them to project music
through to pump up the skaters! The Circle Jerks played
there and the cover for the Group Sex album was shot
Oasis was alright and had a teardrop pool with really
weird uplifted coping near the lip which made roll-ins
tough. They also had a halfpipe deal that was fun but
really rough on the bottom that would eat your skin
La Mesa was the place where Pineapple had an ad with
avaitor glasses on in the big capsule like thing that
did not have a shallow end. It just faded into vert.
It was fun but weird! I don't recall anything else because
I never rode anything but the pool!
Vista was the same way. It had a weird halfpipe in the
back but the peanut shaped pool was kill with a good
shallow end to carve and get speed plus kill hips to
do airs over into the shallow. This place was the famous
Shogo Kubo bail shot of him hanging up on a frontside
grind and rolloing out of it karate style. The pool
was fun at least!
Boulder was in Colorado and not much of a park exceot
for the snake runs, reservoir bowl, and the bowl /pool
thing they made. No tile but good coping, the Boulder
pool was wide open and had good shallow hips and shallow
end for gaining speed and the deep end was very good
but alittle bumpy here and there. It was the Kryptonic
testing grounds cuz' they were based there too. I have
really fond memories of that place and hanging out with
George, James and Dunlop and my lil brother there. I
am sure MICKE remembers that place too! Drunken debauchery!
The contests there were fun and me and Olson took the
rental car and got severly rad in it by jumping it in
a field next door to the park and spinning 360°
donuts on the freeway!
Del Mar was the down south super park with a halfpipe,
a small backyard kidney, a square nitemare with round
corners (that only me, Micke and Gator could ride),
a reservoir banked deal and the famous Del Mar keyhole.
I always dreaded going there cuz' it was soooo mellow
compared to Pipeline with little or no vert. It was
hard to keep speed and do airs for me but this allowed
tricksters like Mr.Hawk and Kevin Staab to create the
future of skating. So many people came out of that scene
it was ridiculous. Swifto, Grant Brittian, Gator, Duncan,
Gino Tusso, Billy Ruff, etc. It lasted almost as long
Milpitas was fun and had lil' bowls like a clover thang
with rounded lips, another washboard deal (Winchester's
was better), a crazy double bowl/pool thing (where I
got 2nd or 3rd in the contest there). It was tight but
had a good finish and nice coping. A fun little park
Skate in the shade was made by Bigilow who made the
combi and Wally Holiday who has made parks forever got
his start with this firm. The park was dinky and all
I remeber was the rad deep keyhole. It was hot as shit
and melted your brains out. The pool was good but the
coping was home made like Pipelines' which was hand
poured with a form. Severe 3 inch gnarly stuff. Where
was the shade?
The Turf in Wisconsin was the midwest version of a super
park. The clover pool was super fun and smooth. The
capsule bowl with tall extension deep-end was challenging
and the keyhole was kinda lumpy but cool to ride. If
you could do the channel you were pretty rad because
the channel walls did not meet. One stuck out more than
the other. This place was hella fun though for sure
and brought out many skaters from that area particularly
Sam Hitts (quit spray painting all over pools and pipes!
Enough is enough!) and Al Partenan (the ruler).
I thought I'd never see the day where skateparks would
be built again 20 years after they first started. I
truly believe the current phenomenon started in O.C.
with Kelly Bellmar and Barret "Chicken" Deck.
They built the first pools in some 20 odd years just
for skating in their backyards while the scene was slowing
down for vert skating during the street phase upheaval
in the early 90's. Though certain people try to take
credit for these pools I will set the record straight.
Kelly had Blue Haven build his pool while Rick Carge did
make the brick walls there and pour the decks. Rick
helped more with Chickens' and also did the retaining
walls and decks. He and Buddy Carr and others helped
dig and rebar the Clover Basic bowl in H.B. where Greg
Basic once resided. Let's face it, Greg built his pool
to be the cool guy where Kelly and Chicken did not becaue
they both have a true passion for skateboarding plus
they both skate, whereas Greg does not. If Greg cared
he would not have let his pool pop out of the ground
not once but twice! True lameness for sure. Passion
over substance any day for me. If you build it take
care of it like a brand new born baby! If you ask me
Kelly's is the best for sure!
Now because these guys built these pools they can definitely
take credit for saving pool /vert riding at this point
in time and this indirectly lead to Carge building the
upcoming Vans parks which have been and blessing and
both a big pain in the ass.
The first Vans park was built in O.C. at the Block,
a chain of malls across America. Dave Duncan got in
there because of his wood expertise of building alot
of the contest ramps for the ramp/vert series that the
N.S.A. held in the mid to late 80's along with Tim Payne.
But in my opinion he blew it slightly redesigning the
new combi after the old combi pool from Uplands' Pipeline.
I love D.D. but he did not ride that place as much as
we did and I feel he should have gotten me involved
in that project. I am not jealous at all I just think
it could have turned out better.
Rick Carge built all the cement stuff like the street
course and the San Juan bowl which Vans has taken out
recently in order to create more street space to bring
back more street kids. Marketing sucks because that
bowl was really fun and had nice lines but again was
nothing like the original San Juan pool it was modeled
Following this park opened up the floodgates of skateparkdom
across California. Vans built another park in Bakersfield
which also has bitten the dust due to low numbers of
marketing strategy. They have built parks in Milpitas
close to the original park from the 70's with a wheel
barrelled shaped pool that is fun and kinda deep but
hardly any vert with quick shallow corners that make
shallow speed carves kinda hard cuz' again you have
to hold back.
They also made a park near my house in Ontario at the
Mills. It has a peanut/figure 8 smaller backyard style
pool which is hella fun and fast but lumpy as shit.
Plus the Vans parks are always very dusty and slippery
due to the fact the crews working there do not skate
and have no idea about the upkeep of a skatepark.
That is why the coping gets hammered and spraying the
coping with sauce would not only make it last longer
but prevent injuries from sticking and getting pitched
on 50-50's and from letting B.M.X.ers' ruin the coping
from their steel pegs and putting holes in the plaster
from throwing their bikes down delivering bone shattering
holes that tweak skaters.
Vans has made a whole bunch of parks in California, Jersey,
Colorado, Washington D.C., and Houston, Texas. Most
feature pools for the old schoolers and have vert ramps
for the simulators and lots of street orientated stuff
for the number crunchers of the corporate greed machine.
The ones I have been to have all been fun and are built
pretty good. Carge controls his crews nicely and they
build stuff from the ground up and do every aspect of
the build and design phase except for the plaster work.
This in my opinion is where everything goes bad. His pools
are not kinky but always lumpy and bumpy due to the
hiring out of Mexican plaster crews who do not have
the slightest idea of how important the finish work
actually is. Skateboard wheels are relatively small
and can feel the minutest flaw where as gaybladders
and bikes have no problems overcoming the lumpy and
bumpy surfaces due to their bigger wheel diameters.
Believe me I am not criticizing Carge at all, just stating
facts becasue I know his hands are tied and his does
the best that he can!
Vans worried about making deadlines and letting somebody
like Neil Lyons run the show (who has been since fired
for all of his lameness). What do you expect from a
corporation who does not hire properly trained people
like skaters who can do the job. That's why they originally
hired Duncan and Carge to help them but they needed
more expertise than just 2 guys. I will say that the
Colorado park has one of the sickest clover pools I
have ever rode in my 29/30 years of skating! It is super
fun and has a nice amount of vert. It just sucks that
you have to pay 15 bucks if your a normal joe for 2
hours when you go ride a real pool for free.
Grindline and Dreamland are building some of the best
stuff ever with lines that flow from place to place
and they are both getting better with each park and
experience. Ballard is the funnest place because it
is really backyard pool like and Ahsford and Talent
are super fun. I have not been up there for awhile and
craving to ride Lincoln City and Bainbridge and all
the other rad stuff like Port Orford and Aumsville.
But the fact is all of these are design / builds and
free to the public! You can't beat that in a heartbeat.
Plus Monk and Red are by far some of the raddest Hellbent
skaters in the world today. Plus Burnside just set the
tone for the DIY ethic of skaters prides and joys. Hats
off to em'. They rule. Check out Monk's latest in Trinidad,
Colorado and Red built a sicky in Austria if you're
ever in Europe.
Team Pain has built most of Colorado's parks which are
really nice and flowing such as Silverthorne, Salida,
Crested Butte, Breckenridge, and a masterpiece in Aspen.
If you are ever that way scope them for sure. Plus,
they make all kinds of other parks like Nashua in New
Hampshire, Ashville in North Carolina, and many others.
Based in Arizona SDG has made alot of kill parks too!
Chandler, Gilbert, Paradise Valley, Taos and Albuquerque
in New Mexico, and an upcoming one close to my house
in Chino, California. They have good designs and nice
finish work. Plus skaters run the show for them like
Out of Upland, California comes California Skateparks
(the brainchild of legendary skatepark maker Wally Holiday
and Joe Ciaglia). Wally built a shitload of the 70's
parks so he knows his stuff! They have made a whole
slew of stuff for Purkiss-Rose in California and S.D.G.
from Az. In the build phase currently is Monrovia, Westminster,
Whittier, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, adn Borrego Springs.
Also, they have been doing a lot of design/builds like
Fontana, The Mission Valley YMCA pool, Charles, Maryland,
the new Laguna park, and they built the Upland park
(the first park in Cali in 25 years to build a fullpipe-which
I had a hand in designing). Wally's finish work is the
best in the business in my opinion.
The big difference betwen the old and new parks are
the technolgy available and the fact now that stuff
is mainly designed on computers before the work starts
in the field.
There are alot of good free parks now with lights like
in California, Arizona, New Mexico , Colorado and my
personal favorite at the moment in Louisville, Kentucky!
That place just rips with good trannies, smooth surface
work, good 3 inch coping and a rad fullpipe though I
have to say that Upland's fullpipe is far superior to
Also high on my list is F.D.R. in Philly which is raw
and super fun though I have not skated the latest phase
Denver Colorado's Dreampark also rules heavily and also
has lights and is open until 10 or 11 p.m. in the summer.
Aspen is killer too but it's hard to breath up there.
I really wanna go back to Oregon and skate all the stuff
I have not skated up there and Arizona is loaded with
good parks and lots of pools.
Vegas has decent parks but lots of pools if you are willing
to go look and hook up with the right people. Look up
Manimal or Kirk if you are out there! So there you go.
My run down on past and current parks that are my world