Ozzie Ausband

Fresno adventure

My friends are funny…  as they should be. Life is far too short to walk around being serious. Let the rest of the world numb themselves & live in a bubble… I’d rather laugh and have fun. On Christmas eve, Shawn & his family were playing a Christmas gift-giving game. When he saw one of the presents, he knew that he must obtain it. It was a small white fingerless glove stitched up exactly like a pair of tighty-whities mens underwear. He managed to obtain one of the highly coveted ‘Handypants’. Even though it was early the next morning when everyone arrived at Ridiculous for our drive up to Fresno…  we couldn’t contain our laughter. Being perpetually 12 years old, I immediately slipped the ‘Handypants’ onto my left hand and started singing Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it” with appropriate hand gestures! Needless to say, we were amused. We quickly were on the road knifing our way towards Fresno. The air was cold and the ‘Handypants’ came in … well, downright handy. We were going skating. Pools! A few of our companions were to go along but in the end had to bow out at the last minute. It ended up being: Ripperside Shawn, Brandon Wong and myself. We were meeting up with Josh Peacock in Fresno.

We saw the sun rising up behind us on the Pear Blossom highway. We pulled off on a dusty road. Joshua Trees were stark and black against the morning sun. We pissed out our coffee and scurried back into the warm truck, continuing our journey. It took us several hours as the day grew brighter. We stopped and stretched our legs.  It was nice.

Arriving in Fresno, we all were making observations about how the area really resembled San Bernardino and Riverside. Fields, agriculture, rundown farms, homes, dust and despair were everywhere. The foreclosures and boarded up homes seemed to be on every street up here.

I saw a man huddled on a filthy sidewalk. Cars burned past on the street. All life moved & pulsed by in a frenzy of motion just a few feet away. He was just another dismal smudge on the city landscape. He must have played the wrong card. It seemed as though the closer we got to the state capitol of Sacramento, the worse the economy became. Maybe Schwarzenegger should’ve been paying more attention to the state of the economy in California and less time diddling around in his house maids panties…  things might be a bit better. Oh well, a scumbag is a scumbag, no matter what sort of title and expensive suit you wrap him up in. Just look at Bill Clinton… Regardless, things looked pretty familiar. Josh Peacock introduced us to his pals- Adrina and Ryan. We quickly grabbed caffeine and were headed to our first pool within thirty minutes of entering the city of Fresno.

Josh Peacock is a really funny guy. He makes skateboarding videos. They are amazing. Bowls, brothers, beers and scantily-clad women are everywhere throughout them. Mixed within is an unending array of some of the greatest pool riders completely destroying. Josh Peacock has a large number of backyard pools at his disposal and we were happy to be there.

We hit a quick ten minute pool that was super fast & smooth, then worked our way out to this broken down old ranch home across town. Piles of trash and furniture were scattered throughout the front as we pulled past and into the back yard. A huge old green right-hand kidney greeted our eyes. The surface was like sandpaper but the pool was steep and fast. We all had fun with her. RJ quickly proved what a ripper he really is! 50-50s and big ollies were what he served up. Shawn, Brandon and I pulled grinds and Peacock and Adrina flowed through the pool content to be cruising in the sun with some friends.

Brandon had imbibed in libations the night before so he was feeling less than motivated. Once we got going though, he soon turned on the juice & put some trucks on the coping. We hit a small whipper-snapper capsule. Blue Line. It was janky on the facewall. You had to go wide. I carved around and then found a dead bird. It’s eyes were black and dull… I wondered what it would be like to see all that it had seen. “If you could only see what I’ve seen…” Soaring. Above all life. I put the dead bird back under a bush and turned to watch as RJ ollied the stairs and everyone else put in some grind time. We were out of there in 20 minutes.

Josh decided to take us by Ray’s pool and then we were going to Hogan’s. Both are permissions and both are mainstays in the Fresno scene. We soon found out why. Ray’s is a Blue Haven right hand kidney that has been ridden by virtually everyone. It was fast and fun. Once there, Ripperside Shawn turned on the power. He pulled super rad BS stalls on the hip over the side ladder stairs while Josh blasted the  shallow end stairs with speed and style. I struggled with the deathbox & RJ simply did whatever he wanted. Adrina carved around and Brandon threw up a few grinds to end the session. It was really fun.

We left for Hogan’s with about an hour of sunlight left. Hogan’s is a huge Blue Haven amoeba pool. It has an epic surface, bullnose coping, a perfect mid pocket and a big loveseat on the right deep end wall. This pool is really fast & you can develop so much speed in it. RJ and Josh quickly showed us the runaway train line and I was amazed at how well they rode that pool. I started trying the loveseat but was undone. I couldn’t quite get the speed line to go all the way over. It was okay though, because my pool pal Shawn stepped up & flew over it after just a few tries. The stoke on his face was unmistakable. It was rad! Brandon grinded, RJ pulled beautiful mid pocket grinds and the sun quickly began to wane. We were out of time.

Tired and super stoked on the day, we said our goodbyes and headed to get some dinner before the long drive home. Fresno was good to us. We have great pool pals. No matter where we go, we can always find a good pool to ride. I have extended that invitation in the past and have found it to be reciprocated. I have met the greatest people in my life through skateboarding. We all share the same secret. Let’s keep it that way.– Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Thanks to Josh Peacock, Ryan Johnson, Adrina Parker, Brandon & Ripperside Shawn and the makers of ‘Handypants’. It was an awesome mission. Skate- Ozzie