Ozzie Ausband

Jim Howell - Guest Post

Ozzie and I talk to one another on the phone about once or twice a week. Lately he’s been asking me to write a guest post about a photo his dad took of me at his ramp. I don’t feel I’m worthy of any type of coverage or concern, but Ozzie is my best friend and brother and I’m super stoked he’s giving me the opportunity to write this. Anyway, I’m not exactly sure about this particular day. It was a day like so many days Ozzie and I had riding his ramp. His dad was a photo enthusiast and loved taking photo’s as a hobby. I guess he was bored with the other subjects he shot and decided to take some photo’s of us. I’m happy though, because it’s one of my favorite skate photo’s ever taken of me. I’m all decked out in Powell-Peralta and Tracker Trucks gear! I know… me in Tracker Trucks! Ugh, I’m now, and have been for many years, a die hard Indy guy. It’s funny to see me riding Trackers, but they where the big truck company back then.

Ozzie and I would ride his ramp several times a week for many hours at a time. During the summer, it would be nothing for us to ride his ramp for 6-8 hours a day with very little breaks to take a piss or get a drink! The ramp was nothing by today’s standards, but to us it was paradise! The ramp was sketchy to say the least. It was 2 layers of 12” plywood nailed together. One side had a platform and the other side ran up a cinder block wall. We used this side to get speed to do tricks on the low side or trick side, as we called it. It was 8’ wide with 8’ of flat bottom, and was 6’ high on the “trick side” that went right to vert. This was the side we would constantly change the coping and add obstacles on. One time we would use a wooden broomstick for coping, other times it was those small cinder blocks we would put on top to resemble “pool coping.” We added those self-stick floor tiles underneath the blocks and we pretended it was a pool wall, the kind we would see and studied in the various skate magazines. We even kept a small gap under one of the blocks and made a “death box.” We had so much fun grinding over that thing and it was only about 4” in length and 2” high, but it provided, for us two outcasts, so much fun!

One time we added an extension to the ramp and just nailed a 2’ wide x 4’ long piece of  plywood to the top of the ramp. This thing was so sketchy! The top of the extension had no support, so when you rode up it, it would bend like crazy. It didn’t have a platform on it so we would hang rock-n-rolls over the edge and pretend we where Alan Gelfand, like the picture he had in “Skateboarder.” You have to remember the ramp was only 8’ wide, so when we added the extension we only had another 6’ of ramp. Also, the ramp was behind an auto garage. There were all these old car parts and engine blocks scattered around one side of the ramp, while the other side was a barbed wire fence where a huge dog was kept.

We only had maybe 4’ of empty space on either side, so it was super gnarly if you rode off the side of the ramp! One time Ozzie was doing a backside air and carved too much and flew into all these car parts and stuff and ended up hitting his tailbone on an engine block. He couldn’t walk too well for a few days after that. There are so many stories I have about that place. Too many. It would take years to tell them all. Ozzie’s ramp was a home away from home for me and I’ve had some of the funnest times there. It’s a huge part of me and Ozzie’s skate history. Other kids came and went, but it was most always just Ozzie and I. No one else matched our intensity or addiction to skateboarding, so other cats would just fade away and not come back! To any skater today, you wouldn’t pay Ozzie’s ramp a second thought… to me it was heaven on earth! Thanks for all the fun and special times Ozzie! I’ll take these memories to my grave with me… and I’ll go there with a smile!

Peace, JImbo
Thanks to David Ausband for the images