Ozzie Ausband

The Rise and Fall of the Roman

Like phantoms into the ages lost has the Cimbrian nation passed;

destiny shifts like summer clouds on Grecian hilltops massed.

Untold centuries glide away, Marius long is dust;

even eternal Rome has passed in days of decay and rust.

But memories live in the ghosts of dreams and they still come to me,

and I still see the gleam of her golden hair and eyes like the deep gray sea.

  • Robert E. Howard

The Roman

The Roman. It came into our lives and burned bright as the sun while it remained. Like all great things, it wouldn’t last. The story of its discovery is lost in the mists of time. Rumor has it as being found by Riverside Ed. Who knows? Who can tell? My initial query was met with silence….  and so it goes. Subsequently, I heard Riverside Ed, Mike Lopez, Ripperside Kevin, Brandon & KB all drained and cleaned it for the first time. It was- “…. filled with solid sludge. Someone had changed their oil and dumped it into the pool. There were metal rods, trash and a bowling ball in there. We recovered a family of frogs from the pool and relocated them as well.”

Riverside Ed and Mike Lopez- day one
KB - first ollie transfer

That is all I have learned and I am left to tell you this tale. I heard faint rumblings last summer when I was recovering from my fractured collarbone. “The Roman-end is insane!” “The lines are incredible and the transitions are perfect.” Salba told me that he could ride it like a half pipe and that the trannies were super-fun though the pools surface was a bit slippery. “It needs an acid bath or something…” Salba added.

Within a few weeks, I found myself pulling up beside the house. I was with Riverside Ed, Salba, Lance Mountain & Brian Fick. It was August and the sun was a scorcher! The pool sat on an old sprawling property in the middle of nowhere. A huge palm tree shaded the shallow end and a horse barn lay at the other end of the yard. Everything was in a state of neglect and disrepair. It was quiet. Heat simmered off the pools blue painted surface. I walked into the pool and looked it over. The paint was so slick that I slid on the pools waterfall just walking down into the deep end. Salba brought out some orange soda and Lance and I began to spread & mop it around on the surface. It dried quickly and we could feel the surface becoming grippier immediately. Sweat was running into my eyes so Lance cut off some T-shirt sleeves and made us what he and Blender called- “Sleevies” for our heads. It worked and I still have mine.

The pool was strange. It had meatloaf coping on the facewall Roman cup but had 4-finger gnar Anthony coping on the rest of the pool. It looked like a damn ledge up there! I peered over at the deathbox and wondered how I was going to get over it. Salba saw me looking and smiled. He had done it both ways on a previous visit and I could see that the deathbox was heavily hammered already. I mumbled- “Well….  if that’s the way it gotta go…” Walking out of the pool, I saw that the Roman deep end cup was higher than the side walls. It gave the pool a step-down edge for transfers. “That could be interesting.”- I thought.  Salba pushed in and drew the high line. When I say that he ruled the Roman, you better take my word for it.

He slipped into the speed and pulled tailtaps, BS airs from high to low and did the box both ways in one line. Lance immediately launched FS air transfers from deep end cup to side wall, did the deathbox  and pulled super floaty BS ollie transfers onto the side wall. It was an amazing session. Riverside Ed hit the facewall hard– flowing everywhere– and I finally made the deathbox and ended it all with a BS air over the same. That 4-finger Anthony coping can sure bonk you around!

The pool became slippery again so Riverside Ed and I came back the next Saturday and painted it with supplies donated by Ripperside Shawn. The paint helped so much and the subsequent sessions were amazing. We rode it as often as possible through the hot summer months. Dust and heat. Sweat. Gallons of water.

Riverside Ed- the shadow tells the story
Salba - FS deathbox on a 4-finger jut

The property fell into the hands of a new owner. It was cleaned up a bit, fenced off and large angry dogs occupy the backyard. The pool sits empty and the horse stable and barn are filled with flies and moldy straw. A small rundown bath house sits next to the pool. The paint is blistered and the plumbing virtually gone. A door sags on its hinges and creaks in the breeze. It reminds me of the fleeting nature of all things. The pool, the house, friends, families, countries, empires…. life.

end of the line?
that horse doesn’t look too happy with a cowboy behind it…
“When in Rome….”

Thank you to Riverside Ed for finding the Roman. Thank you to the crew for draining it. Thank you to Ripperside Shawn for the paint. Thank you to MRZ, Brandon Wong and Brian Fick for the images. Skate- Ozzie