Ray Zimmerman taking one for the team.
Why? Why do we seek out filthy, neglected backyard swimming pools? What compulsion drives us in a relentless search for others? We clean out rotting fruit, garbage, landscape debris, moldering grass clippings, endless beer bottles and cans, dog feces, urine and virtually any other putrefying thing you care to imagine. The stench is horrifying.
Al Brunelle and I
Al Brunelle, Rick Stine, me and Brad Bowman.
Dead animals, paint, oil drums, car transmissions, dead dogs, household appliances and – the myth that still lingers – a dumped homicide victim, have all been seen at one time or another. Pool skaters regularly unearth completely filled in pools. Jeremiah Risk and Rodney Rodrigues put it all on the line. Nude Bowl, Buena Vista, Pala… Action. Not words. They dug out the Nude Bowl and Rodney was responsible – I believe – for the others being rideable again. Devout. Pool skating is a minor religion.
Pool skating is difficult. I think it may be the most difficult discipline in skateboarding. You have to locate a pool. Drain and clean it. Figure it out. Every pool is a puzzle. Every single wall is different. Pools are humbling. I’ve seen some of the best pool skaters in the world, like - Tony Farmer, Ben Raybourn, Kevin Kowalski, Matt Dyke, Cody Lockwood, Mason Merlino, Brad McClain, Skreech, Mark Partain, Steve Alba, Robbie Russo, Shaggy Palmer, Chris Livingston, Sean Mazza, Al Brunelle, Grant Taylor… and every single one of these skaters have been humbled by pools.
Stripped away. Pride and ego. Pools are the great equalizer. So, why do we do this thing that we do? I think that it is a combination of things. It is the challenge of riding something that was never intended for skating, it is the lawlessness and excitement, it is the purity and it is the fun. The satisfaction that comes with going over obstacles in pools cannot easily be put into words. It is not a perfect wall, pristine surface, skatepark stunt. You have to figure out how to get the speed and the angle to pick a line that puts you over… a puzzle to work out. Then, you have to stay on. The simplest thing, becomes everything.
Stripped away. We strip away the filth to reveal the surface. Then we strip away our fear and ego… and that is where the fun is found. Thank you to Brad Bowman, Rick Stine, Al Brunelle and Corey Phillips for the hard work in the heat and a huge thank you to MRZ for suffering through the afternoon to capture what is hard to put into words. Skate - Ozzie