05 October 2012

Au Naturel

Photo by Chris Enlow

The holy grail of skateboarding as far as I'm concerned is the 'natural' transition such as embankments, pipes, ditches and of course empty swimming pools. By natural, I mean the intended use did not include skateboarding, i.e. not a skatepark. Don't get me wrong I'm thankful for skateparks  and in this day there are so many good ones to keep us more than occupied. However,they make me feel a tad dirty a times. Limiting my skateboarding to sanctioned, safe, sanitary and worst of all designated skateparks, just feels incomplete. Skateboarding is at its best when it is reinterpreting the (un)natural landscape. Everything else is mere training.

Of course, there are a lot of natural obstacles to skate that do not include natural transtions such as hills, handrails, curbs, ledges and so on. All worthy of four-wheeled assault but there is special alure to the concrete curve. Perhaps, it is the surfer in me but I often think, manipulating man-made concrete curves that are not intended for wooden plank play is almost more profound an expereince than surfing. Sometimes, I think waves, nature's perfect cylndrical tunnels of energy are ruined by the humans who attempt to ride them. But an empty pool, on the property of a burned down hotel or foreclosed home? That can never be ruined by skateboarding. By shredding the shit out of it, skateboarders are creating something positive out of a negative scenario. Simple.

Anyway, I've never lived anywere like, Fresno CA, where there are an abundance of empty pools. Swansea and Portland simply don't have that  type of scene, so my pool experience is limited to less than a handful of backyard beauties but each one was a prize.

I recently hit the road with a few friends in search of curves both natural and unnatural, aquatic and concrete, and we made an effort to find the legendary Buena Vista pool in Santa Cruz in order to increase our pool count. Ultimately, it was a quick session between surfing and tacos but it reminded me that playing is fucking important, turning this concrete world into a playground is also important because as a species we've lost so much by living in this urban arrangement and even more by this mediated existence. Going over the light in an empty pool on my skateboard, in the abandoned grounds of a burned down hotel was just a little reconnection to the wild. Beauty among the filth.

For more pools (including the Buena Vista Pool) check Blue Tile Obession. Aussie skates more pools than I ever will. Also check out the 'Fruit of the Vine' Film, below...
FRUIT OF THE VINE "Trailer" from Six Stair on Vimeo.