Photo: Adam Dorobiala
by Adam Dorobiala
Do you remember watching Gleaming the Cube and being so psyched when the crew skates through the airfield and hops in the airplane at the beginning of the movie to scope out local backyard pools to skate? Hopefully, you do. Backyard pools aren’t as common as the backyard mini ramps that run rampant through the downtown area, but they used to be as easy to find as the sun in the sky. Anyway, when I got a call from a friend telling me that there was a backyard pool just waiting to be cleaned out and skated, I jumped on it. Donovan McArthur just so happened to have a beautifully shaded pool in his backyard that had been an insect breeding ground for too long, and after a quick phone call, he invited me to come clean it out and skate it. I knew that it would definitely be a tough job for one person, so another call was made to longtime friend Spock, and with his Vulcan skills in pool skating we set a date to clean it out and prepare it for a jam session.
We were armed with some buckets, a water pump, some hoses, two brooms, two shovels and the will to make the pool skateable. The cleaning session went by pretty quickly for such a cesspool of filth. Spock enlisted friend Brian Northcutt to assist and Willy Nevins came to help as well. It was a pretty basic cleaning session: pump some water out, check the line to make sure it’s is still pumping, shovel swamp juice into buckets, dump the buckets and repeat until somewhat clean. Cleaning a pool is a lot like washing your hair––obviously the next step is rinsing and repeating followed by a quick rub down with a towel. After it was all clean and dry, we had a mini session to charge it with some positive vibes before the official date of shredding with all the super shredders. I’ll let Donovan take over from here and explain his side of things and why/how it all went down in the first place.
by Donovan McArthur
This is a story about a pool. A story about people coming together to appreciate something that was about to die––but I’ll get to that in a minute.
The story actually started while filming a movie for the 48 Hour Film Project. A friend of mine named Greg Collete was over at my house for a wrap party and brought up the idea of getting local skaters over to my house to skate the pool. He said he knew just the right guys. I would be happy just to get rid of the mosquito-spawning ground in my backyard. Meeting new people and watching some of the sickest local shredders didn’t sound so bad either. I knew that we had to act fast if we were really going to squeeze the last precious drops of life out of the pool. When I moved into the house with my two roommates, the property owners severely cautioned us not to get too attached to the pool, as it was slated for demolition later this summer. Once we understood how little time we actually had to give this old pool a proper send-off, the wheels really got into motion.
I was more than a little sketchy on whether or not the pool would even be safe. It’s 36 feet long and approximately 15 feet wide, although it skates like it’s tighter than that. There are two coffee cups on either end. The deep end coffee cup is 12 feet tall and goes a little over vert once you make it past the light, which is preceded by over five feet of vert surface near the top. On either side of the deep-end coffee cup, there are wicked four-foot transitions to the long sides of the pool cut in at sharp angles. The shallow end offers a sloped ramp entry into the bowl. The pool is fast, really fast, with super tight turns in the bowl. It was a daunting challenge to any and all who skated it. In fact, almost everyone who skated it described it as the gnarliest pool they’ve ever skated.
On the day that we actually had set up for the main party, we had a big group of locals come out and shred. Among them were Shannon Yates, Kendall Johnson, Mike Murdock, Mark Judd, Mike Martin, Dick Weed, Levi Faust, and Dan Jones, along with myself and a whole bunch of people that I never got names from. Every single person there did something sick. Mike Martin dropped in on each side of the pool, and described it as semi-controlled free falling. Shortly afterward, he pulled off a huge frontside air over the coping, which most people thought was one of the more incredible tricks of the day. Not to be outshined, Dan Jones stepped it up and backside ollied the huge four-foot tranny to the side wall, which I didn’t think was actually possible. Spock consistently rode the coping, grabbing the nose of the board and landing with ease. Dick Weed put on a clinic on how to best shred the bowl, staying down there longer than anyone else, carving and turning like an absolute pro, and was able to even catch air in the side to side portion. Levi Faust tore the pool up, going more than three feet over the coping to land the gnarliest frontside air we’d seen in the pool. The most amazing thing about that was he’d just learned to frontside air three days before. Everyone was stoked—my roommates and I were excited just to see the pool finally put to good use.
Which brings me back to the death of the pool. As a rental property, pools generally just add to the potential liability that the property managers could be looking at if there was an accident. It was for this reason and more that the property owners wanted it destroyed. All I wanted was to share the potential that this pool had to offer. Potential to be more than just an insect breeding ground, or an accident lawsuit––potential to (for at least one day) be more than a pool, more like a symbol for sucking the marrow out of life, a symbol for using every resource you have to challenge yourself and push onward to new heights. For one day, it wasn’t just an inglorious pool.