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images from Backyard Pool Session 1 in San Fernando Valley , California
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Backyard Pool Sessions with Grant Taylor, Raven Tershy, and Trey Wood

Feb 032021

Monster skateboarders Grant Taylor, Raven Tershy, and Trey Wood love nothing more than a drained pool, and they got to explore some extra-dry backyard beauties in the Valley recently. Local pool aficionado Allen "Ozzie" Ausband sourced the spots and prepped them for the sesh—he's been doing this kind of scouting for decades and has become the go-to guy for any skaters in the know. Filmers Russell Houghten and Josh Henderson relied on Ozzie's expertise for this shoot, and the result is a spectacular reminder of why pools are better off drained. 

Read Ozzie's words below for a quick history lesson on pool skating and why the purity of the session still endures after all these decades.

 

Mulholland Drive forms a spine across Los Angeles. Houses perch on ridges and palm trees scrape a sky that's forever blue. The wealthy idle behind wrought iron gates and security. If one looks to one side, the downtown Los Angeles city skyline shimmers in the distance. A glass-and-chrome dream machine. Looking the other way, the San Fernando Valley spills out into the distance. It's a flat hothouse of concrete neighborhoods, farms, and fields. In the summer, the temperature of the San Fernando Valley can top out at 105 degrees and stay that way for a month. 

 

Swimming pools are everywhere and the early pioneers in skateboarding didn't have to go very far to find a swimming pool to skateboard in. During the drought of the mid-seventies, pool owners often left the pools empty and these skaters prowled the alleyways looking for these big round plaster pools to push themselves in this new vertical arena. The story has been told. The Z Boys. The Dogtown skaters had a few pools in Santa Monica, Brentwood and Beverly Hills. These were on huge estates in the high-end neighborhoods. Tony Alva said, "The exclusive neighborhoods had huge lots built in the forties and fifties. A huge lot will always equal a huge pool. It just seems to be that way." When the Dogtown guys really wanted to session pools, they called up their friends in the Valley. The Valley skaters had far more pools than the Dogtown guys ever had. 

The deeper one drives into the Valley, the hotter and oftentimes poorer the area becomes. Pool skaters drive through these old fifties neighborhoods looking for pools. There were agricultural areas with avocado and citrus groves, horse stables, and working farms; many of these areas are now parceled off and split up. Poverty is everywhere as well. Many people can't afford to keep the pool up and running or to repair a pool built in the fifties. But these are the ones skaters hunt for. Big, round, open kidney-shaped pools. Long sloping side walls. Blue tiles glimmering... a screen of palm trees around its edges. 

 

Grant Taylor, Raven Tershy and Trey Wood are a mixed bag of new blood. They infuse skateboarding with a vital element of speed, power and beautiful brutality every time they ride. They respect tradition but won't be bound by it. They understand those that came before them and put the past and present together. This day. This place. These pools. The San Fernando Valley offered up some fifties gems and as they cruised through the morning, they knew that they'd gone back to the purity of pool skating. Just them, some friends, and fun.

 

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