28 Aug 2015

Minimal Mischief

The Pool's Gold Photo Journal

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Words and photos by Rob Dolecki

When Van Homan mentions a week-long, laid-back trip to California consisting of hopping fences and surfing some concrete waves with two other legends like Jason Enns and Garrett Byrnes, how can you not somehow figure out a way to go along?

I did just that.

A few months ago I strolled out of the baggage claim of LAX, my checked bags successfully making the journey, and was greeted by a warm spring breeze, the white S&M Sprinter, and an air of excitement for the unknown — a feeling that’s all too familiar for the well-seasoned passengers inside, who haven't been all together on a trip in over a decade.

One week later, I was back on a plane; looking back, this trip was all I could have hoped for, and a lot more. No, this wasn't the secret kickoff of filming for Criminal Mischief 2; it was more along the lines of Minimal Mischief with some old friends, with a little trespassing involved, of course.

Van, the man who was responsible for organizing everything, summed up pretty well how and why this adventure came together: “It’s pretty simple. Over the years you create tight bonds with people and you make friendships. Sometimes you don’t get to hang out with some people because life and/or sponsors kind of dictate who is on a given trip, and how often you get to hang out with them. Jason Enns and I haven’t gotten to see each other much in recent years. A few months prior, I came out here and stayed with Jason for a day and rode some pools. We had a good time, and I was talking with Garrett Byrnes and we figured out a trip. We were doing the trip with or without anyone helping make it happen. The media stuff was an afterthought. Companies jumped on board and were down to support it. I’m real psyched and proud that I have sponsors where we can do something this soulful and they’ll get behind it. None of us share any sponsors. It didn’t feel like it’s for clips. That’s what this trip is about — good vibes and high fives.”

Jason and Van also gave some commentary for all the photos; priceless.

Van: We started the trip off here. You hike up this hill and you're pretty winded when you make it to the top. It's a surreal setting in a secluded area, and really set the tone for the trip. That whole environment of being somewhere where no one else wants to be, like many of the other spots we went to. Garrett: That was our first session; from there I knew it was going to be a great trip. Everybody was just having fun, a great sunset, just relaxing with your friends.

"This was our first session; from here I knew it was going to be a great trip."

- Garrett Byrnes


Jason: This was a pool I had been by before, but someone was living in the house and it was sort of off-limits. Then I saw a photo of some dudes riding it, and it was on. It’s different; it’s more of a bank to Jersey barrier. You have more options than you normally would. It was fun. If I owned a house and I commissioned a pool, and they built me that, I’d be like, “What the fuck is this thing?”

Van: This is not something you see on every trip. Jason: Synonymous with an old-man trip; that’s definitely an over-30 trip. Garrett: My freak grips, and Tech- 77’s. Always a good sign of a road trip- stacked bikes ready to go.

Jason: We had a couple of crazy California moments at this pool. We were in the middle of nowhere. Van: This guy in an S&M shirt and his kid walks up and introduces himself as Bo. We’re like, “Bo, as in Bo’s trails?” Those trails were in all these old Props videos. He was psyched we knew him. I feel like you’d have to be over 30 to have any idea what Bo’s Trails are. Garrett: This pool was definitely different, but as soon as you got a feel for it and made it work, it was fun. Good thing Enns had his pick-axe to get his little souvenir.

Jason: This was a good day. Van: That’s probably why Jason got sick after the trip, breathing in all that shit flying around this pipe. Garrett: These pipes were so cool. This was my first time riding a pipe carving back and forth in total darkness. We literally rode like a mile into them with no lights. You could hear the rats running. It was so fun.

Van: We had a lot of foodies on the trip. There was a group effort with Garrett, Dolecki and Stew, and they’d make these amazing gourmet meals at Jason's house every night; I was practically vegan by default that week. Which didn’t bother me, because the food was amazing, but towards the end Enns and I had to sneak away to Babe’s for some beers and real pizza. We were the lamest crew; we were in bed by like 9PM. Garrett: This is my most favorite thing. I like to eat more than anything else, and I like to cook. It was really cool to be on a trip where we cooked meals every night together, and hang out and talk.


Van: It was rad Moeller let us use the S&M van. I’ve been on a lot of trips in it over the years, and it’s seen a lot of different crews, and a lot of different interior configurations. There were thrift store couches ratchet-strapped to the floor, medical marijuana stickers all over the side door that Moeller had to scrape off. At this point, there was only one door that worked, the passenger side. When we cleaned out the van at the beginning of the trip, there were a lot of XL shirts from Shitty and Hoder. Jason: Those shirts all got used to mop up the pools. Garrett: The van, RIP. I heard it died on the next trip.


Jason: This pool been on many people's hit list for a while. I like the idea of people going to the pools after, and looking at Garrett’s tire marks, and be like, “What the hell happened here?” Van: You don’t really know what’s going on here, but it looks rad. Garrett was just ripping every pool. This is just one of those clips that can't give it any justice. Garrett: This was one of the unique pools, different in the fact that it wasn’t flow-y where you could keep riding nonstop. But it had a lot of different walls and made you really think on how to come up with a creative line; I really liked it.

Van: There were a couple of good mountain hikes. This thing was steep. A few climbs we did I got nervous at some point- I tried not to look back, where if I fell backwards, I would have been full-blown tumbling like a ski crash. Jason: there was a thirty or forty foot-drop at that point. You could walk right up the driveway, but the locals said don’t use the driveway because that’s what neighbors trip out on. It’s been there for almost ten years, and you don’t want to be the one that breaks the camel’s back. Garrett: This hill was almost the end of me. A few times I stood straight up and almost fell down backwards with my bike. I knew I couldn’t because Rob (Dolecki) was behind me, and it made me feel like a pussy because he had and extra forty pounds of camera gear on his back.

Van: The pool was kind of mediocre, but this place is amazing. The location is unreal; it’s elevated above the town. Jason: The guy who built this house also started the whole city. He watched it develop from his house, and now it has the best view of Walmart in the world. Garrett: This is what I had in mind when I took off work. Hands behind my head, relaxing, taking it in.

"That’s what this trip is about — good vibes and high fives.”
-Van Homan

Van: This was a good one. It was a typical square pool, but with a lot of options. It ended up being a really good session. Jason: This was one of those bad-luck situations the first time we went. It's a pool on an empty lot; there’s no reason to get kicked out. We just happened to be there in the middle of the day when a guy who lived across the street happened to come home to meet the H/C guy, and gave us the boot. It’s one of those situations where you feel like you could stay and not much is going to happen, but yet again, if that starts happening it will only get worse. Garrett: This is a great pool. It was really fun being able to ride this after getting kicked out. It’s different every day; you never know.


Jason: This is part of the deal. That is the entranceway; it might as well have an entrance sign on it. Garrett: This is it, breaking and entering. The best stuff in life isn’t really meant to be ridden, and this is the way you have do it. Whether your parents tell you it’s right or wrong, this is the way it goes.

"The best stuff in life isn’t really meant to be ridden, and this is the way you have do it. Whether your parents tell you it’s right or wrong, this is the way it goes."

- Jason Enns

Jason: The gap Garrett did at this pool is never going to translate. I don’t want to say I didn’t think it was possible, or Garrett couldn’t do it, but me and Van both walked away. I stood at an angle where I was low enough where I could see him go in, but if anything went wrong I wouldn’t see it firsthand. You don’t see much of Garrett anymore. But his skill level is equal if not more than when I saw him last; he hasn’t even skipped a beat. Garrett: I think cleaning the pool is as fun as riding it, because when you’re cleaning it, you’re thinking about actually how to ride it, and check out the transitions more. Because when you just roll up to a clean one, you’re just like, "Oh, shit, here we go."

Van: Garrett was on fire. The motivation was coming from a really pure place. There was no reason for him other than just enjoying it. Whatever he was doing on the trip was purely for him. Garrett: My favorite thing to do in a pool is just carve around in circles, especially in kidneys ot any kind of round one that is pretty tight. Your bike whips around and your head stays in the same spot. You get a really cool feeling, it’s like you’re in a merry-go-round or something.


Van: It was really cool that Rooftop rode with us a few of the days when he was in town. Carving the pipe with Rooftop reminded me of the old videos of Rooftop and California ditches I watched when I was a kid. Garrett: Rooftop was only with us a few days, and he killed it as always. So much natural talent. He got fucking worked at this pool. It was good to see him walk away from that, though.

Jason: This was about two and a half hours worth of work, and it was worth every second to see Garrett do his thing. Van: This one was really deep, and really tight; a double black-diamond. Enns and I carved the light, that was about it. Garrett was just ripping it. Garrett: This pool we put some work into. It was definitely worth it. It was one of the bigger ones. This was actually jack-hammered out so it’s something that a skater would never think of skating, but we can ride as much as we want.

Van: This pool claimed some victims- Keith Mulligan’s arm and poison ivy, and Rooftop’s knee. (Garrett was fine) Jason: This one was pretty new; a lot of people hadn’t been there yet. I got a tip on it from a skater friend and it panned out. It was really cool, the location of it. It was a really unique shape, and you were up there. It was one of those situations where you feel it was sketchy, but by the end of it, you’re like, “Turn some music on.” We were up there for hours. Garrett: Sometimes you go down and get hurt, and other times you go down and laugh. This was one of those times where it’s actually more fun than not.

Van: Sometimes you got to put in a little work for the fun. Sometimes you gotta bring the right tools. Sometimes you’re lucky and doesn’t take much or anything to get a pool going, and sometimes you're bailing water and sludge for five hours. Garrett: I’m a mule. We’re carrying buckets, brooms. Even though Jason is perfect with taking us to most pools that were already perfectly clean.

Van: This was one of the days I couldn’t ride. I had been to this one once already and I had other ideas for things I wanted to do. I was bummed we got kicked out right after we showed up, but I was also kind of happy because it would have drove me insane because I couldn’t ride. Jason: It’s just a weird one because I’d never heard of anyone getting kicked out of this pool before, or since then. One of those random days. Garrett: I like shooting photos as much as I like riding sometimes. It’s nice to have the memories locked away. I still try to shoot as much film as possible, and make prints, so my son can see them and see what my passions are in life.


Jason: We rolled up here and some skaters had just finished bucketing out the water. They definitely got first rights. This one was as close to a vert ramp deep-end as you can get. Anytime you can get multiple feet out of a pool, it feels pretty damn good to do actual tricks. The table is usually as gnarly as you get. It’s a novelty. Van: It was just funny to see a skater go up and do a stall, and then a tile (pictured) breaks off and rolls into the pool. It’s not just us, they do it too. This pool was so smooth and forgiving. There was talk of Mat Hoffman coming on the trip, and that would have been the one. It’s not unrealistic to 540 that. Garrett: This is pretty much the best pool ever. Hopefully I can go back one day and hit it again.

"This is pretty much the best pool ever."

- Garrett Byrnes

Jason: I originally found this pool when the house was still there. I found it and the flat bottom had been jack-hammered. Rooftop, a skater and I went and rode it, and we went back the next day it was burned down, it was still smoldering.

Van: We pulled off the highway in Hesperia. Two girls were having a picnic in the parking lot. Of course they didn’t say anything. We must have been dressed nice that day. We came back out and there was a note on the van left by those girls. Stew pointed out, that’s how you know it’s an old man trip- no one was trying to get with them. Garrett: It kind of makes you skeptical when people leave notes on big vans with no windows.


Van: This was the last day; everyone was kind of tired I almost didn’t even ride this pool. It looked really steep and tight; it ended up being almost perfect and set you up right for the stairs. It felt better to me than the one we had ridden up the hill previously.

Jason: After you guys rode that pool, I felt like I underestimated it. This was the last day; we rode every single day. For me, riding that many days in a row was pretty exhausting. I was so fucked by then. I ended up getting super sick after the trip. Van: There’s so many good ones out there, we’d start taking them for granted. You'd skip ones that would be a piece of gold if it was in New Jersey. Garrett: This is probably my favorite way to relax, casket-style. Especially on a trip after riding six or seven days non-stop. You couldn’t get the smile off my face; it’s as good as it gets.

Van: The funnest part is you don’t know what’s behind the fence. Jason: This whole area used to have way more pools. It was called Dairyland. It was in the process of being bought out. It’s kind of sad in a way- You look at these houses and properties and could see it thriving and being someone’s little paradise, and now it’s going to be bulldozed for a 2000 square-foot lot with an eight-bedroom house. Garrett: I actually have my haz-mat training, so I can enter secure areas with hazardous waste. This is part of it. You have to get into places that you’re not supposed to be if you really want to ride something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you get a ticket or arrested, but it’s always worth it.

"Anytime you can get multiple feet out of a pool, it feels pretty damn good to do actual tricks."
-Jason Enns

Jason: This brush fire burned for a while. This drought has been going on for four years now, with no end in sight. There’s been a bunch of big ones since then. This one was the closest it’s ever been to me. They’re supposed to enact severe water restrictions soon. The drought is getting real; there’s so many people living here now. Van: It was snowing ash at Jason’s house. Garrett: Man, I need a haircut.


Jason: We lucked out at this pipe; it’s not always dry like that. It was just a random stop to see if it’s dry. Doing this will be fun forever; twenty years from now, people will still be doing that. Van: This kind of captures the whole motivation of the trip. That vibe, that feeling is what we were trying to do with this trip. Garrett: Man, the full pipe sessions were so good. It’s the most basic bike riding you can do, just going back and forth. It’s a sight to be seen, for sure.

"The funnest part is you don’t know what’s behind the fence."
-Van Homan

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