ONE LAST SESSION AT THE VANS CLOVER BOWL
Jeff Grosso, Smith grind.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: Dave Swift
In my first few years of riding a skateboard I was fortunate to ride some pretty sick skateparks in Southern California from 1978-1981. On the other hand, I also got to see a lot of them shut their doors for good just as fast. In those days, they were considered a business and if you wanted to ride you had to pay at the front gate and no matter what age you were you had to wear full pads at all times. At first business was booming but by 1981 the once crowded parks were only frequented by a handful of locals (most of which had found ways to not pay to skate), and when I graduated high school in 1982 the only parks left open in So Cal were The Pipeline in Upland and The Del Mar Skate Ranch. The latter was my home until it was closed and dozed in the summer of 1987.
Fast forward 31 years: most skateparks are free and have tons of locals at all times (at least that’s what we find in So Cal). In 2014 Vans opened up a free skatepark (the city of Huntington Beach gave them some land to use) and, as many of you know, it has a street area, a flow-styled bowl, and a full-size clover bowl. A few months ago, it came to my attention that the park was to be updated with a Park Series-style flow section and a new rendition of the world famous Combi pool (expect some minor changes). To do that, the current flow section and the clover pool will be dozed and that space will house the two new sections.
Josh Borden, Indy nosebone.
"Many rode there often and were sad to see it go."
For the locals, this was strange as most of them enjoyed the bowls that were built in 2014 and were sad to see them go. I was not a local but I’ve made the one hour drive north and skated the clover a number of times in the last four years and considered it to be a fun pool to ride. Longtime bowlriding connoisseurs like Omar Hassan, Marty Jimenez, Eddie Reategui, Christian Hosoi, Lance Mountain, Jeff Grosso, John Lucero, Peter Hewitt, Darren Navarrette, Lester Kasai, Josh Borden, and many others rode there often and were sad to see it go.
Peter Hewitt, ollie to fakie.
The last sessions in the HB clover were heavy with most of the aforementioned legends skating until dark when security ventured to the back of the park to get everyone out. On Memorial Day 2018, at approximately 8:05 PM, Christian Hosoi landed the last trick ever done in the HB clover when he rode away from his first ever frontside ollie over the bowl's large and hard-to-get-to channel. It was probably the most fitting example of someone literally shutting the place down.
Lester Kasai, ollie.
Inasmuch as this was a short run for such a large section of concrete I reminded myself that back in the late seventies and early eighties when the parks closed down they were gone for good. And shit, most of them weren’t even open four years. Vans HB is just getting a facelift and although the locals have lost a loved one it will be replaced in a couple months with something shiny and new that they will no doubt fall in love with all over again.
The final session line up.
“The last days of the Vans HB Off The Wall Skatepark were bittersweet! HB Vans has been my home park since opening day! It has been the place where my sons have cut their teeth and progressed in this amazing sport that I love called skateboarding. It’s been good to me and my family and the rest of the community! But we are looking forward to what’s ahead and can’t wait to shred the new and improved Vans OTW Skatepark!!! We will always cherish the tricks learned, the stories made, the videos shot, the photos taken, and the memories made! The sessions of the clover pool will be talked about for decades! Thank you Steve Van Doren and the whole Vans family for supporting skateboarders and skateboarding! Can’t wait to see what the future HB OTW Skatepark looks and rides like! Fresh coping and time here we come!” —Christian Hosoi
Christian Hosoi, backside air.
Eric Dressen, backside carve.
Omar Hassan, mute to fakie.
Darren Navarrette, backside air the hip.
Salman Agah, four-footed roll-in.
Jordyn Barratt, ollie.
Lance Mountain, frontside air.
Darren Navarrette, Madonna to frontside air.
Bill Weiss, tuck-knee invert.
"We will always cherish the tricks learned, the stories made, the videos shot, the photos taken, and the memories made!" —Christian Hosoi
Christian Hosoi, ollie the channel.
The clover bowl was located at: