Let’s start this little historical piece out by letting you know that the Del Mar Skate Ranch was not the best built skatepark of it’s era. Got it?

Buddy Carr

Buddy Carr 6.27.02

When was the first time you went to Del Mar?
Third week of June 1985

Who did you go with?
A friends girl friend drove me down from Garden Grove, but I was too nervous to really skate it. A week later Danforth picked me up in Garden Grove and took me back down to the park and we sessioned. I lived in his car with him for about a week in his Ford escort. After 7 days he kicked me out due to cramped quarters.

What was your first impression?
I was a kid in a candy store, coming fresh from Ohio I had only seen the place in magazines and the Powell videos. In the 80’s we had no concrete skatepark in Ohio.

Did you ever enter a contest there?
Nope, watched a few.

Do you remember any of the first generation of locals, in the late 70’s? What about later generations of local guys?
The mid 80’s crew…The SMP crew before SMP was a clothing company. Josh, Reese, Bruno, Jamie, Mott and Sean, the Weez, Garth, who else? I’m sure there are others. We would all go and park Motts Mitsubishi under the pepper tree and smoke weed out of elaborate, custom homemade bongs. I took many skate breaks under that tree with those guys. Losi would sometimes show up with the crippler that could render even the bank reservoir challenging!

Who do you remember from your earliest days there?
I have to say that my earliest memories are of Reese Simpson, here I was a 18 year-old punk, never rode a round wall in my life, trying to kickturn my way around the Kona Bowl. Obviously not the way to skate a pool. Reese must have been watching me, and said Dude, you got to carve the wall. He then gave me a lesson in the finer points of carving…. Reese didn’t know who the fuck I was but took the time to teach me the basics in carving. We became good friends from that lesson.

Are you still friends with any of the Del Mar guys?
As many as I can keep in touch with. The friendships I made those years at Del Mar are truly the greatest.

Did you ever spend the night there?
Spend a night! I lived there for months! Stored my gear under the Hi-Ball Hilton. Slept there under the wooden structure on a piece of 4 x 8 plywood and a blanket. There was like a pecking order on who got to sleep on the actual trampoline, and me being a new guy in town I got left with the scraps, which was spiders and rats under the structure. I remember one day I went in to get my gear out from under the habit and it was gone. Basically everything I came to California with now gone, but for some reason it didn’t bother me. I still had my skateboard, pads and blanket so things could have been much worse. I remember moving from the skatepark down to the beach, sleeping on the first bluff for a month with Scottish Bob, GSD, Cheese, Stan and others. The deal with that spot was you had to be up early to avoid the vagrancy tickets the park rangers would give.

What was your favorite thing to skate?
The Kona Bowl was a blast and I liked to ride the banks with the curbs on top.The square pool out back was fun as hell too.

Who do you think had the park the most wired?
Gator had that place dialed.

What was the most amazing thing you ever saw at Del Mar?
I liked it when Hosoi would show up and skate, he skated that keyhole smooth. I remember when Tony Hawk flew from the bank slalom over the fence and into the end of the half pipe–that was amazing for the time.

What is your most vivid memory of Del Mar?
So many… I guess just all of those late night sessions with just the tight Del Mar crew. Every session was amazing. Weed, speed, alcohol, dread locks, hooking up with girls on the driving range, Owen lighting the snack bar on fire, getting black-balled by Heidi, never once paying, let alone getting a membership. Jason Jesse getting his first smiley face tattoo, Batman Paul doing backflips on his rollerskates. Mike Smith with his Birkenstocks, VW bus, and kegs of beer. Sonny the cool manager, opening Thrasher magazine while on a train in Amsterdam after Del Mar had closed to see a two page picture of myself in the Kona Bowl that was shot by you. (Wasn’t that your first published shot?) Shit, dude, remember the time Lori Rigsbee knocked her self out in the square?

What was the most amazing or epic session you ever witnessed at Del Mar?
When Hosoi would show up and ride the keyhole, that was always a feast for your eyes. I remember Lester Kasai could really go big and looked good in the keyhole also. Gator ripped the Kona, Josh Nelson ruled the banks. Too bad the half pipe had no flat bottom and tight trannies. Steadham could do super long slide-and-rolls in the keyhole. He would kick from the bathrooms and just slide like 15 blocks or something crazy.

Del Mar Interviews done via email 2002 by Mark Waters<.b>

1 Comment
  1. So many stories of a trully epic time. The 80’s and north county San Diego. So many of us spent time living at Del Mar, skating, eating at the snack bar, sometimes for free. Some Of us worked for the man….Wayne Searle. I remember a few nights when Reese and I worked the Pro Shop we hung out, and…. after being closed for like an hour we turned the lights back on and skated, the I -5 freeway humming in the backround. Summer was always Epic, sneaking in to the Del Mar Fair, surfing in the morning, skating in the afternoon. What ever happend to Cory Federman, Chris Black, Bruno Herzog, Heidi Herzog, et al. Sleeping in the park was common……if we had of known then what this place would hold in skateboardings history would we have acted different? If u were lucky you could sleep inside in the loft between the skateshop and the RC shop. If you were unluckly you might roll your ankle playing Hi Ball….there were days and nights when no matter how awesome it was you would still feel very alone.
    Even so…..I will never forget Del Mar. I met one of the best Girlfriends I ever had one night skating Del Mar.
    Even if it was just sessioning the banks for a game of skate with Josh and Jason (Jesse) ….life was at finest.