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?

Grant Brittain

Grant Brittain 9.23.02

When was the first time you went to Del Mar?
I started working there the second day it was opened. Got the job through Ed Economy and Wally Inouye. They were my neighbors and Ed got a job there in the pro shop and got me in.

What was your first impression?
I was stoked on the park, but it was overkill on the employee rules, cowboy hats and shirts. I was just your standard issue skatepark worker, dumping trash, sweeping, pouring sodas.

Do you remember any of the first generation of locals, in the late 70’s?
Mitch Long, Kyle Jensen, Jeff Hunt, Owen Nieder, Gino Tocci, Jeff Page, Jim Alesi, Bill Billing, Joe Drewall, Gunnar Haugo, Steve Sherman, Wally Inouye, Chris Strople, Sonny Miller, Jeff Tatum, Randy Stalacher, Mike and Kenny Stalmasky, Dave Eckles, and countless others.

Did you ever spend the night there?
I worked at DMSR for 6 years and actually lived there on the pool table for 8 months. Great rum-n-Coke parties at night, after hours, playing Asteroids with red quarters. We would also turn the lights back on and the locals would have no gear midnight sessions. It was bitchin’!

Did you ever work at Del Mar? If so, what did you do there?
1978-1984: 6 years, 5 of that as manager of park and pro shop.

What was your favorite thing to skate?
I liked the keyhole and the 13ft egg-bowl (until I broke my wrist in it). I loved to slide around the reservoir though until they screwed it up with parking blocks on the lip. You could throw the coolest slides and berts on those lips. Street skating ruined my line!

Who do you think had the park the most wired?
Chris Strople could rip the shit out of the whole park. I think he was the best skater back then. His alley-oops were massive and his style was so aggressive, but smooth.

What was the most amazing thing you ever saw at Del Mar?
The first time Mike McGill did the 540 in the States when he got back from Swedish Camp was pretty memorable. The giant no pads Kona sesh with the crowd of people around the kidney. The first time I saw Gelfand do ollies in person. Darrel Miller’s Miller Flip and Eddie Elguera’s Elguerial, I thought skating could never go further than those. Then when Mike did the McTwist, I realized that there are no limits in skating, that’s now been proven over and over.

What is your most vivid memory of Del Mar?
The Park scene of 70s and 80s can never be repeated. Parks, including Del Mar, were the meeting places, clubhouses and hangouts. Del Mar was the place you could go and be in a safe environment and play with your bros. It was home for a lot of us. When it was dozed, it was like a piece of my heart was ripped out. I still get emotional about it. Now parks are made to make money or appease voters. I don’t think Del Mar ever made money, but it was open for 9 years. It wasn’t the best park, but it was our baby.

What was the most amazing or epic session you ever witnessed at Del Mar?
So many epic sessions there over the years. Contests in the Keyhole were pretty exciting with the crowd sitting around it and all of that energy focused on the skaters in the pool. Any session with the locals ripping in various locations around the park was great too.

Do you have any other stories to share?
I really feel fortunate to have had the Del Mar Skate Ranch in my life. I started photography there. I met my wife at the Pannikin coffee shop where all of the skaters hung out and some worked. I met the friends I still have today there. I skated for free for 9 years, met and photographed the best skaters in the world. It was where I spent my twenties and learned how to be an adult and a kid at the same time. I miss DMSR, the other locals know how I feel. Del Mar Skate Ranch Forever!!!

Del Mar Interviews done via email 2002 by Mark Waters

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