Vans Pool Party 2019 Photos
This was the 15th and final year of the Vans Pool Party at the Combi Bowl in Orange, CA. The event has had a few different names over the years, but it’s always been the same deep, gnarly pit of ‘crete. The Legends—many of whom skated the OG Combi at Pipeline in the ‘80s—are always a crowd favorite. The Masters (over 40) had a few entrants that skated the first Pool Party back in ’04. But after 15 years, the Pro Division has seen a major change of guard. Except for 46-year-old Bucky Lasek, most of the competing skaters hadn’t even picked up a board when this contest series began—and a few weren’t even born! —Joe Hammeke
Darren Navarette has been to every single Pool Party—usually in the bowl but this time he was sidelined with a hyperextended knee. Heal up, Vertical Vampire!
Navs is never too hurt to sign a board, though. That’s Lonny Hiramoto—a competitor in the Legends Division. Lonnie had the first footplant photo in a skate mag, back in ’77
Inside, practice before the battle. Rune Glifberg has got one of the best tailgrabs in the biz. He finished 2nd in the Masters Division
Reigning champ Tom Schaar, switch flip during practice. Rune would neither confirm nor deny that he was the first to do one on vert
Corey Juneau, huge ollie followed by a barrage of high-speed maneuvers in the round
November ’92 cover boy Alphonzo Rawls was one of the judges. Alf can skate it all and was one of the pioneers of technical vert skating. Proof!
As the stands filled to the limits set forth by the fire marshal, the Masters event was underway and Andy Macdonald took the top honors. Cab tailgrab in the round? What? Andy Mac on the Thrasher site?! Well, just ask yourself: What would the Big Dog do?
The crowd was at capacity and the fire marshal was counting every single person through the doors
Here’s your behind-the-scenes commentators: Greyson Fletcher and Omar Hassan. You ready to do this?
Legends are underway and Steve Alba, the winner of the first pool contest ever back in ’78, is in the bowl!
Inventor of the frontside rock ’n’ roll, Eddie Elguera decked out on the hip. Bet your ass he’s still got ‘em!
Lester Kasai went higher than anyone in the original Combi Bowl. Thirty-one years later he’s still charging, just a little closer to the coping
Still stoked off that Navarette signature, Lonnie Hiramoto—tuck knee
All the way from Copenhagen, Denmark, Nicky Guerrero, high-speed lipslide in the round in to 2nd place. You know you’ll be seeing him again at the CPH Open
Pat Ngoho, huge Indy air in the square
In case you didn’t know, Ngoho was the first to roll out on transition, do a manual and roll back in. No matter how deep the bowl, he’s still down to dive in
Always a force to be reckoned with, Steve Caballero has one of the best frontside inverts and took home 3rd in the Legends Division. Cab has been on the cover of the mag nine times, including this frontside invert in a pool back in June of ’85
This year it was Lance Mountain taking top honors for the Legends. Skateboarding loves you, Lance!
Christ Strople had the first skate photo on the cover of Thrasher in February ’81. How’s that for bragging rights?
Taking a little break from flippin’ burgers, Steve Van Doren gets a flick with the Star Wars crew. May the 4th be with you
Back inside, Eric Dressen says time for the Pro Division. Eric’s had three Thrasher covers, including January of ’88 https://www.thrashermagazine.com/articles/magazine/january-1988/
Clay Kreiner knows the power line through the pool to get the crowd on their feet and the cameras in the air
Josh Rodriguez, high-speed frontside bluntslide in the round
The Star Wars crew heard that Bam Margera was in the building so they planned an Imperial attack
Luigi Cini was only a year old and living in Brazil when the first Pool Party took place—kickflip McTwist body varial. Time flies. So does Luigi!
You know Hosoi’s got the live feed going
Moto Shibata with a beautiful lien fastplant, landing him in 3rd place overall. Congrats on that pro board, Moto! Good looks, Hosoi
Cory Juneau killed it in the semifinals, including sticking this massive frontside flip in the round, but struggled when it came to the finals
The kids (and everybody else) were blown away
Tristan Rennie, the 2014 Pool Party champion, is always a top contender in the finals—nosegrind over the hip into the square
Lifeblood’s Wally Inouye and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament got love for the Wizard of Blood
Tristan, huge BSO in the round
Alley-oop frontside 5-0 in the square to a 2nd place finish in the finals. Hell yeah, Rennie!
Omar Hassan, fired up and on the mic
Fourteen-year-old Tate Carew wasn’t even born when the Pool Party saga began. He held onto some solid technical runs that stoked out the fans and judges and brought him to the finals
At 46 years old, Bucky Lasek could have competed with the Masters. Instead, he chose to duke it out with the kids and was a heavy threat all the way up ’til his final run—air to fakie through the corner followed up with a frontside stale twist…
…then this stale boneless landing him in 4th place in the Pro Division. Thanks for giving all us old guys some hope, Bucky
Another veteran skater who can still hang with the younger generation on the streets, Geoff Rowley’s always on deck at the Pool Party. Dude’s had six covers!
But it was reigning champion Tom Schaar who had the power and trick selection to stay in the 1st-place spot as the finals were closing in—huge kickflip Indy in the round
Front blunt on the hip
Kickflip backlip in the square to retain the title and take home the trophy for the third year in a row
Stoked is an understatement
It was May the 4th so of course Vans had special Star Wars-themed trophies made
Sandro Diaz (3rd), Andy Macdonald (1st) and Rune Glifberg (2nd)—the Masters top 3. Andy got to take home the Darth Vader trophy
Cab (3rd), Nicky Guerrero (2nd) and Lance Mountain (1st)—the Legends top 3. Lance scored the Yoda trophy
Moto Shibata (3rd), Tom Schaar (1st) and Tristan Rennie (2nd)—the Pros top 3. Tom was graced with the Luke Skywalker trophy. And you better believe the Stormtroooper helmets will fit your head. Thanks, Vans, for building and maintaining the Combi Bowl for the past 20 years along with hosting and supporting the biggest contests in bowl riding for the past 15 years!
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