Words and photos by V. Reinert @motionskate_
“Turning 33 can be both a major accomplishment and a terrifying reality check for a lot of pool skaters. For those like Nic Rivera, it’s a rewarding reminder that they did, in fact, make it out of their 20s alive. On the other hand, it’s also a gut-punching realization that they’re getting older and it’s only a matter of time before they start investing in knee pads, a helmet, and some good muscle ache cream.
But it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, as long as you’re enjoying a glass of something with your best friends at one of the most legendary pools in existence – the Nude Bowl – and that’s exactly what Nic Rivera did for his 33rd birthday.
Named for its original placement at a 1960s/1970s nudist resort in the remote desert just outside of Palm Springs, the Nude Bowl has been buried, dug up, and restored a number of times over the last 20 years after the resort owners abandoned the property. The one responsible for the most recent 3-day excavation and restoration back in 2014 is Rodney Rodrigues (aka, The Skate Saint), and he just so happened to be in attendance at Nic‘s birthday session. Prior to Nic‘s arrival, Rodney graciously patched and repainted the pool with a special birthday tribute to Nic.
Also in attendance was Dave Reul, another skate legend responsible for the first Nude Bowl excavation back in 2000. As the sun set, Dave pulled out his portable PA and serenaded the crew of about 25 attendees with gritty bangers like, “Bin Laden Must Die” and “My Girlfriend is a Vampire” from his band, the Skatanic Rednecks.
Several floodlights were set up to illuminate the pool while the night skate session continued. SoCal shredders like Andiey Lerma, Sean Plundeke, and Eric Hutchinson rotated in and out of the pool with Nic Rivera to pull off gravity-defying tricks you just don’t see everyday. As the night wound down, the group retreated to their tents, backseats, and pool-bottom sleeping bags to sleep off the beers, bruises, and session stoke.
After an early morning breakfast cooked on camping stoves set up on someone’s tailgate, the cars started leaving one by one to make their way down the hill through the beaten desert trail back to civilization. As Nic loaded up the last of his gear into the car, Rodney came up and handed him the perfect birthday gift for a most memorable Nude Bowl skate session: a broken off green concrete chunk from the original Nude Bowl deck before it was restored.
Growing old may suck, but growing up is completely optional. And as long as you’ve still got your friends around to enjoy life with, who really gives a shit.” – V. Reinert @motionskate_