Doug Saladino aka Pineapple

Doug “Pineapple” Saladino


At the start of all of it, and I do mean skateboarding, the ’70’s version that is, a lil kid from San Diego had the fever. This kid would be Pine, or Pineapple… With skill and   passion, he’d catch fire, then let it burn the rest of his life… Easy to see if you were around. If not, take my word, he ripped, and still does… Should we talk about how nice he is and humble? Okay, we just did… I present to you: Douglas Keith “Pineapple” Saladino…

What’s your name?
My name is Douglas Keith Saladino.

Keith is your middle name?
That’s correct, Steve.

Oh, from now on your name is Keith Pineapple. [Laughs]
[Laughs] K.P.

Where were you born?
I was actually born and raised here in San Diego.

Good. Stay there. Dogtown!
Whoa! Down South bro! Come on.

I’m kidding. So you lived in San Diego most of your life?
I’ve lived in San Diego my whole life. My parents were born and raised in Hawaii, in Maui. My dad is Filipino and my mom is Japanese. My dad is first generation American. His mom got on a boat in the Philippines with a bunch of men and headed to Hawaii in the ‘20s.

Did your father surf at all? I’m just curious.
No, he didn’t. My dad grew up in Kahului and my mom grew up in Wailuku. My dad didn’t surf at all, but from what he tells me, he got in a lot of trouble growing up.

Well, I’m not even going to touch on that. When did you first start skateboarding?
Around third grade was when I got my first skateboard. Where I grew up, there was this gal that lived down the street from me that was getting into surfing. I started to go to the beach with her and I learned how to surf. After school, I would race to the bus stop on my skateboard and then go to the beach to meet her and go surfing.

What kind of board?
If I remember correctly, it was just a homemade board that my dad made. It had Chicago trucks. I didn’t have the Cadillac wheels yet, so it had to have been clay wheels.

So you were surfing before you were skateboarding. When did you get hooked up onto the whole urethane wheels scene?
It was sometime shortly thereafter. I started to get to know people down at the beach where I surfed that were skating as well.

Were there any people that came up in the scene of skateboarding?
Yeah. There was Joe Roper, who I hung out with down in Pacific Beach. I surfed with him a lot. I would hang out with him and these other guys at San Diego Surf Shop, which was right by Crystal Pier. We would all skate around when there was no surf. Eventually, I was able to save up enough money to get some Cadillac Wheels from Select Surf Shop, which was just a couple of blocks up from San Diego Surf Shop.

How was the transition for you from clay wheels to urethane?
It was insane! It was crazy! It changed everything. We used to skate this big slanted curb on Diamond Street in Pacific Beach. We used to go there and ride that curb like it was a wave. That was rad because those wheels gripped.

How were you as a skateboarder then?
Oh, I ripped. [Laughs]

Whoa, slow down, Keith.
[Laughs] I’m just kidding.

I mean, when I first started, I could skate, but I wasn’t very good.
That’s what it was. We were just cruising around and having fun. I don’t think anybody was doing any tricks back then. Going from surfing to skating was a pretty easy transition. It was the same kind of coordination and it was fun. We were just trying to surf on the curbs. Back then surfing came first. We all surfed and when there were no waves, you grabbed your skateboard and just cruised around the boardwalk or skated those curbs. I remember a place up in La Jolla where there were bushes that hung over like a tube, so we would go up there and ride under those bushes. It was pretty rad.

That’s the dopest.
At Kate Sessions Park, people would bomb this dirt trail on the hill at the park. That was the one in the Hal Jepsen Super Session movie.

What about the emulation of going through a tube made out of bushes? It was so insane. I was so into it with my friends as well.
Oh, that was rad, dude. Think about it. How do you explain to somebody being in the tube or being in the barrel? You can’t explain it to someone that doesn’t surf. You’re only in there for a few seconds. It’s pretty much the same thing when you and your buddies are going through these bushes that look like a tube and everyone is hooting and hollering just like they do in the water.

Yeah. I went through a tube not too long ago and it was this tree that was really low, so I drug my hand along the bush and I didn’t know the bush had stickers and I just ripped the shit out of my middle finger. I was like, “You’re an idiot.” It was really funny. I never even talked about tube riding the bushes. It was huge. It was this thing that you did. I trip on it.
It’s funny because, when I’m down at Washington Street, there’s the big fence that’s parallel to the road and if I’m on the deck riding frontside to the fence, I drag my hand. It’s crazy. It’s just one of those things that people that surf and skate do. It’s something that 99% of surfers do on a skateboard naturally. It’s instinctual.

Yeah. I know this interview is about you, but we used to skate for two and a half miles to get to this one bush at this shopping center. We would session the bush for hours and then skate home. It was such a commitment to find a good bush tube.
Again, think about that. If a friend of yours asked you, “What did you guys do? For how long and how far did you ride?” That’s probably somebody that doesn’t surf. They don’t understand that feeling.

Exactly. The fact that you brought that up made me truly excited, in a sexual way. [Laughs]
Now, now, Steven.

Okay. So that was within the world of skating. When did you start to get good at skateboarding?
It was probably after the first skate contest in 1974 at Kate Sessions. That’s when it all seemed to start for me. That contest was actually put on by the Western Surfing Association. Do you remember that?

Oh yeah. I was part of the W.S.A.
They put on that contest. There were all kinds of people at that contest. Jay Adams was in that contest. Gregg Weaver, Paul Engh, Chris Yandall and Steve Cathey were in that contest too. There was a bunch of the local San Diego guys. They had slalom and freestyle. I didn’t even know what I was doing. That contest kicked it off for me in 1974.

How did you do in that contest?
I got second place overall in the boys division. I was right behind Jay in that contest, which is rad because, every time I would see Jay over the years, we would always talk about that contest. He would always tell me that he still had his ribbon, but he got rid of his trophy.

The trophy was rad because it had Chicago trucks and two Cadillac wheels on top of it. The Del Mar Nationals was slalom on that ramp and freestyle on that big wooden platform. I didn’t place in that contest at all, but it was trippy to see how much bigger skateboarding was than I realized as a kid. There were all kinds of people at that contest that I didn’t really know of or know about. After that contest, things just started to happen.

Were you riding for anyone then?
No. I wasn’t riding for anybody. The crazy thing is that, where I was living, there was this guy, Paul St. Pierre, who was good friends with a neighbor of ours. Whenever I was in the streets skating around and he showed up, he would get on his board and skate around with me. He was at that contest too. I remember pretty vividly eating shit on the slalom course. I made it to the bottom and went back to the top with a bloody lip. After that contest, Bahne picked me up and I started skating for Bahne. Paul told me later that one of the reasons he asked me to skate for Bahne was because of that fall I took.

Oh, you got sponsored from a fall?
[Laughs] Pretty much. He said that fall was so gnarly and he saw that look in my eyes when I got to the bottom of the run and then went back up and did the course again.

He saw your determination.
Yeah. He said that’s what it was.

Don’t get crazy, Keith.
Okay, Steven. [Laughs]

Keep sessioning. The key is determination.
It always is.

At the Bahne Del Mar Nationals, you see everyone skating and that whole scene. Do you remember Steven Picciolo?
I do remember him, but I can’t remember him skating. There were a few people I remember skating and there were a few people that I just remember being there.

That’s amazing that you got to be in that contest.
It was crazy. Think about the slalom ramp. It was some sort of pressed wood and they put urethane on it. I remember that’s what made it grip. On the freestyle platform, it was the same thing.

Did it grip?
Obviously, not during my fall, but I was determined, Steven. [Laughs]

Yes, you were. So you get picked up by Bahne Cadillac and what did that mean, free boards?
Free boards. It was kind of trippy. All of a sudden, there was practice every Sunday at the Bahne Factory up in Encinitas. Channin had a shaping room there and it was this big surfboard factory hang out. We’d skate around and learn new tricks. From there, we’d head out to La Costa.

Oh yes! Good old La Costa. You had skills at a young age, from what I remember from seeing your pictures in the magazines. When did you have a “Who’s Hot!” in Skateboarder?
That was when I was 13.

Excuse me, Mr. Keith. That was early.
It’s trippy to look back at this stuff. You asked me when I had skills and when I look back I’m like, “I don’t know.” All of a sudden, all these contests started to happen and I placed in all of them.

When you were placing in all these contests, it had to be great to be sponsored by one of the first big skate companies at that time. Who else rode with you on Bahne at that time?
When I was on Bahne, there was Pat Flanagan, who was an all around ripper. Bob Mohr was another freestyle ripper. Denis Shufeldt was one of the main guys. Then Ellen Berryman started coming around. Eventually, they started to pick up more people. We were like this League of Nations. We had a couple of Japanese guys, (Masami Countryman and Rod Fukumoto) and a couple of black kids with one rad skater by the name of Kimbo Taylor. It was crazy because you didn’t see that back then at all. Then there was me. I was stoked. Bobby Boyden was coming around and his brother, Richard. I mentioned Joe Roper. He was always part of Bahne, and he was a crazy freestyler back then. He could do a lot of headstands and handstands and gymnast type stuff.

I want to know what tricks were happening then.
It was handstands, headstands, nose wheelies, tail wheelies, one-footed nose wheelies, two-footed nose wheelies, two-footed tail wheelies, one-footed tail wheelies and maybe the daffy.

Steve Cathey’s daffy?
Yes. You saw the christie a lot too.

Was Yandall riding for Bahne?
No. Yandall never rode for Bahne. He only rode for G&S.

Could you do all the headstands and handstands?
I could never do handstands, but I could do headstands.

Well, there are three points to that.
You always had to have at least one upside down maneuver in your routine.

Oh right? Tell me. Did you guys rehearse your routines?
Yep! We would always practice routines before a contest to music. They were really into it back then, especially Bob Mohr. He was a really heavy jazz, saxophone cat, so a lot of really cool music was brought to practice. Paul St. Pierre and Denis Shufeldt grew up in Linda Vista, kind of in the barrio, so they were hip to soul music. There was this crazy mix of everything going around our practices.

That’s cool. Who would you skate against as a kid, besides Jay? Did you guys travel up north to compete in contests too?
Yeah. We would travel to Ventura and Santa Barbara and up north. I remember going to a big contest in Tempe, AZ. Remember the Wave?

Yeah, of course.
We went to skate a contest there and there was no water in it, so we got to ride the whole thing where the wave would come out. It was kind of like a washboard at the very end. We started traveling when I was 11 or 12 years old. We would jump in the team van, and the team van said Ski Research on the side, which was a company that was part of Bahne back then.

I remember the Single Ski too and that had something to do with those cats down there.
Those guys were always connected with June Lake. There were always people from North County that worked for Bahne or were amongst that crew of guys. In the wintertime, they would head up to the mountains and ski all winter.

Did you ski with those cats?
No. I didn’t ski.

It gets a little cold up there, doesn’t it, Keith?
[Laughs] I don’t know who you’re talking to when you say Keith.

[Laughs] Yes! So you were the Bahne boy that always skated in the boys division because all those other cats you mentioned were a little older.
Yeah. They were. I think Joe Roper, Bob Mohr and Pat Flanagan were a division or two up. When I think about it, I remember going to contests, and I started to see the same people at every contest. I was skating against the same people a lot.

How was that?
The fact that my parents let me go all the time and trusted these people, when I was only 11 or 12 years old was pretty rad.

I’m sure there were a couple of cats that were responsible dudes.
Uh, yeah, there were a couple. [Laughs]

That’s cool. It’s good to trust your child. It builds confidence. That’s my parenting lesson for the day.
[Laughs] Yeah.

Here’s the deal. So you’re rolling through these contests skating for Bahne. Did you ever skate against Stevie Monahan?
Yes, I did. I recall Stevie Monahan more after I got sponsored. I remember going up against him at the Ventura contest. He seemed to be the guy that I always had to go up against. His skating was rad.

That’s why I mentioned the cat. He was badass. I didn’t go to those contests, but we’d see it in the magazines. There were always the five cats that were my age and your age and we’d think, “Oh, those guys are good.” I was thinking I would never be able to be that good.
[Laughs] Right.

Once you got to skate against those cats, you realized who the guys were that were going to show up and give you a run for your money.
Definitely. It’s just like today. You would go and skate against somebody and, if you were constantly placing lower than that person, you started to look at what they were doing and figure out what it was that you weren’t doing. That would push you to get better before the next contest.

I remember your “Who’s Hot!”
It was crazy. I was just thinking of Bruce Logan’s spacewalk right now.

I was thinking that you had a pretty good spacewalk too.
Yeah. That was a rad trick.

Don’t get big headed in this interview, okay?
[Laughs] Okay. I’m not. I’m just saying that was a rad trick.

That’s still a badass trick.
Yeah. Spacewalks into a 360s or spacewalk into backside 360s. Bruce Logan had the stop and go. Remember that?

Yeah. I had the stop and go as well. It had a little dance move to it. The spacewalk into 360s and spacewalk out was badass.
Oh yeah. Remember pirouettes?

I remember pirouettes. I’m just going to inform you, Doug. I did skate freestyle contests. I just didn’t skate against you, which I regret to this day.
Wait. Did we compete against each other at some point?

Fuck no. I couldn’t skate freestyle to save my life.
Oh, okay. I took you seriously there for a minute.

I know. That was your mistake.
[Laughs] Yes.

Okay. Listen to me. How long did the Bahne ride last?
The Bahne ride lasted a couple of years. Jay was a heavy inspiration to me because we were always skating against each other, and we had become friends.

Didn’t you think that Jay was one of the friendliest dudes?
Absolutely. He was rad. A lot of people didn’t get that he was actually a gentle dude.

I just always thought the cat was super nice. So you would skate against Jay.
Yeah. He was always inspiring, and I really wanted to be like him because he was winning a lot. I was placing, but I wasn’t winning. After a while, they started having these cross-country races at the contests and I kept watching him because he kept winning. He would go into those wooden banks and I was like, “How did you get through those so quickly?” He would get up in them and lay a Bert down and then he’d get up and push and push. I’d try to emulate him in those contests too. He was getting in the mags all the time and I was like, “What is he doing that I’m not doing?” He just kept winning. Then I started emulating him and I started winning. I found out that Paul St. Pierre had a blow up with the editor at Skateboarder magazine, at the time, so that was preventing anyone from Bahne from getting in Skateboarder magazine. It was all politics. Eventually, a couple of people were talking about going and skating for a better team. I didn’t know what to do.

Do you remember who approached you?
It was Dave McIntyre and then, at some point, Bobby Piercy approached me too. Because of the Skateboarder magazine politics, I was losing interest in Bahne after a while. I was toying with the idea of going and skating for somebody else and then I talked to my dad about it. My dad said, “No. You’re not quitting Bahne.” I was like, “What?”

How old were you then?
I was almost 13. A few months went by and then I was really more adamant about wanting to leave Bahne. I approached my dad again after McInytre hit me up again and then my dad gave me the green light.

Oh he did?
Yeah. One thing that was going on with Bahne was that they never went to the Black Hill. I had no idea why because that’s where everyone was hanging out. After I got the green light to quit and go to G&S, I got to go to the Black Hill with G&S. Not long after I made that move, Warren Bolster came up to me at Black Hill and said, “I want to do a “Who’s Hot!” on you. That’s when it all started. I was like, “Holy shit! I’m going to be in the magazine.”

So that was it. Politics were happening then anyway.
Yep. That’s how it was.

So you get a “Who’s Hot!” Just from hearing this, Bahne had their shit together, it seemed. You were able to travel and enter contests and your entry fees were paid and you were in the scene. Then you move over to G&S and G&S was definitely happening and they had their shit together.
Yeah. Some people refer to Bahne as the farm team. A lot of skaters came out of Bahne, like Bobby Boyden, who started on Bahne and went over to G&S. Masami Countryman was a ripping skater for Bahne and he made the move to G&S. A lot of people came out of Bahne and went on to other teams and became pretty successful.

It seems as though Bahne was extremely important in the beginning, but then everyone started to catch up and Bahne didn’t seem to keep up with what was happening within the skate world.
That’s correct. There was also a heavy connection, at the time, between Bahne and Cadillac Wheels and Frank Nasworthy.

I’m not taking anything away from that. They just didn’t seem to move on within their research and development department. Skateboarding was moving leaps and bounds then. Gordon and Smith certainly seemed to keep up.
Steve, do you know what I was thinking?

No. Don’t tell me. Let me try to guess.
[Laughs] I was having a flashback to when I placed second at the Kate Sessions contest, and I won a Bahne skateboard with Cadillac wheels and Chicago trucks. At the time, I was riding this wooden board that my dad had made me. Talk about going from a wooden board made out of plywood and jumping on a Bahne, that was a huge change. After that, everybody started going down to the Community Concourse in San Diego. That was the spot. People would go there on the weekends and hang out at the top of the concourse and do tricks and then race all the way to the bottom. I totally remember riding that Bahne there. It was crazy.

Wow. Are there going to be any more flashbacks like that, Douglas?
[Laughs] Probably, Steven.

If you could give me a forewarning next time… [Laughs] Okay. So you get on G&S. Who was on G&S at that time? Do you know what year it was? I need a timeline. How old were you?
I was 13 when I got on G&S. I was born in 1963, so it was 1976. That’s crazy. Maybe I’m messing my own timeline up because the Bahne Del Mar Nationals contest was in 1975. I got my “Who’s Hot!” when I was 13. It was ’76 or ’77. At that time, Dave McIntyre was the team manager. Steve Cathey was on the team. Bob Shea and Bob Fraas were on the team. They were a couple of good skaters that grew up in Pacific Beach. Then you had Chris Yandall on the team. There were some slalom guys too.

Hester or Skolberg?
Danny Trailer was a G&S slalom guy. That was probably ’76 or ’77. I should probably have my portfolio in front of me to give you the correct timeline.

Your what?
My mom used to keep all my pictures in photo albums. Every time I would get a picture in a magazine, she would put it in a photo album.

Do you have those still?
Yeah, I do, actually.

That’s beautiful. Was there a point where you became a professional skateboarder?
Yes. That was not too much longer after I got on G&S. I didn’t turn pro right away because I actually won a couple of contests as an amateur.

How did it feel to finally win?
It was rad. The first contest that I won was a Pro/Am that was up at Marine World in Vallejo in northern California.

I remember the Marine World contests. I would see those in the magazines.
Yeah. I won the freestyle division in those contests but, in order for me to maintain my amateur status, I couldn’t keep the money. I ended up donating it.

Hopefully, you donated it to your parents.
No. I donated it to some non-profit organization. It was $300, which was a lot of money for a little kid in the ‘70s.

That was a nice chunk of money for a kid in the ‘70s for riding around on your skateboard. Okay. Ellen O’Neal was on G&S.
She was.

Was Stacy Peralta on G&S yet?
No. I don’t think so.

What about the Hackett brothers?

When did you go pro?
It was probably a couple of years thereafter.

No way. You didn’t go pro until 1979?
Wait. Hold on. You’re going to get me on timelines.

No. I’m just doing basic math, Douglas.
[Laughs] Yes!

Okay. [Laughs]
A lot of brain cells are gone now.

I’m not even going to go on to that point. I’m going to save you face here.
Can we put this on hold for one minute? I’m going to go grab my portfolio.

Okay. Yeah.
Okay. I’m breaking out the archives. My mom was always good about putting dates on stuff. Tony Alva was on the cover of the magazine that my “Who’s Hot!” was in. I’m looking at this one and it says, “Saladino won Skateboard Title.” This was the Marine World contest. It says I was 14. It says, “Saladino wins skateboard title, up in San Francisco. The 14-year-old San Diegan won the freestyle competition and the $300 first prize yesterday at the Gold Cup Skateboard Tournament, with three other San Diegans taking the next three spots. Bob Shea got second, Bruce Logan third and Bob Fraas got fourth. John Hutson from Santa Cruz won the 1/4 mile slalom.”

[Laughs] Yes!
There’s a picture of me right next to it. It’s a picture that was in Skateboarder magazine. Remember when we used to jump from board to board? We’d set up two boards on its side.

Yes. I do.
That was the picture they had of me in there. I was 14 when I won that.

Well, congratulations.
[Laughs] Thanks, Steven. My “Who’s Hot!” was in 1976. I’m getting some timelines going.

I’m realizing this, Mr. Douglas Serious Keith Saladino. Wait a minute. When did you start riding pools? You guys were always riding pools, because all I’m hearing is freestyle, freestyle, freestyle or slalom, slalom, slalom. You also had the Reservoir and other spots.
Yes. I started to skate pools when I was on G&S. I’m trying to remember when we found the Soul Bowl. You know I named that, right?

[Laughs] Oh yes!
What are you laughing for?

I just like the delivery quite a bit. Can you please explain a little more?
After I started skating for G&S, we’d always meet at the Soul Bowl at SDSU. At the time, I was listening to a lot of funk, R&B and soul music, so I named it the Soul Bowl.

Yes. The Soul Bowl was a heavy bowl from what I remember.
Yeah. T.A. was on the cover at that one doing a backside kickturn.

I remember that cover well. It was shot looking down at him, right?

From going to contests all the time and seeing all the same people at the contests, what was it like when those cats started to come down and jump on the San Diego teams, like G&S and Logan?
It didn’t matter, because we were all friends by then.

What about the Dogtown versus Down South thing? Was that more media driven?
Yeah. It was media driven and there were a lot of people that got into that, but I never got into that. By that time, I was in junior high school and that’s when I started to hang out with all the Mexicans in my school and I started to understand where those guys were coming from. I connected with a lot of those dudes on that level, especially Jay. I don’t know where all that hype came from. I never got into it. I just always skated.

When I first met you, you seemed really conceited.
What? [Laughs] Shut up. You’re so mental, bro.

I’m only kidding. Okay, you’re riding urethane wheels with loose ball bearings, which was more difficult to keep together. What about when precision wheels hit?
That was night and day. That was another huge advance in skateboarding technology. The way the wheels were at the time, you had the cup in there for the ball bearings. I remember trying to get that cup out and put the precision bearings in. It wouldn’t work. We were like, “Where did these come from? These are rad.” Then I didn’t have to sit there with my board on one side and put seven ball bearings on one side and then hold on to it while I flipped it over and put another set of ball bearings in.

I think it was eight.
Wait. Let me count the bearings in my trophy.

Do it. I think you’re mistaken, boss. I think it would be an even number.
Steven, you are correct. There are eight. I remember trying to get those loose ball bearings in there on one side and having to hold it while you flipped your board over? It was more difficult then.

Yeah. It was a lot of work, and you used to ride seven ball bearings instead of eight.
[Laughs] Yeah.

That was your trick?
That was my trick. I have a box full of contest bibs.

Really? Would you please run down the contest bibs?
Kate Sessions contest, 2nd place, boys division.

Oh wait, do the bibs say your winnings on them or did your mom write on them?
My mom wrote on them. Nov 15, 1975. Here’s a USSA contest bib and it also says WSA at the bottom. Here’s the Cow Palace one. May 22-May 23.

Do you remember any contests sticking out in your head?
Cow Palace was one. If I’m not mistaken, they brought this fiberglass bowl there. I think Skitch Hitchcock brought that.

What about Skitch Hitchcock and Mike Weed and those Hobie dudes? Were you friends with them?
Yep. I was friends with both of them. Mike was rad. I used to hang out with him at contests and he was almost like a mentor. He was a rad freestyler and he would show me tricks and help me out. Skitch was the same way. Those guys were so ahead of their time if you think about what they did.

I had mad respect for those cats. I want to know more.
I have all the rules for the Cow Palace contests. I’ve got the Official Rules and Judging for the Freestyle event and then I have the Slalom Rules too.

Could you share them with me, a little of the freestyle rules?
“Five judges on the course with three alternates. Each contestant is allowed 75 seconds to set up any props used in his or her routine. Each contestant is allowed 90 seconds during trial and two minutes during finals. Contestants will be warned by buzzer when there is 15 seconds of time left. No more than two props are allowed in each routine.”

There goes Skitch’s routine.
[Laughs] “You have a choice of any two. You can have a table or a high jump or a ramp or cones. You’re not allowed to have more than three skateboards in your routine. Skateboards will have no size restriction, but must have no more than two trucks or four wheels.” [Laughs]

“Judges should follow this outline. For style, they are going to judge you on fluidity and composure, the degree of difficulty with your balance, your skill and your strength and execution…” This is crazy. I’m so glad that my mom kept this stuff.

It’s good your mom kept that stuff. She’s a good mom. Why was G&S gold and red? Was that for the Romans?
I don’t know. I have no idea.

I just like to stump the panel.
Did you know that Bahne was one of the first teams to have so-called uniforms?

I did not. What was the uniform?
We got sponsored by Op back then, so we would wear corduroy shorts, and a Hawaiian button-up shirt with a yellow long sleeve t-shirt under it.

That was it?
Pretty cool, huh?

Okay, don’t get crazed. I’m into uniforms. I just don’t know if I’m into that uniform. Bahne had a pretty cool modern logo too in the sense of font.
Well, the second one was cool. The first one was just block letters.

I’m talking about the modern one with the futuristic type on the Bahne jersey, but you were done by then.
Yeah. The crazy thing was that in my “Who’s Hot!” I’m actually riding a Bahne.

That was because there were a couple of times that Bolster shot photos of me, but they never got in the magazine because of the politics. If you look at my “Who’s Hot!” I’m riding a Bahne.

How hyped were you when you finally got your photos in a magazine?
Oh, dude, I was so hyped. That was rad.

That’s when you got conceited.
Steven, I was never conceited.

[Laughs] I’m only kidding. That’s funny to me. When did you go pro?
I was probably 15. I don’t recall which contest.

Were you in the Long Beach Free Former contest?
I wasn’t in the first one, but I was in the second one.

How was that?
It was crazy. It was a big arena.

I was there watching and it was crazy. Guys looked liked ice skaters out there.
Yeah. I remember practicing for the second one though. I had to find a big place to practice freestyle. I remember being at the first one too and that was pretty cool to watch.

I was so totally into it.
It’s funny that you asked that. I just saw this one picture of me in my photo album and it’s me jumping off of a table at the first Free Former contest. I was just hanging out there and that photo got taken.

As a little kid, did you feel the pressure or what?
I think I started to feel the pressure after I started placing more and more and more in contests. It’s just like anybody that’s in contests. It becomes an expectation.

You’re also there skating on a team for a company and there’s that expectation like, “I have to step my game up.” I don’t know. Maybe I’m throwing in what I was thinking.
Yeah. That was part of it. Again, there just becomes this expectation. It’s like, “That guy is the guy, so I have to practice harder to beat him.” There tended to be some pressure, as I got older, and I started to do well in contests.

Were you expected by the team to do well?
It was never said to us, but we all felt that pressure and that expectation. You know how it is.

I have no idea how it is because if they said something to me, I’d say, “Fuck you, man! Don’t pressure me!” I’m just kidding. I’m just saying, as a kid, that pressure did exist, just like it exists in little league.
Let me ask you a question. Did you ever get to a point where you were obsessed with skating and it’s all you ever wanted to do? Did you ever get to that point?

C’mon Steven.

I liked skating, but I really enjoyed hanging out with the new cats that I met through skating. What I really enjoyed, Doug, was playing foosball. I enjoyed the arcade at the skateparks. It was amazing. It was like, “Let’s go to the skatepark.” It didn’t mean you were going skating. I mean there was skating, but there was also the camaraderie of hanging out with new dudes you met, which was totally fun.
Yeah. I agree with that. It was rad.

With the foosball thing, it was so fun. There were dudes that had game and there were dudes that were pretty good and then there were dudes that couldn’t play. I don’t know why foosball sunk so deep into my head, but it was totally amazing. I really liked playing foosball with Shogo.
Yeah. Okay. Wait. So you asked me about pressure right?

Wait. I’m conducting this interview.
Okay. Circle back, Steve. Circle back. [Laughs]

Here’s the deal. You did feel pressure. Yes or no?

Did you like the feeling of that pressure? Did it push you or did it annoy you?
It was both. It pushed me, but it did get kind of annoying. It got annoying when you didn’t live up to expectations and you didn’t do as well as you thought you were going to do. I think that’s what led to my demise and getting burned out on skating. It became more of a job at a certain point. The camaraderie and fun of hanging out with your friends became like, “I’ve got to get down there and learn these three new tricks for the next contest. I have to do well.”

Let’s get to Spring Valley. So they announce that there is going to be this pool contest.
In the Soul Bowl replica.

That was so not the replica of the Soul Bowl.
It was supposed to be. Steve Cathey was the resident pro there, right?

Right. Did they have Spring Valley bandanas?

It’s a joke. Didn’t Steve skate with a bandana?
Around his neck?

No, around his leg. [Laughs] Yeah.
[Laughs] Yeah.

We thought that was pretty stylish. Okay, I’m getting way ahead of myself. What about when Carlsbad skatepark opened? How was that for you as a skateboarder?
That was fun. I just remember how fun it was going to this place where they had built all this transition stuff to skate.

I was fired up myself.
I’m not going to look in my crate again until you ask me.

You’re totally distracted by going down memory lane.
That’s a good thing, right? This is cool that I get to do this with you.

Yes. I totally like it.
It was me, you and the hairdos. We used to call it the Pompadour. That was before rockabilly. You had to comb it straight back.

You did have a pomp. You were a little cholo. How was Signal Hill? You didn’t race down Signal Hill did you?
Yes, I did, but I was just there to hang out. It was pretty crazy.

I loved when Signal Hill happened. I loved when any of these skateboard things happened. The Long Beach Free Former was so fun to me, and then Signal Hill was badass.
Traveling was fun. Getting in the van with your team guys and traveling somewhere to skate was fun.

Who were your cats that you hung out with on the G&S squad?
When I first got on G&S, it was me, Steve Cathey, Bob Shea and Bob Fraas. We all used to hang out together. If it was just me and someone else, it was me and Steve Cathey. He was surfing San Diego a lot so our paths crossed a lot. He grew up a mile from where I did.

Steve Cathey had a wicked christie too.
A wicked christie? Yes! Everyone had a christie though, right? Didn’t you do the christie?

I did the christie, but Steve Cathey had a really nice christie from what I remember, and so did Jay and Chris Yandall.
Chris Yandall had the Samoan squat.

That blew my mind. How did he get low like that? I can’t even get my wheels off the ground.
Let alone barefoot.

Yeah. Remember that picture of his toes?

Wow. Well, I do.
There was a picture of his toes and they were just all scabbed up and beaten down, right?

Yeah. It was gnarly. When did Dennis Martinez come onto the scene, because then it became all about you and Dennis?
Dennis rode for Bahne also. He came over to G&S after a while also. Let’s text Dennis right now.

You’re texting Dennis?
Yes. I’m texting him while I’m talking to you.

What were your sessions like before all the skateparks started popping up? Were you guys riding a bunch of reservoirs and stuff or were you mostly riding freestyle and La Costa?
It was freestyle and La Costa and, all of a sudden, there was the Escondido reservoir, which became the cool place to go skate. There was also the Charcoal Bowl, which was above Black’s Beach. It was this big water thing, but it was dry. We called it Charcoals because it was dirty, so you had to skate it with a mask. You could go from one side to the other. Oh wait. Martinez just sent a text back. He said “Bahne was ’75-’76. G&S was ’76-’78, I think.”

[Laughs] Now let me ask you this. Spring Valley opens and now you guys have a skatepark with a pool in it. Freestyle and slalom started to dissipate. I ask you about Spring Valley because it had one of the first pools in a skatepark, so what did that do for you cats down in San Diego?
We were there skating all the time. Before that, there were a couple of pools that we were skating.

The one you named, the Soul Bowl?
That’s correct, Steven. [Laughs]

I’m just proving my point of you being conceited, okay?
[Laughs] No.

I’m kidding. So you really named the Soul Bowl?
Yes, I did.

I know this now. You have embedded it into my head for the rest of my life.
[Laughs] Yes.

I’m just saying, Spring Valley and all those pools started to show up in the skateparks and it changed the direction of skateboarding. It’s not that pools weren’t happening, but it made it easier for kids to ride a pool without having to go find them.
Yeah. There were some random pools before that too.

There were lots of random pools, and skateboarding started to go to skateparks and pools. Freestyle and slalom started to dissipate away from the focal point of skateboarding. Then you guys had a pool to skate at all times.
Yeah. We knew it was going to be there all the time and we didn’t have to barge pools like we were. We got to go some place where we didn’t have to worry about anything except skating. That totally changed things. It was rad. We had a place to go. It was a place we could call our own and hang out with everybody and skate and not worry about anything. Spring Valley was half an hour away from where I lived, so it was super cool.

All of a sudden, they’re going to have the first pool contest and it’s at the skatepark in your guys’ backyard, meaning you and Dennis and all the other cats.
It was crazy. It gave us something to look forward to. It was the first pool contest ever and we didn’t know what to expect.

You didn’t expect two-minute runs.
Yeah. Then there was all the practicing and sessions leading up to that. It was rad. There was a lot of hype and a lot of stoke going on. People were looking forward to it.

It was really fun. So then it was like, “Oh, Pineapple is not only a good freestyler, he can ride pools good too.” Did you find pools more relate-able to surfing than freestyle?
Yeah. Carving around the bowl was more like pumping down the line and setting up to do some sort of off the lip. Riding pools and the skateparks and riding transition, I could relate that more to surfing than freestyle.

Then you guys were the G&S pool dudes.
Yeah. Dennis was a heavy freestyler too before the pools. He was a super rad, super good dude. He was able to make that transition to skating pools also. When he came over to G&S, we hung out and skated a lot together. We were on Bahne together for a short period of time, and then I left and went to G&S and then he came over to G&S. Then we skated together a lot.

What about the Oasis park?
When Oasis came about, that became our home park because it was closer to our house. Oasis was ten minutes from my mom’s house and Spring Valley was like half an hour away.

What about the Oasis pool contest? There was one before the Gold Cup.
That was in the bowl and the halfpipe. That was crazy. That was the Easter Classic. That was a fun park.

So then what happened to Pineapple and pool skating and the contest scene? How was it from your perspective?
It was rad. We transitioned out of freestyle. With all the bowl contests, we were skating parks and pools and that’s all we skated. Everything was moving pretty quickly. Things were starting to happen. There were more and more contests. Pool skating became my thing. Pool skating became something that I totally dug and I could totally relate to. It was like going surfing. It was a natural transition. I could go skate some pools and bowls anytime.

Correct. I’m so curious. Do you feel like you had an advantage going into these pool contests because of your background in freestyle and competition?
I don’t know if it was an advantage, but there was the experience of competing for a few years prior to the first pool contest. I don’t know if having that experience was an advantage or not. It’s just something that I was used to and I had done a lot of. If you think about the first Hester Series, how new was that? It was like, “Oh my god, there’s going to be a bowl contest. In fact, Henry Hester is going to put on a whole series of bowl contests!” On the flip side, nobody knew what to do. It was new. Nobody knew how to do it. We had to skate in the bowl for two minutes. How crazy was that?

It was a super long time, that’s for sure.
When we were skating, I don’t recall ever trying to skate for two minutes. When we would have team practices at Bahne or G&S, for freestyle, we would actually practice with a stopwatch. Someone had a watch and they kept the time of how long your routine was because you wanted to make sure that all your tricks were going to fit in the amount of time. I don’t remember ever timing out two minutes in the bowl before the Spring Valley contest. We just figured we’d skate for two minutes, no big deal. We’ll get through it. I didn’t get through it. I fell off about a quarter of the way through.

[Laughs] Yes. Then what happened with your whole skateboarding career within the pool world?
That was my focus. It just started happening and it evolved and I started traveling to all the bowl contests. Then again, even though it was new and it was rad, at some point, the fun was lost again, somewhere along the line. You wanted to be that guy. You wanted to win the next contest or place at least.

The focus became about being extremely determined to do well and sometimes that takes something away from it.
It does. When I think about Spring Valley, Steve Cathey, Dennis Martinez and I were expected to do well at Spring Valley because that was our home park.

You guys ripped it. You guys could skate the pool and skate it good. I was psyched when you guys fell.
[Laughs] That’s not nice, Steven.

Not in a bad way, but in a competitive way for sure, I know I was. I was like, ‘Sick! Yes! The dude with the advantage fell.” It wasn’t like I wanted you to get hurt.
[Laughs] That’s part of the contest and part of the strategy. I don’t even recall half of the strategy. I didn’t think about stuff like that. Early on, in freestyle, I didn’t even have a strategy about competing. I was just thinking, “What can I do different or better to beat that guy?” Maybe that was a strategy. I don’t know.

Doug Saladino aka Pineapple

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2 Responses

  1. Skated so many sessions at all these same places in San Diego (Climbig through the access hole i the roof of the Charcoal Bowl. That place was nasty). Those of us over 18 years old in 1976 could buy our way into Friday night dances at SDSU, and when they closed down at midnight we’d hop the fence of the Soul Bowl Pool and turn the landscaping lights down into the bowl, where we’d skate until the very wee hours.
    Don P.

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