Bill Billing

I moved to San Diego in 1978, I was 19 years old. I had worked at Skatopia for a year and all I wanted to do was surf and skate! I didn’t know anyone in S.D. And the most logical job was a surf shop or skatepark. I heard about a new park opening in Del Mar so I went to check it out. That day I met Grant Brittain and he became my first friend in S.D. And we’ve been friends ever since. I knew Wally Inouye and Chris Strople from skating backyard pools up in Arcadia so when I found out that they were involved in the park, I was stoked!

I think i started working there the next day. I helped pour concrete for the bank slalom and the decks around the Kona, Egg Bowl and Square pool. One time I was pushing a wheel barrow full of Crete along the 1/2 pipe and it got away from me, I dumped the whole thing in the 1/2 pipe! I thought I’d ruined the thing! They just hosed it down the drain. I spent my mornings surfing and my days and nights either working or skating at DMSR. I worked with and skated with guys like Grant, Jim Alesi, Steve Sherman, Sonny Miller, Chip Morton, Tim Noel, Geoff Page, Kyle Jennsen, Jeff Tatum, the Stelmasky’s, Kim Cespedas, Mitch Long, The Isbell brothers, damn that list could go for ever and these people and so many are my friends to this day!

I used to drive the groms up north to the skate contests, kids like Aaron Astorga who was only 10 years old. Owen Nieder was about the same (at least the same size) but these kids were there every day and you could watch them improve every day and you knew they would become the rippers they are today! I got to meet and skate with all the best skaters in the world and watch them progress and grow up. I saw Tony Hawk go from a little kid to the most successful skater of all time. I saw Steve Caballero as a tiny kid who’s helmet looked half as big as his whole body! I was there for many firsts and some amazing early contests and as I write this, I think, what a magical place! To make life long friends, witness history in the making and rack up so many good times and memories? I consider myself blessed to have been part of it.

If I close my eyes I can hear the pinball machines, the sound of wheels in the keyhole, taste the junk food and smell the vinyl of the highball court… well maybe that’s not such a good memory.