The Ultimate Skateboard Pipe
In 1965, skateboarding was a full-blown fad. The fad raced from the west coast to the east, and soon there was skateboarding in Central Park. The first big wave of skateboarding is as a surf-related activity, in California, but also in Florida, also in Australia. There’s a great similarity between the sport of skateboarding and the sport of surfing. And it’s basically people pretending they’re on an ocean wave.
40 miles east of Los Angeles, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains near Claremont, is a pipe. Its job is to funnel water from the San Antonio dam into this channel, which borders Los Angeles County. This pipe might look like any other scattered across the West, but in the world of skateboarding, it’s a mecca. It is called the Baldy Pipe, also known as the San Antonio Dam and Old Baldy, but the Baldy Pipe is how it is most commonly referred to as.
The Mt.Baldy Pipe is a 15′ tall and approx 200 yards long full pipe that has been skated by the best since 1969. The downside of this spot is when it rains it becomes un-skatable. The full pipe’s primary function is to move water from the top of the mountain to a lower water reservoir. The pipe can still be pretty rough, so we advise those making heading to nirvana to bring a couple of brooms to sweep away any garbage and rocks before riding.
To get to the pipe from Mountain Ave in Claremont, Ca go all the way up to Mt. Baldy Road. Park at the construction site with small pipes and a shed. Take the trail down to the left where the fenced-off construction area is closest to the hill. At the bottom of the channel entrance, there’s a legendary gap that sort of rite of passage. You have to jump over it if you’re going to be a true Baldy participant. Or you can traverse a log ‘bridge’. The Baldy Pipe is one of the hundreds, if not thousands of legendary skate spots around the world that are hidden but in plain sight.
The Baldy pipe is a place that you can ride till your dead tired. It is a small hike to get there but it is so rewarding when you find this gem hidden in the hills. It is also a place where you can run into other skaters that have heard of this legendary spot.
To be a pipe skater you need to know that the bottom concrete of the pipe is rough because of the water running there for parts of the years, so use large and soft wheels.
For skateboarders, it is paradise. Images of skaters riding its 15-foot cavernous walls turned this pipe into a skateboarding landmark. It wasn’t just photos, the Baldy pipe was also featured in skate films.