" hErOEs On whEEls " ™

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editor's note:
Tea Bowls

* Outdoor: 'Crete
* Free
* Unskateable...
* Rating: "Honor its greatness"

One of the goals of this site is to save you time trying to skate spots that really suck. That's what the pictures are for. The Tea Bowls in SB are just such a spot. This place is a secret for a good reason, while it used to be "a lot of fun," it's currently all bark, no bite.

The story begins, as I understand it, with some freaky dude named Henry Bothin. He bought the property in 1916 and had these "elaborate waterworks" developed as a little entertainment spot for all his little friends. While the waterworks ARE maniacally extensive, they're barely attractive and feature seriously ghetto construction and mismatched materials. You'd have to be insane to spend that much money [must have cost a fortune!] to build something that turned out so half-assed.

Having lived in SB for a while now, I've heard a bunch of rumors [mostly from posers and the non-skating crowd] about what an awesome skate spot the Tea Bowls were/are. Here's a quote from an old article I saved:

"The property attracted countless skateboarders who took advantage of its empty, stone-and-concrete reservoirs to practice their sport."

I've been there twice now, and it seemed like hype to me. Or so I thought...

Update: About a month after I posted the initial review of this spot, we received an email from Joe Capra:

"I recently read your stupid review of the Tea Bowls in Santa Barbara. You must either be too young to have been to Tea Bowls in its prime, or you are just an idiot."

["Idiot" - that's awesome!]

"Tea Bowls was amazing back in the day - huge walls and transitions, hips, bowls and more - but then the city and cops found out about it and that tons of skaters would skate there on a daily basis. They deposited huge concrete blocks into the bowls and also blew huge holes in the walls destroying most of it."

"You should change your review of Tea Bowls and honor its greatness, not fucking rip on it."

- Joe Capra: Dec'01

Daaaahhhhmm - we gotta call Joe, "the bus driver," 'cause he just "took us to school" on that one. After looking at the killer old school pic Joe sent in [see below!], I do stand corrected on what this place once WAS - 'cause it looks like it WAS fun! However, the CURRENT state of the Tea Bowls is as we previously described it - unskateable. Many thanks to Joe for straightening us out and adding to this community's collective knowledge of transition.

The bowls that were once skateable are now obviously broken down and filled w/ dirt. The rest of the "pools" are square boxes - no transition at all. For a very brief look at some attempted modern day riding at this place, I think the skate video "Grenade" [by the HomeSlice Crew - great vid, by the way] has about 2 seconds of footage of somebody trying to skate it, but that's it.

So that's the story. This review is the only one of its kind [that I know of], and will hopefully help to bury this rumor in the dirt next to old Henry Bothin himself. This place is NOT a skatespot anymore. Coincidentally, I thought I'd seen the "Tea Bowls" in skate ads before, but what I was really looking at in those ads was the Jungle Bowl. Ha.

Directions: No way. It's not skateable anyway, but beyond that, it's a nice place... very little broken bottles or graffiti [I DO appreciate good graf, but not in places like this.] If you find yourself kicking around this spot, show some respect and leave it like you found it.

...scroll down for pics

[ click pix to enlarge ]

^ Part of the Tea Bowls, this
is the most skateable pool in old
Henry's collection of unskateable
pools - SEE BELOW for a pic of this
bowl in action.

^ "Here is a picture of Tea Bowls
a few years after its prime, and
after the cops and city of Santa
Barbara got their hands on it.
Unskateable in its current state,
and has been for a few years now."
[Photo/Comments: Joe "bus driver" Capra]

^ The majority of the
pools NEVER were skate- able.

^ See that trough
coming down thru
this shot? At one
point, that lunatic
had water running
along the road from
top to bottom. About
a mile. Crazy.

^ I think there are about
12 pools altogether...
There's also a weird
'amphitheater' that's
pretty much completely
beat down, but still
reminds you of Atlantis
as you creep up the hill.

^ Here's the "lowest",
and the biggest, of the
pools... and yes, it too
is obviously unskateable.

^ When these soft core
party goers hit the top
of the hill, they'd have
"tea" overlooking SB at
this spot...

[ click pix to enlarge ]

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