The Modesto Heat Wave Skate Park Local Legends!

Modesto California’s Local Skateboard Pioneers, ‘The Rumble Pool Crew’

In the late 70’s and early 80’s the Modesto skate scene grew in popularity and skateboarding in general blew up nation wide. The local skateboarders of Modesto stepped up to the challenge and pioneered Central Valley’s early skateboarding history in the young extreme sports arena, making concrete waves on all terrains through out California.

The Heat Wave skateboard park was home to the area’s best skaters such as brothers Mike and Paul Brown, Mike Bettencourt, Richard & Erick Jackson, Rich Monday, Marc Johnson, John Proctor, Mike Feuerstein and the Harrison brothers, Rick and Rob. The park locals came together to represent the growing skateboarding scene in California and helped pioneer a new and rapid growing independent sport and original art form known as skateboarding. The popular Heat Wave skate park was located in the Beno’s shopping center, at the front of this busy parking lot complex, which was located on the north side of Modesto, on the towns main street McHenry Avenue.

The Heat Wave Skatepark 1977

Unfortunately, due to  high insurance costs and several pending law suits popping up across California in 1980,The Heat Wave skate park was forced to close after a few short years of it’s existence and was never to open again and shortly after, finally bulldozed.

10026The Extreme Empty Bowl, ‘The Rumble Pool’ Created Local Skateboard Legends

Now without a home to exercise their creative skate talents, the locals gathered together again after the Heat Wave park era, at an abandoned swimming pool named after it’s address on Rumble Rd. and Prescott Ave, simply called the Rumble pool crew. This hot spot was not for the light weight skateboarders of the day, for this pool had extreme conditions for even the best area skaters. The epic skate spot had a steep 10 foot vertical deep end with a slick surface, and tight flat bottom, the pool needless to say was very fast and unforgiving, but the pioneers of vertical skating rode this empty pool for all it’s worth and kept things local for those who came passing through Modesto’s hardcore crew.

10017Mike ‘Rodent’ Brown, Rare Hand Plants At The Rumble Pool

After a couple hard hitting skate years at the Rumble pool it all came to a close when the property sold and the city of Modesto filled the bowl with dirt. Apparently the real estate sold to a new church organization and this was the end of an amazing skateboarding spot where only local rules applied.

10031The ‘Rodent’ Carving The Steep & Deep Rumble Pool Coping

The Mo-Town gang didn’t have too many options after loosing the epic empty bowl, but still needed to fill their vertical riding desires, so they began street skating around their hometown and were limited to fence jumping late at night to skate the recently closed ‘Heat Wave’ skatepark, which was still awaiting a date with destruction.

10018Rich Monday Tail Block On His D.I.Y. Back Yard Half Pipe Ramp

Mike Brown had a quarter pipe in his front yard and with the closed skate park being set to be destroyed by the city of Modesto, skate sessions commenced daily on Rodents DIY built quarter pipe. Rich Monday talked his mother into building a $10,000 back yard half pipe, built by his carpenter step father. This half pipe ramp would be one of many ramps to pop up in Modesto and skateboarding had again taken another approach to the extreme art form known as vertical skateboarding. This was the dawn of the backyard skateboard ramp era and half pipe ramps went up virtually everywhere across the United States, with California leading the way in the fast growing skateboard industry. Skateboarding was back and growing in popularity and even with all the changes happening, skateboarding appeared to be alive and well again, thriving long and hard over a period of about 10 years.

10029Richard Jackson Frontside Channel Air At Sacramento’s Clarksville Ramp

Road trips through out Northern California were made weekly by the Modesto boys and they visited all the neighboring towns ramps like Stockton, Sacramento, Fresno and the bay area town San Leandro, home of famous Joe Lope backyard half pipe. That ramp was home to the professional skateboarding elite riders. There were many hot spots up and down the golden coastline and the talented nor-cal skate crew from Modesto California took advantage of the national ramp boom by skating nearly every single day.

10021Rich Monday Backside Air At The Infamous ‘Fresno Ark’ Ramp

10019Marc ‘Squid’ Johnson Carves A Local Modesto Hotel Pool

Within the crews mind set came the constant desire to take skateboarding to a higher level. Entering the competition world meant joining organizations such as The CASL and The NSA. The skate parks that had competition at a higher level were all down in Southern California, so the boys traveled weekly to the so-cal skate parks, starting their quest towards obtaining the necessary skateboard sponsorship’s required for the costs of traveling at the amateur level. The Rumble pool crew remained tight and always kept their eyes on the prize of being a professional skateboarder and being able to travel the world doing what they loved as a job.

10024Mike Brown Plants An Invert At The ‘Fresno Ark’


RatMike ‘Rat’ Feuerstein With A Sweeper At The  Modesto ‘Nut Ramp’

These days the Modesto skater boys have reunited online through the Internet using social media and at annual skateboarding events. Some of them still have skateboarding brewing in their veins and still ride skateboards to this very day, well into their 40’s and 50’s.

Long live the pioneers of vertical skateboarding, all hail the Modesto local skateboard legends of Central Valley California, thanks for the memories!

-John Andersen


9 thoughts on “The Modesto Heat Wave Skate Park Local Legends!

  1. I am now 54. I had one of the first ten skate park IDs. I remember saving for my board and bringing it home on the back of my dad’s motorcycle. I never could get the hang of skating in a park though, or doing cartwheels. Lol

    Later in my late teens, early 20’s I recall hanging out at some of the backyard half pipes in Modesto… Amazed at the athletic ability and talent. At that time it wasn’t even on my radar that this would become a sport…. I was simply hanging with girlfriends watching the boys.

  2. Pingback: The Modesto Heat Wave Skate Park Local Legends! | Punx In Solidarity Blog

    • Well thanks for noticing the miss spelling regarding Mr. Mike Feuerstein aka, RAT. To me that means somebody cared enough to read this little article about the original Modesto skate crew and took the time to help my aging memory of the great sk80’s era we all loved and remember. An edit is in order and stop by anytime. Thanks again!

  3. Great article!
    Very accurate with the nick names too. Don’t forget about “Patterson Pipe”. Mark has some pics of Rodent skating it.
    Thanks for your work.

  4. That was a hoot reading this slice of Modesto in the 80’s. I remember Marc Johnson (being a little older then the rest ) driving Rodent , Rat and the rest of the crew all over the valley to pipes, pools, canals etc. in his little Fiat. Finally moving to Tahoe to pioneer the next wave…….snowboarding.

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