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"When the ratio of skaters to metalheads gets out of whack, that's when everything gets put at risk."

For four years an empty pool on the Pala Indian Reservation has been a haven for skateboarders. Known as Pala Pool, the owner of the property has allowed professional and amateur skaters to use the pool for free. One skater who didn't want to be identified says live bands that now play poolside may be ruining it for the skaters.

"The band-scene party thing has been going on for a couple of years. There now seems to be more long-haired rocker dudes and less skaters. Once you get beyond the [skater] element, you're in trouble."

On occasional weekend nights, bands will show up and play on gear powered by a generator. Local bands Nihilist and Wrecking Crew, Orange County's Skatanic Rednecks, and Cheerleader 666 from Canada have played the Pala Bowl in the past few months.

The skater said perfect skate meccas are "few and far between. There was a pool in Palm Desert called the Nude Bowl. What caused the death of the Nude Bowl [in 2000] was when promoters got involved and started doing parties there. It was the wrong crowd and the wrong scene. They didn't have respect for what the Nude Bowl was. It was a skater sanctuary in the desert that got snuffed by parties. Pala [Bowl] is not a whole lot different."

The skater suggests Oceanside-based Transworld Skateboarding magazine is inadvertently playing a part in bringing down Pala Bowl. "Those guys aren't pool skaters," he said of the magazine's staff. "It's just not their scene." He said a recent www.skateboarding.com photo spread called "Party of the Year" drew tons of nonskating metalheads. "They brought in a lot of nonskaters. If you want to have a band play in a vacant dirt lot somewhere for a party, that's fine, but Pala [Pool] is not a place like that. You have to treat a place like that with respect.

"The Indian who owns the pool lives a half-mile away. Now he is starting to post signs about age limits and capacity. It is a result of all the partying and not because of the skating. He's been nothing but generous to us, but I think his patience for this is waning."

Because the pool is on an Indian reservation, it is not frequently patrolled by police. Though, the skater said, "One time the sheriffs were on a pursuit looking for someone. They burst in with shotguns and treated us as suspects."

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