On May 28, Spring Valley resident Camille Cruz was one of 1.1 million-plus viewers that saw a Chula Vista-filmed skate video on TikTok.
“My past self applauds the kids for sneaking into the [Aquatica] waterpark,” she said to me June 1, “however it was quite naive and immature of them to have the guts to post it onto social media, immediately.”
The majority of the viewers outside of the TikTok app were not as impressed with the “kids” depicted climbing a barbed wire fence, then skateboarding in an empty and “psychedelic” looking six-story funnel ride, called Tassie’s Twister.
“While Aquatica is temporarily closed because of COVID-19, the park is monitored 24/7,” said SeaWorld and Aquatica spokeswoman Kelly Terry in a statement posted by ABC10 News. “Our security team has caught trespassers in the park and notified the Chula Vista Police Department. Citations have been issued because trespassing is a misdemeanor crime. If property is damaged, it can be a felony.”
“I truly don’t blame kids/teens acting out,” Cruz said, “they feel the need to do something thrilling.”
Cruz, 28, is a veterinary assistant who rides an electric skateboard; she admits that in her teen years, after school, she trespassed into Aquatica when it was called “Soak City” and into the BFGoodrich lot on H Street in Chula Vista — to skate the forbidden terrains and grind and ollie onto their non-skateboard protected surfaces.
“This lockdown is torture: I can’t go to parks without fear of being stopped by an officer, whether it’s to skate, or to even walk around.”
“They should reopen our skateparks and give skateboarders a place to go,” suggested a Chula Vista resident that lives up the hill from Aquatica, which is about 2.8 miles west of the 805 and Main St. exit.
“But [skate] parks are nowhere to even matching what you can do on the streets,” commented Chris on Facebook, “and it’s more of an issue that they can’t skate anywhere else.”
About three years ago, I wrote a Reader article about our City “knobbing” our park bench with “$17-$21 skateboard prevention devices.”
“Parks are closed and the streets have anti-skateboarding designs everywhere …. and they’ve run out of good places to skate,” Chris continued.
I spoke to Nye, a skateboarder in his 40s that skates our Cherokee Point and North Park neighborhoods. “I still do the same stuff,” he told me on June 1, “we are always trying to find good spots like those kids — that’s a part of our lifestyle, bro. Back in the day, skaters used to sneak into empty pools around town, and I wasn’t there, but my friend told me they skated in Archie Moore’s empty pool during a drought.”
“The boxing champ, Archie Moore?” I asked, “like they trespassed into his Southeast pad, and everything?”
“Naw, man, he told me that Archie let them in, and allowed them to skate in the pool, he said Archie was cool with it.”
“Now that I’m older, honestly, sometimes I don’t want to walk or skate around parts of town, and if I cut into [a restricted] area — it’s mostly to save time.”
“You rock a face mask when you skate?” I asked.
“I wear it around my neck, then when I approach a crowd, I pull it up to cover my face, out of respect ….. but it’s hard to skate with a mask on because it's hard to breathe. I noticed that many of these kids and adults that skate, don’t care to wear masks.”
On May 20, ABC10 News reported of a skateboarder skating on a Mount Soledad memorial in La Jolla.
“Well technically, they were skating on the top, and weren’t defacing the letters on the front,” Nye opined.
“Skating on monuments itself is very disrespectful,” Cruz responded, “regarding historical objects and property, there’s an unwritten rule not to skate on them.”
As this article goes to print, the city of San Diego website states: “In order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all skate parks are CLOSED until further notice.”
“Surprisingly there is a skate spot next to the Aquatica water park,” Cruz said, “it’s known to the locals as the Big Bowl. And speaking from personal experience, my parents were always working, leaving me and my older brother by ourselves walking home after school. With that, I took the opportunity to do whatever I wanted, with my parents not knowing what I was up to after school. I remember skating from my high school to J Street Marina in Chula Vista and it was always an adventure skating from point A to point B; it didn’t matter the location.”
On the same day the Aquatica video was brought to light, an Imperial Beach resident reported of Sheriff deputies interviewing 5-6 teenagers outside of their nearby skatepark.