This is for my cousin Brian, who is also one of Waldina’s grandsons, and who has recently taken up skateboarding.
Skater Kilian Martin and filmmaker Brett Novak aren’t the first people to make a skate video at the old Lake Dolores/Rock-a-Hoola Waterpark out in Newberry Springs (Rob Dyrdek skated there for his MTV show Rob & Big), but their video, via Eric Spiegelman, is so awesome because it also manages to eulogize the urban ruins. Lake Dolores Waterpark existed in one form another from the 1960s through 2004; it was originally built by businessman Bob Byers for his family, to accompany his manmade Lake Dolores. Since it closed in 2004, a lot of the park has been dismantled and vandalized. What’s so awesome about this video is that it stitches together killer skating footage with film from when the waterslides were still full of water and people. As Spiegelman writes, “This place where people once gathered to enjoy life is now abandoned and rotting in the desert sun. One skater takes it upon himself to bring the uplifting spirit of pleasant diversion to its rightful home, and he does so with greater skill than most people possess.”
Halfway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, off a desolate stretch of Interstate 15, rows of palm trees, peach stucco buildings and ’50s-themed billboards rise from the Mojave Desert. On the hill behind them are scattered staircases that lead to nowhere and a water tower painted like a Coca-Cola can, to attract a sponsor that never came.
With three names and four owners over the last 50 years, this water park in the middle of nowhere has been plagued by bankruptcies, allegations of embezzlement and a tragedy that left a former employee paralyzed.