IPS fills up skaters’ needs

September 7, 2005

Tom Inouye and his friends used to drain people’s pools while they were on vacation so they could skate in them — that is, until they got caught.

After that, they would put a sign in the lawn that said “Inouye’s Pool Service” before they drained the pool, to fool the police and passers-by into thinking that they were a pool-cleaning business. They never got caught again.

Ever since then, in the late 70s, Inouye’s Pool Service has been a well-known name in the skate community — Inouye was even named the second-best skater in the world around that same time.

Now Tom Inouye has brought Inouye’s Pool Service to Hood River.

Inouye and his wife, Kathryn, purchased Epoch Skate Shop from Blake and Suzie Richards early this year, and took over operations on June 1. They also renamed the store IPS — Inouye’s Pool Service.

“We’ve upped the inventory and have more inventory geared toward skateboarding,” Inouye said.

Inouye used to work at Windell’s Camp in Welches, Ore., a camp that focuses on skiing, snowboarding and skating. But “things didn’t work out,” he said, and he tried to find his niche.

“I knew Blake and Suzie had this shop, and my wife and I talked about it and approached them about being partners,” Inouye said. “They said they actually wanted to get rid of it, so we made a deal and bought it.”

Inouye started skating because there wasn’t much else for him to do, he said.

“I really wanted to play team sports. But they told me I was too small for football and too short for basketball. So I started to surf and skate,” he said.

What Inouye didn’t know at the time was that his new hobbies would one day make him world famous. In fact, it was pure serendipity that it happened.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I got some photos taken of me, and then I got sponsors and I went around the world.”

He also says that it was one of the best things that ever happened to him. “It got me out of east L.A., and probably literally saved my life,” he said.

Inouye now produces skateboards under the IPS label, and is giving his gift to the rest of the world. “I try to build a skate park in every town I live in,” he said. “It’s time to give it back to the kids.”


IPS is located at 1225 Wasco St. and is open from

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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