THE SKATEPARK FOUNDATION  
how to get a skatepark in your town
 

WHY CONCRETE?

 

ONLY CONCRETE WILL DO FOR AN OUTDOOR SKATEPARK

The only material you should choose for your outdoor skatepark is concrete.  Concrete, concrete, concrete. Specifically, free form concrete.  Not the pre-cast concrete type which is when sections are made elsewhere and put into place on site.  Free form concrete.  It will provide the best user experience, the most flexibility in design, and the best value for money long term.

Free form concrete. Nothing else will do.  Got that?  Cool.

 

WHAT SKATEPARKS USED TO BE CONSTRUCTED FROM IN THE UK

In the 1990’s and early 2,000’s …. skateparks in the UK were usually steel or wooden framed, covered in sheets of wood, steel, fibreglass, or some other sort of plastic composite. These skatepark features were then unimaginatively placed at either end of a rectangle or tarmac. Not a very satisfactory user experience, and not very suitable to British weather conditions.

Before not too long, these surfaces would wear, the fixings that hold them in place would fail, and the sheets covering the features would lift, leading to a poor riding experience and presenting a danger to the user. Such ramps are inappropriate for long term outdoor public use.

We do realise that all skaters will remember some fun times of such ramps and features, and that they served a purpose back then....... but if you're going to built one now, why not build it the best way possible.

 

CLASSIC 1970's UK SKATEPARKS

You are probably aware that there were some concrete skateparks built in the UK in the 1970's that still exist. A fair few of them were demolished at a time when there there was deemed to be a decline in the interest in the sport.

Stockwelll in Brixton, Romford in Essex, Harrow in north-west London are examples of skateparks built in that decade. Sadly, concrete just wasn't the usual construction method.

Years of development of the skatepark construction process in the U.S. has led to an internationally accepted construction method that is far more technical than before. We'll call this the New Wave of concrete skateparks, that started in the UK in 2006 / 2007.

 

SADLY WE STILL SOMETIMES SEE THE WRONG MATERIALS USED TODAY

Even to this day, we have seen Councils proceeding with old-style modular skatepark ramps, usually with a metal frame and covered with a plastic composite.  We recently heard of one Council who were spending £70,000 on such ramps.  This saddens us deeply.  It is a poor product with a relatively short lifespan - a waste of hard-earned money.

For such a sum of money, a well designed small concrete skatepark can be created.

These poor steel, wood or plastic materials are commonly presented to parish, town or city council administrators by non-concrete suppliers as low-cost alternatives to cast-in-place concrete. This material being chosen for a new skatepark occurs due to a lack of knowledge, or a misguided belief that there are doing the right thing, or maybe they think they are saving money.

It can also occur because the local authority has not consulted with the people that will actually use the skatepark, something that is crucial in the creation of successful of skatepark.

 

WORK CLOSELY WITH YOUR COUNCIL TO ENSURE CONCRETE IS USED

The choice of the incorrect materials for a skatepark can still happen even with the involvement of the skatepark users. The advocates have done their work, but a well-meaning Councillor or Council worker in charge of finding bidders to create the new skatepark project might have a lack of understanding and therefore be coordinating with a ramp supplier - without consulting and listening the experienced skateboarders and BMX riders in the community - thinking simply that they were exploring reasonable low-cost alternatives.

The critical decision to go with a material other than concrete should never be trusted to someone that has not fully investigated the issue. Skatepark advocates must repeatedly remind their council of the sustainability and design values of free-form concrete early and often, and continue to press the issue. Be frank about the likelihood of non-concrete materials being considered when the bid package is being created and highlight their failings.


ONLY USE WOOD IF YOU WANT AN INDOOR SKATEPARK

We are fully aware that there is a place for wood for indoor facilities. There are some of the fantastic indoor skateparks in the UK.  The difference here is that the wood is not exposed to the elements of British weather, primarily, water in the form of rain and snow.




ARTICLES RELATED TO THIS SECTION

Start a Facebook page

Start a Petition for your Skatepark

Form a Skatepark Group

Have a Skatepark Group meeting

Write a Mission Statement

Contact a Skatepark Company for Designs of Parks they've built