What makes a good skate park?

A good skate park design should cater for all age groups and abilities. A skate park can be designed for a specific user group such as skateboarders or BMX riders, but it is possible to have a design that will be suitable for all user groups. The size of the skate park needs to be large enough for the likely number of users, which could be quite large in Finchampstead because a lot of people live here. A skate park needs to be professionally designed so that it will keep skaters interested and challenged. The layout of the skate park transitions (ramps, half pipes, grind rails etc.) must be designed to reduce the risk of skaters crashing into each other. What the skate park is made of is very important.

There are several types of material that can be used for the skate park transitions including wood, metal and concrete, and the surface of a skate park can also be made of several types of material including tarmac, skatelite and concrete. Some materials that can be used have drawbacks. For instance wood is easier to vandalise than metal and may suffer more weather damage over time. Tarmac provides a rough surface which slows down skateboards. The ideal material to use for both the transitions and the ground surface is smooth concrete, and in the best skate parks (like those used for all major skateboard competitions) the whole skate park is constructed from sculptured concrete. These are called landscaped concrete skate parks, and they often feature a bowl and street obstacles. As you would expect, the quality of the materials used is reflected in the cost. A skate park constructed of plywood will be relatively cheap to build but may require regular maintenance and may only last a few years. A landscaped concrete skate park will be relatively expensive but will require minimal maintenance, should last for 30 to 50 years and is the preferred surface for skaters. For a link to a site that describes the various types of materials that are available, go to http://www.ukskate.org.uk/The_Skatepark_Process/Providing_for_Skateboarding/06-07._Design_and_Build_20080126521/

An example of what we think is a near-ideal skate park is the landscaped concrete skate park at Harlow in Essex.  This is a large skate park that features a bowl.  It has flood lighting to allow maximum use to made of the facility.  It is very popular with the local skateboarders, BMXers and in-line skaters, and attracts people from far and wide.  Here are some pictures of the Harlow skate park: