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Rock ‘n’ rollin’ the great outdoors

By Staff | Mar 26, 2015

Half pipes. Trick boxes. Vert ramps. Pyramids. Rails. Got any idea where these might be? If you guessed a skate park, you are right on the mark. You will find these features and more at skate parks around the country.

Skate parks are a product of the 1970s. At that time, skating was all the rage and many parks were created for the enjoyment of the sport. While some were set outdoors, others were built indoors in regions with extreme climates. Several of the skate parks were private and charged admission fees; others were public and charged no admission fees.

Because of high insurance premiums, rising land values and poor designs, many of the skate parks built in the 1970s were eventually shut down and either destroyed or transformed into more profitable structures. A few survived, but the concept of skate parks didn’t really take off again until the 1990s.

After legislation was passed in the 1990s that prevented municipalities from being liable for skateboarders’ injuries, many communities took a chance on the concept again and built new skate parks. The majority of these parks were built in stages through a process called “design/build,” which was geared toward providing skateboarders with continuous lines.

With the multitude of skate parks now available, it can be difficult to decide where to go. Those fortunate enough to live in a region with several parks should look for one with a variety of obstacles for ages and abilities of all types. They should also make sure the park meets these safety requirements:

– Offers a properly designed structural under-framing

– Uses durable equipment with no sharp corners or puckering of seams

– Anchors obstacles securely in place

– Aligns panels with obstacles and sets copings 3/8 inch or less

– Provides ample distance between obstacles, allowing for good approaches and landings

– Surrounds equipment with three-foot safety rails

– Maintains premises well

The best skate parks provide hours of safe fun for skateboarders of all ages. Should you or someone you know decide to go to one, make sure it meets the safety requirements. Skateboarding is risky enough without adding an unsafe park to the mix.