Words || Jack Wills
The amorphous world of skateboarding is maintained by the equally evolving cultures and industries that are a part of it. Come this involvement from the grimy street-styles of delinquent hood rats, high end fashion’s appropriation in jeans with blown knees and tattered tees, or with corporate giants like Rebull honing in on our cash cow of a sport, it’s a safe bet that we will see our four wheeled friend making an appearance in most settings.
Since coming to fruition in California circa the 50s, skateboarding has done nothing but grow and flourish, and now it’s as if the modern day is skateboarding’s 21st birthday. Skating is finally a full grown adult and our century is it’s rowdy party, but we all know you can’t turn 21 without having some of the naughtier stories from your younger years being read out. A big story for our good old friend skateboarding is the notion of the DIY skatepark.
DIY skating is the industry doubling back on itself. Originally, for the lack of alternative, shreadable curbs and dodgy homemade obstacles were the norm, but most populated areas now have skateparks dotted all over. Some of them appear to have been designed by a blind person who thinks a skateboard is a place to hang up a pair of roller skates, but others are wonder parks designed and funded by skater owned companies; still skateboarders have maintained a need to invest themselves into the places they skate. Wonder park or woeful park, skaters have always brought things to the park to mix it up, or found an abandoned lot and concreted to it basically anything they can get their hands on. The DIY skatepark truly exhibits the way that skaters can utilise and ultimately enjoy anything and everything around them.
DIY skateparks tend to have recurring elements, and they’re all a must have for your little piece of personalised heaven. Here a few to get you started on construction your own dream skate spot.
The Pole Jam
If there’s one thing skaters love it’s a pole concreted into the ground at a 45 degree angle (give or take). The pole jam graces most DIY skateparks, and they’re always a treat. Not only fun but quite easily made, just snag a bit of pole, add a cheap bag of concrete and you’re set.
Another stock standard item DIY skateparks are usually dotted with is the faithful couch. Couches are hardly sought after, take a quick minute drive around your suburb and you’ll find plenty of eyesore armchairs from the 80’s and 90’s sitting on the roadside awaiting council collection as their flamboyant prints fade. Any DIY skatepark builder should be more than happy to whisk these derelict chairs away to turn them into something beautiful. To a mere human the couch is simply a seating option, but to a skater a world of possibilities is opened. A challenge for everybody to ollie over, with some slight amateur engineering a ramp option is a certain possibility from the front or the back (or longways for you gnarlier people out there). Otherwise the couch also serves as the perfect object to position in the shade for beer sippin’ with your homies.
The ledge requires the least creative effort, all you have to do is collect a pile of evenly placed junk and pour old mate concrete over it. Literally anything will do, as long as it makes an even surface. Use quick-set concrete and maybe involve one of those concrete trowels to keep it smooth – boom, you just solved a lengthy process for the local council.
The whole point of the DIY is to have fun with it. Putting a part of yourself (not literally, please don’t sacrifice any limbs for your DIY park) into something as malleable as the DIY skatepark makes skating more than a fuck about with mates. Create something crazy, nab that abandoned trolley, buy yourself some easy mix concrete and Robert is your fathers’ brother, you could have yourself one hell of a session. To create is a beautiful thing, and skateboarding has always been about creating. Whether its board graphics, photographs, or places to skate, doing it yourself defines skating. So surrounded yourself with friends and create shabby, skateable bits for that perfect little personal park to call your own. You never know, it could go far further than the sketchy half arsed parks you often see and become a giant self constructed dreamland.