This article was written by Dave Rebus
Skateparks: PROs and CONs
Reasons to have a skatepark
- No unsightly, timid, complacent, pale, politically correct citizens to
- Depending on what your type of terrain is, if it's built from your input
then it rules (provided you get real updates)
- Unfortunately for some purists, as the number of pro models encreases
year after year, the contest scene will get more and more important as
time goes by. Experience on all kinds of transitions helps would-be
contest ragers a lot. May even provide some of you beginners out there
with a fulfilling job some day.
- If there's a food area, pool tables, viewing area, etc., then you've got
a regular hang-out on your hands. Some of you more hormone-enslaved
skaters might even meet the hook-up of your dreams at a well designed
- Notwithstanding the above, my idea of a park is something either out in
the country or in the desert, away from the diorama we call society. So
that can be a heaven too.
Reasons NOT to have said skatepark
- Most people at a beginner/intermediate level think not in terms of lines,
but in line-ups. I don't know how those signals got crossed, but running
into someone waiting in line or even being forced to become the snake are
not my idea of fun. Especially if I'm paying to skate
- Paying? Did someone mention paying? As if! I'm already paying all kinds
of income taxes. One more tax, especially on skateboarding, is not the
solution. Especially if the streets are free. The day I pay to skate is
the day they actually offer something that was impossible for me to find
in the public domain.
- On the other hand, a public park is usually an insurance nightmare, and
public officials are notoriusly less adept at working around such
difficulties (exception- Benecia public "ampitheatre") I'll definitely
wear pads if I ever rode vertical, but I don't feel I need all that gear
to safely navigate a PVC bench or mellow pyramid hip.
- A plywood park with bad maintainance and/or obstacle refreshment (in case
of a street course) will soon a defunct park be.
- Which leads me to an important reason I skate--- *freedom*!!! Skating in
a closed space is not my idea of freedom, although when I'm in a contest,
that's almost always the case; a confined space.
- But, one might say, aren't you being a little unfair to those who
actually chose ramps to skate? I respond, the DYI ethic is the best way.
Ever heard of something called the Burnside Project?
- Remember, if there is any kind of alternative to skater owned ramps and
public streets (as well as backyard pools and desert pipes), the very
existence of such an option would strengthen the authorities' position on
free skating. Especially skating so close to the average pedestrian/car
dependent I mentioned above. Because the argument "where else we gonna do
it?" just doesn't ring quite as loud to the Man with even a low calibre
public excuse for a park in city limits.
- If the park is *too* successful as a hang-out it can all too often become
a haven for the weak minded jellyfish we call Cliquers. Cliquers are
amazing and fascinating enough of a species to warrant a whole
post-secondary academic *journal* on the topic. Their mating habits, call,
rituals and even multi-staffed predatory to prey ratios are truly a wonder
to behold. If this message wasn't about something intelligent they might
even get more of my attention then they've already gotten. Bottom line-
kids/beginners can't stand this, and negative vibes from skater to skater
have caused more bitter ex-skaters and irate voting-age parents then
anything else has.
Call me a bitter old man if you will and can't vote yet, but I myself gave
up the idea of trying to institutionalize my art/sport years ago. As more
and more mainstreamers hop on the bandwagon, I pessimistically believe
they'll do good enough damage themselves. (I still have faith in the
Visalia Y though).