In part 1 of Concrete Mixers and Famous Concrete Skateparks, we learnt a little bit about some of the world’s best concrete bowls, skate plazas and sports zones. Skateparks from Guangzhou, California, Bright, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and the Cayman Islands showed a diverse array of skating features and architectural designs. But one thing they all had in common was the masterful and innovative ways in which they used cement mixers to create urban utopias and cultural hives and networks. If you’d like to learn more about the many other influential skateparks globally, and how cement mixers brought them to life, then read this article.
Vancouver Plaza, Vancouver, Canada
What was once a piece of underutilised, dilapidated industrial land underneath the Georgia Street viaduct has now been transformed into an acclaimed and internationally recognised skateboarding destination. With the help of the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition, the Vancouver Police Service, and the surrounding community, feedback forums were held to determine how the space could be best redesigned to serve locals. Based on their input, it was understood that the best way to maintain the place’s authentic urban experience and history while accommodating new skaters was to recreate the existing infrastructure onsite. In 2005, this urban renewal project was recognised by the Canadian Society of landscape architects for its success, and it received a Regional Honor Award.
The Vancouver Skateboard Coalition was a key player in these discussions. Their goal is to contribute to policy-making and influence initiatives that affect the skateboarding community in Vancouver, thereby improving skateboarding sites and conditions. The Vancouver Skateboard Coalition is one of the older organisations in Canada, helping with infamous park redesigns such as the China Creek skate park, the Hastings Skatepark, and the Downtown Skate Plaza. They were also integral in advocating for the legalisation of skateboarding in Vancouver during legal battles in 2003.
With a focus on maximising the limited budget and maintaining the energy of the space, engineers were brought in to identify appropriate skate routes around and on the site. It was officially constructed in 2004 and became the first Street plaza skatepark to date. Street skateparks are built with the intention of accommodating skateboarders who would like to perform tricks around obstacles typically found in the street, such as rails, staircases, and ledges. The Vancouver Skate Plaza design mimics urban plazas in most large cities, and it is approximately 26 000 square feet in size.
Skatepark Los Reyes, Santiago, Chile
The Mapocho river in Chile flows from a source at the confluence of the San Francisco River and Molina River in the Andes mountains range in South America, the largest continental mountain range in the world, all the way through and along the western edge of South America. The river runs through Santiago, Chile’s Capital and one of the largest cities in America, dividing it into two sides. Skatepark Los Reyes, also known as Parque de Los Reyes, is situated on the south bank of the Mapocho River and extends all the way to Quinta Normal, awarding itself with the title of being one of the most scenic skateparks in the world. The park was built in 1992 and is one of the city’s oldest skateboarding sites.
The 2000 square metre skatepark is one feature of many cultural hubs in the area, including a sports centre, a 4000 square metre pool and flea market, and an Experimental Art Centre known as Perrera Arte. You can also find more historical sites such as The Bulnes Bridge Memorial, The Memory Wall and the Jual Alsina Square, all of which commemorate the Chilean military regime. The Skatepark is made from concrete, and poured with cement mixers, making the terrain smooth and safe for skaters, both young and old. The park features a massive snake run and a well-sized street section.
Skateboarders can expect to try out features such as curbs, manual pads, quarterpipes, funboxes, handrails, flat rails, kickers, roll-ins, spines, hubbas, banks, ledges, bowls, mini ramps, wallrides, stairs and lights. The park offers skate lessons to beginners, and there is a nearby skate shop to provide equipment and gear. Other popular skateparks nearby include the Jose Manuel Balmaceda skatepark, the Parque Bustamante Skatepark and the Skatepark Diagonal Santiago. The site went down in history when it became the setting for ‘Los Reyes”, a film about two stray dogs – Football and Chola – who circuit the skatepark with young skaters – the film won great acclamation when it was named an IDFA winner for the Special Jury Prize.
Le Bowl Skatepark, Marseille, France
More commonly known as The Bowl of Marseille or Skatepark Du Prado, this is France’s largest outdoor skatepark, and it is internationally known for its deep, graffiti-decorated bowls, multiple vert ramps and seaside location. This skatepark has hosted popular international competitions such as the Orange Masilla Freestyle Cupp, the Pro Bowl Contest, the Quicksilver Bowlride and the Red Bull Bowl Rippers. Designed by Jean-Pierre Collinet, it was constructed on the Prado beaches at Escale Borély, a popular entertainment, cultural and sporting complex in Marseille, in 1991.
The skatepark is open to skateboarders, scooter drivers, inline skaters and BMXers alike. Made from concrete produced by cement mixers, the skatepark features three parts. The first part contains a spine composed of two separated half pipes. The second part consists of three small bowls. The third part is the street section, which has common street skateboarding obstacles.
Marseille is the oldest city in France, having been founded in 600 BC by greek settlers from Phocaea. It is also the second most populous city in France, with a considerably large trading port with access to the Mediterranean Sea. This is a world-renowned park, that is known as one of the best in Europe, coming head to head with Rattenberg in Austria. The part has been featured in films such as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, and Back To The Bowl: a Marseille Skate Legend (2017).
House of Vans, London, United Kingdom
House of Vans epitomises the longstanding skate culture correlated with the Vans brand. With a focus on showcasing the joyous products of street culture, creativity, art music and fashion, House of Vans has created a safe space for sportsmen and anyone else who supports their message and “Off the wall” energy. Made with concrete mixers the park features 30 000 square feet of recreational space, where you can attend a diner, cinema, diner and even some music. Some of the Old Vic tunnels that predated the park’s opening are still to be found there, being used by skaters and thrill seekers along with the ramps.
The venue itself was built in 1966, and it can be found on Leake Street, situated under the London Waterloo railway station to be precise. The space was an underground arts venue and performance space where artists such as Banksy exhibited. In February 2013, the owners of the Old Vic Tunnels performance space announced that they would be auctioning off the venue following 3 years of cultural productions. Vans won the bidding and recreated the space as a skatepark, sports venue and cultural hub, opening it up to the public in the Summer of 2014.
House of Vans is London’s first indoor skatepark, and it has become an integral part of the skating scene. Within two of the tunnels, you can find a massive concrete bowl with an undulating level, as well as two vert extensions. In the other tunnel, skaters can find a street section with a mini ramp, quarter pipe, hips, banks, a ledge, a small half-pipe and another vert extension. The space includes a relaxing area, as well as a skate shop – amongst the many other facilities – so skaters can feel free to use the space and enjoy themselves.
Spring Skatepark, Texas, USA
Known for its massive concrete bowl shaped like the state of texas the Spring skatepark is one of the largest skateparks in North America, coming in at a whopping 78 000 square feet. Noticeably, this park does not accommodate BMXers and it does not offer any on-site facilities such as a cafe or equipment rental bar – however, what it lacks in on-site facilities it makes up for in skate obstacles and park features. Located in North Houston, the park has a 10-foot deep bowl, a 12-foot vertical ramp, a 20-foot full pipe and a snake run pathway, for rollerbladers, skateboarders and quad skaters alike to practice on.
There is also a designated area for street-style skating, where skaters can groove around rails, benches, banks, ledges, stairs and quarter pipes. To accompany these features, you can also find backyard-style pools and not one but three flow bowls engineers and constructed with cement mixers. The design and construction body responsible for the epic design and architecture within the park is Grindline. Grindline is infamous for its work on popular skateparks such as Star Skatepark, Wilkeson Skatepark, Salida Skatepark, North Bend Torguson Skatepark, Tibbett’s Valley Skatepark, Rhodes Park, Louisville Extreme Skatepark and more.
The park cost approximately $5.5 million US dollars to construct, and it opened in April 2014 on Kuykendahl and Ranking Road in Houston. The outdoor park is free to the public and its smooth concrete floors make for good gliding sessions. If you’re ever in Houston, this one is definitely worth checking out.
Top 10 Best Skaters In The World
Some of the world’s best skaters have cruised through these concrete parks, performing legendary tricks and making skate history. Amongst all of the professional skaters, however, there are 10 that stand out – their names are listed below. When visiting these internationally renowned skateparks, make sure to keep an eye out for these iconic frequenters.
- Rodney Mullen
- Tony Hawk
- Bob Burnquist
- Danny Way
- Bucky Lasek
- Eric Koston
- Nyjah Huston
- Andrew Reynolds
- Chris Cole
- Mark Gonzalez
Skateboarding Safety Rules
Now that you know all of the best spots to skate, you can start exploring the world. Grab your board and marvel at the ingenious ways in which cement mixers brought life and adrenaline back to the streets. But before you go, make sure that you are familiar with the safety rules:
- Stay on the designated skate paths and perimeter, don’t skate on the road.
- Always wear a helmet that fits your head snugly.
- Make sure your helmet is either made for multisports or skateboarding.
- Wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads are encouraged, as injuries are common in extreme sports.
- Skating should only be attempted in closed-toe shoes, as open-toed shoes are hazardous and more likely to cause injury.
- Don’t wear headphones during your skate session.
- Never skateboard while it’s raining.
Buy Cement Mixers Today
If you’re a developer, skatepark architect or skateboarding hobbyist with a dream to design and open your own unique park, then consider investing in the right equipment to get the job done. BS Power stocks quality, high-technology equipment. With BS Power’s tools, you can guarantee that your polished floors and smooth flow bowls will provide nothing but the best conditions for your shred.