Friday, 10 November 2017

Skateboarding in Crystal Palace Park

To celebrate the new skateboard park in Crystal Palace Park we asked Ian Borden, the Chair of Friends of Crystal Palace Skatepark, to tell us a little bit about the history of Skateboarding in the park and the unique design of the new skatepark

'By 1976 skateboarding was booming throughout the UK. Hundreds of thousands of skateboards were sold, and youngsters all over the country were taking up the new sport. In London, one of the main centres for skateboarding was Crystal Palace Park, where the wide paths and gentle slopes provided a perfect place for riders to practice their new art. And in 1977, the Park was the setting for the first ever British National Skateboarding Championships, gaining massive national media coverage.

In the 1980s, Crystal Palace Park continued as a major venue for skateboarding, this time as the setting for a famous wooden half-pipe – a 2.5m high stand-alone ramp construction upon which some of the UK’s best skateboarders performed death-defying moves. This half-pipe even attracted pro riders from the USA, and was a lynch-pin of the UK skateboarding community.

The wide paths of the Park also provided for slalom riders, and in 1982 hosted the “Euro 82” slalom competition, attracting many international riders. And throughout the 1990s and 2000s, longboarders have continued to use some of the Path’s steeper paths, enjoying high speeds and dramatic drifting turns.

In short, for over 40 years Crystal Palace Park has been one of most important locations for UK skateboarding, welcoming a diverse range of riders of all abilities, styles and interests.

This is the history which the new Crystal Palace skatepark builds upon. The unique design here is the product of an intensive collaboration between skatepark firm Canvas, Kinnear Landscape Architects and local riders, blending a highly contemporary approach with references to the historic context of the Park.

At one end sits an advanced cloverleaf pool, complete with swimming pool-style stone coping and tiling. In the middle is an L-shaped steel- coping bowl, particularly suited to skilled transition riders, and offering a multitude of hips and curves. And at the other end of the skatepark is a large mellow section, aimed at those of all abilities and riding styles, and for those just seeking to explore different lines and speeds. BMX, quad-skating, rollerblading, scootering and skateboarding have all been considered in this design, and riders of all ages and abilities will be very welcome.

All this is due to be rideable before Christmas 2017, and an official launch event is scheduled for Easter Saturday, 31 March 2018.

 A new community group – the Friends of Crystal Palace Skatepark – has been formed to act as the community hub for the skatepark facility.'


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