We couldn’t choose just one park from the birthplace of skateboarding, so here are two choices. For glamour and unbeatable photos, get your tricks at Venice Beach, where vert is king. For authentic street style with lots of space and a few less show-offs, head to Stoner Skate Plaza — named for the street it’s on, not that other thing. Stoner was designed by local skaters, with replica features from the courthouse down the road.
2. For skate history and DIY freedom
In an industrial hide-away under the Burnside Bridge you’ll find the first ever DIY concrete skatepark. It started in the ‘90s, when locals were looking for a dry spot to skate in the notoriously rainy Pacific Northwest. They used a couple bags of cement to build a bank into the bridge pillar, and the renegade skatepark was born. The park took a great leap forward when construction began on the nearby I84 onramp, and skaters convinced cement truck drivers to empty any unwanted materials under the bridge. Burnside continues to grow and change, and as an unsanctioned park it’s important to watch out for hazards — the entire park is made by amateur builders.
3. For the ocean adventure
Originally built in 2002, this Orcas Island park received some much-needed repairs in 2017, so you can count on smooth riding. It was built by some of the best skatepark designers in the world, and memorializes a local skater who, among other things, skated a halfpipe on his dad’s fishing boat. The Scott Stamnes Memorial Skatepark isn’t on a boat, but you do have to take a boat to get there. Plus the park itself is only a mile away from the ocean, making it easy to cap off a day of skating with sun-soaked summer swims.
4. For forest scenery and tons of space
A recent million-dollar upgrade at the Whistler Skate Park merged three older parks into one 4,600-square-metre paradise. The municipality worked directly with local skaters to make sure the design lived up to the high standards of BC’s mecca of adrenaline sports. The setting is distinctly west coast, next to a creek and surrounded by giant evergreens (along with other drainage and pavement upgrades, deciduous trees were removed so there’d be fewer leaves on the concrete). The park has a strict no-bike policy (kilometres of trails and bike parks are right next door), which means you don’t have to worry about gravel on the fresh concrete.
5. For fresh tracks and wheelchair motocross
After decades of neglect and years of planning, Whitehorse is finally getting a new skatepark — with design input from the local Skate For Life Alliance and Yukon wheelchair MX athlete Darryl Tait. Making the park accessible means it’s attractive not just to wheelchair athletes, but also to spectators, and gives Whitehorse the potential to host professional competitions down the road. The brand new park is currently under winter’s record snowfall, but will welcome its first scooters, bikes and skateboards in summer 2021.
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