Now’s the time to take up skateboarding, with the sport set to soar at the Olympics later this year & the Design Museum ramping up the excitement…
Skateboarding, in case you didn’t get the memo, is cool. British-Japanese star Sky Brown, the youngest professional skateboarder in the world, is set to star for Great Britain at the Paris Olympics this summer. And the hot ticket in town is the Skateboard exhibition at the Design Museum in Kensington featuring the UK’s newest skate ramp inside the exhibition gallery.
As well as admiring the 100+ rare and unique boards from the 1950s to the present day on display (with a free go on the halfpipe if you’re up to it), on 20th January you can book in to enjoy a skate photography workshop with Bucks skateboard star Leo Sharp (@sharphoto). Growing up in the concrete jungle of Milton Keynes, Leo’s skate photographs have been published in international titles including Thrasher, Transworld, Skateboarder, and more. Sharp has also worked as a lecturer in photography at Falmouth University and exhibited in a number of exhibitions.
Skateboarding developed in the US in the 1950s as surf culture was taking off. It was then part of the underground, alternative culture of the 1980s, going hand-in-hand with the values of freedom, rebellion and thrill seeking. The sport continued to develop and became more widely accessible at the start of the 21st century, proving a huge hit among young people. If you look carefully you’ll find a like-minded tribe of skaters and scooters of all ages at a park tucked away near you.
Amersham Skatepark, at King George’s Field, was upgraded in 2020 to a concrete plaza course. Its higher level leads down to the lower level via a set of stairs with rail and a pair of “hubbas” either side. On the lower level is a hip, pair of ledges, rail and a manual pad, following on from these obstacles is a half-width spine and a quarter-pipe ramp to get you moving back up the other end.
The skatepark at Aston Clinton, HP22 5HL, consists of metal-framed composite ramps and concrete ramps on a concrete base. At either end of the course is a flat bank and a quarter pipe that flank a driveway with rail and an adjoining spine. There are also some rails and benches scattered around the edges.
Aylesbury Vale skatepark, HP20 1DH, had an upgrade in 2015, with the old metal ramps replaced with a concrete skatepark. It now has a stair set with handrail, grind wall and boxes, tombstone jump ramp, “wally bar” and a selection of banks and quarter-pipe ramps.
There’s also Chesham Skatepark in Lowndes Park, HP5 2JE, and Holmers Farm Skatepark, HP12 4PE, a plaza-style concrete skatepark with ramps and ledges across different levels, and with low quarter pipes at each end.
Marlow Skatepark, SL7 2AE, is a concrete park featuring various flat banks and quarter pipes with spine, ledges and a rail.
Princes Risborough Skatepark within King George V Park, HP27 9EP, features two sections of tarmac, a mini-ramp with a roll-in ramp attached at a 90degree angle at one end.
Chalfont St Peter Skatepark, which is always open, can be found on the grounds of the Chalfont St Peter community centre. It is made up of a metal half-pipe with a set of small metal ramps off to the side with a tarmac base. The ramps comprise of a low kicker/bank at each end with a funbox in between.
Thanks to a group of enthusiastic local parents, The Chalfonts Activity Park Project is on a mission to improve the free-to-use outdoor sports facilities. David Rollins of the group has said that their objective is to collaborate with the community and local authority to build a modern wheeled sports activity park for people of all ages to enjoy, on their bikes, skates, skateboards and scooters. He points out that he’s in his forties and loves skateboarding along with many friends his age and above.But it’s not just about a skatepark. If there is enough interest and funding, they’d like to see it include other features to become something the whole community can enjoy. To find out more about the project please visit chalfontactivity.com
A great example of a honeypot for skaters is Thame Skatepark, OX9 3RN, which recently had a £250,000 renovation and is suitable for all abilities. The park is free to use and is open all year round. One enthusiastic user is Harrison Neave, nine, who says:
“I love coming here on my scooter at the weekend – it’s the best part of my week! What I love most is that I get to hang out with some older boys & girls who are doing really cool tricks.”