Guide to building a skatepark

Materials

Concrete may be a great material in terms of durabilty and longevity, and thus cost effectiveness. It’s an extremely hard material – impossible to burn and very difficult to vandalise. But would you really want to use something that hard and unforgiving for activities that are already potentially quite dangerous? Smooth concrete is slippery – especially for bike tyres – and often causes crashes. Rough concrete is grippy, but because of this it causes terrible skin grazes in the event of a crash. All concrete is so hard that it causes a lot of pain and potentially broken bones in the event of a crash. By using concrete for a skatepark, you would be increasing the potential severity of injury in the event of a crash or fall. It is a bad choice in terms of safety.

As for bare metal – very dangerous indeed. When the air is damp, metal surfaces are on a par with ice. It can be just as bad in dry conditions because of dust settlement. Bare metal is far less grippy than any other material – especially for bike tyres. This is the reason why one rarely sees anyone actually using this type of ramp, despite them being quite commonly found throughout the UK. Not only is it very unpleasant to ride, it is very noisy and can be a nuisance especially in residential areas.

Wood is the best material for skateparks, because it flexes a little bit when something lands on it. So if someone crashes on it, the risk of injury is vastly reduced because the wood absorbs some of the impact. It’s grippy for bike tyres but, in the event of a crash on a wooden transition the rider can fairly harmlessly slide down it as opposed to getting grazed or bruised by a concrete transition.

The only downside to wood is that it rots and it’s flammable. So it isn’t the most ideal choice for the free outdoor parks provided by councils.

There is a simple solution to this though! The frame of the ramp can be built from metal, with a cage around the structure to prevent any potential fires bein lit beneath the ramp. The surface can be made from either treated wood, or Skatelite. Skatelite has been around for many years – its has many benefits:

– Less Friction: Skatelite is the smoothest riding surface. Reduced friction results in fewer skin abrasions common with other surfaces.

– Safe Temperature: Metal ramps overheat in direct sunlight and may cause skin burns. Skatelite stays a comfortable temperature in any condition.

– Fire Resistant: Skatelite is fire resistant and self extinguishes even under intense flames.

– Cleaner Friendly: Skatelite is unaffected by paint thinners and chemicals. It maintains its smooth finish even after the clean up crew removes graffiti.

– Maintenance Free: Skatelite is long lasting despite excessive use and punishing weather conditions. If damage is done, the material can easily be replaced.

Matt Hoffman, world-renowned BMX rider and highly successful company owner agrees:

For the modern era, I think Skatelite is the answer. It’s got the best properties of plywood and masonite in one package: It’s smooth, fast, durable and not too slick.

More info on Skatelite: http://www.skatelite.com/product/index.html

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