Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Places to Skateboard in the Capitol City

The Streets Are Still Free... Sometimes.
I started skating in the streets with a small group of friends. The first tricks we learned were boneless ones, curb grinds, and bert slides. We eventually met other skaters who had backyard ramps. Then the street ollie came on the scene and so did the launch ramps (kickers). Regardless of the era or style one thing has remained the same. Street skating is free (unless you're ticketed). You CAN skateboard anywhere. Give me a curb spot and some wax and I'm Stoked! The positive side can be represented by the freedom to skate unbound by rules and free from crowds. The negative side of street skating can be represented by getting ticketed or thrown out of a buttery spot or having vagrant feces at your wallride spot.

Area 51, formerly "FOCUS"
The Charleston area's only indoor park, Area 51 rose from the ashes of the old "FOCUS" skatepark. Gone is the kidney shaped bowl but owner and operator Greg White has done a good job providing an indoor skatepark to the skaters of Charleston WV. There are a plethora of bank ramps and quarter pipes as well as the mini ramp pictured above and a micro-mini ramp set up that would stoke Neil Blender and Lance Mountain. Helmets are required and it is a pay to $kate park complete with a snackbar and helmet rentals. You will leave dirty and tired and feel as though you really got your money's worth out of the session.

Coonskin Park

Coonskin is what it is. A Skatewave set up of quarter pipes and roll in bank ramps on what has got to be the smoothest concrete in the city. Marc really digs the smoothy pavement. The other positive things about Coonskin are the facts that it is free, it is close to home, it is usually empty early in the mornings, and then there is the metal coping. Nothing else makes that "chink chink" sound. I am grateful to have a free public skatepark within driving distance of my home. Stoked! However the place is not without some drawbacks. Being an outdoor park it goes without saying that not too many sessions are going down on rainy days or during the winter. And show up on a sunny Sunday afternoon, say around 2 o'clock, with the intention of getting some good lines while groups of groms stand atop the bank ramps waiting to take their turn butt boarding down the bank and up the quarter pipe. Line killers. If you want to skate then avoid the weekend scene at this place by all means.

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