Posts about the blue fiberglass ramps that were used in Thrasherland and Skateball skateparks remain some of the most popular on Skate and Annoy. Stephen Smith was trolling the site and remembered he had saved an old flyer for the Great Bay Skatepark of Newington, New Hampshire:
I went there in the summer of 78 or 79 while on vacation with the folks from Nova Scotia. We got there at like 3 in the morning and all slept in the car so I could go skating as soon as it opened up. What a blast, great memories! Also while at the World Freestyle comp a few weeks ago , I chatted with old school East coast skate legend Bert Mathieson and he had skated there back in the day too. I got the flyer at the pro shop there.
As you can see, as well as “faster and safer,” the Great Bay Arena claimed to be the world’s first indoor fiberglass skatepark. I’m imagining a guy behind the counter at the pro shop mumbling to himself as he crosses off the incorrect session times and rewrites them by hand. He probably stole a coke that day because he was so annoyed.
You might remember a Dutch newspaper article from 1980 talking about how skateboarding was becoming very popular. Here’s remnants of the same skatepark in the May 4th, 1982 edition of the Leidse Courant newspaper. This article is about the sport’s demise. This must have been slightly better than it looked when Jeroen and crew found it in 1985. Even then, you had to keep an eye open for those Mad dogs.
– Thanks to Jeroen for the tip.
Skateboard slaat aan in Vlissingen – Skateboarding is catching on in Vlissingen, according to the December 4th, 1980 edition of the Dutch newspaper Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant. Check out the photo of that skatepark.Even though it’s low res black and white newspaper photo, it’s clearly one of those fiberglass ramps that was part of the Skate Ball system, and possibly the same blue fiberglass ramps used in Thrasherland. It’s hard to know for sure, could there have been more than one manufacturer of blue fiberglass skateboard ramps? There are similarities and differences between the two if you compare, but it’s conceivable that there were a few minor iterations over the product lifespan that would account for that. This is the only photograph I’ve seen showing the incline, full pipe parts (only half here) and the Skate Ball ramp. I’m just shocked that some of them made it all the way over to Europe.
The article comes courtesy of S&A reader Jeroen who rode this thing in the Netherlands. His crew actually found abandoned parts of the park and reassembled them in their own configuration and rode them in 1985.
There’s a guy trying to restore the Clown Ramp, I’ve got an email or a Facebook message somewhere that I’ve misplaced. I know he’s looking for people who might know where pieces of it are, mainly the bits that used to be part of Skate Ball. The pic above is from Embassy Skateboards recap of their 2nd Annual Jeff Phillips tribute.
This is a photo of the plexiglass cover of the Skate Ball ramp that resided at the Olympic Skateboard Arena in Crystal Lake, Illinois before it met it’s demise at the Rainbo Skatepark in Chicago, Illinois. David Dude was somehow able to rescue this at some point in time, even though he was a Dallas local that skated with the likes of Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson, Dan Wilkes, Allen Guimond and Art & Steve Godoy. This looks awesome. Don’t forget to enlarge-o-rama.
Making the Solid Surf UK post reminded me that I was sitting on some shots of a skateball installation at Solid Surf in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Tim Ebaugh sent me the scans from his friend, photographer AL Porterfield. Check ’em out after the jump. Tim has a site called Vintage Florida Skateboard as well as helping out with Grind For Life and Florida Skater. We also linked to his Bowl Rider’s Cup coverage.
I’ve scoured the web for more examples of Skateball (or Skate-Ball – they can’t make up their mind). The only thing that turns up besides our previous post is another actual pinball game. (More on that later.) Jeff Hottle had this old low-res image of a Skate-Ball flyer he got off the web ages ago, but the original source remains shrouded in mystery.
A full retail business including skateboarding accessories, roller skating and other youth oriented products. Skateball is made up of 4 different ramps, bowls, runs and moguls each with their own scoreboard and timing device. Can be located in strip stores, shopping centers and free standing buildings. Minimum cash investment $25,000.
You can see the whole flyer after the jump.
The 70’s was a funny time in skateboarding. At times, the industry and the public at large tended to view it almost as a carnival ride or amusement park attraction. Case in point, Skateball. I received a couple old pictures of a Skateball installation at the Olympic Skatepark in Crystal Lake Illinois a few years back when SnA was being updated on a very infrequent basis. Seeing the Radical post reminded me of them, so I dug them up. Fortunately, I was still able to contact Jeff Hottle for some larger scans, and he obliged with a few bonus shots as well. Skateball was basically pinball on a halfpipe, where the skater simulated the ball. It’s one of those things you hear rumors about but don’t quite give them credit unless you actually see it. Five pictures and a little history after the jump.