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.
A reader named Jody sent in some pictures of blue fiberglass ramps he owns after seeing an old post here on Thrasherland. These pieces were purchased about 20 years ago in Rhode Island, and most likely came from a skatepark in Maryland called Rolling Surf. More pictures after the jump.
Life Magazine covers skateboarding in Florida courtesy of photographer John Falls who went down to Florida to cover the Florida Bowl Rider’s Cup in Kona. And holy cow, that looks like some more artifacts from Thrasherland-style parks in those photos. It’s at this point that I’d like to remind Rick that I still know exactly where your Thrasherland slides are, you know, the ones you loaned me 5 years ago…
– Thanks to Seth Levy for the tip.
No matter how hard you try to keep it a secret, somewhere, someone you don’t know is going to find it. I’m not going to tell you where, except to say that my mother in-law lives in this state. At first you might think it’s a coincidence that the satellite caught this pool on a day it was drained for maintenance. But if you look closer, you’ll notice some other suspicious concrete work, and what might possibly be some of the blue fiberglass ramps of the Thrasherland type set up in a closed track. I think those buildings might actually be ramps.
OK, trying to tie up some loose ends. It’s getting hard to keep trak of everything around here. Here are some shots of the blue fiberglass ramps from the 70’s that found their way to Thrasherland and The Roxbourough in Philadelphia. There’s also a video clip of a modern day ramp using some pieces salvaged from Thrasherland after the jump. If you’ve sent me some Thrasherland/blue fiberglass ramp shots and I’ve failed to post them, please let me know. Same goes for Skateball shots.
A comment in yesterday’s post about the Skate-Ball ramps got me thinking about an eBay auction I saw a few years back. The parts for a complete fiberglass skatepark were listed with a $30,000 opening bid, and as I recall, nobody bid the minimum. I saved the images because I thought they were interesting. These were relics of the 70’s rotting away in a desert somewhere, and for some reason I find that stuff fascinating. Someone spent the time and money necessary to make the molds for these giant prefab pieces, and maybe sold a few and then lost a bunch of money. Fiberglass seems like it would be not quite the best surface for a skate park. A little web investigation reveals the park in these pictures was likely Thrasher Land park in Glendale Arizona. At some point in time they tried to incorporate modern street skating elements into the park, and the end result makes Frankenstein look suave. The domain name (thrasherland.com) is parked at a hosting company and the phone number has been reassigned. A web forum reports that the whole facility has recently been razed. It’s amazing that they weren’t demolished in previous decades. So what do you do for the sake of history? Sk8parklist.com appears to be the only skatepark directory with actual pictures of the park, but even then, they barely show the telltale blue ramps. Concrete Disciples has a listing with no pictures. How can you not take pictures of giant prefab blue fiberglass ramps? It’s not like you run across them all the time, or even, ever.