The Vans Skatepark officially opened on November 21, but the real party was the day before, when over 1,500 pros, ams, rock stars, and industry types filled the 46,000-square-foot facility to inaugurate what Vans calls the largest skatepark in the world.
The Vans Skatepark has the most modern street and vert terrain available, with all of the ramps surfaced in Finnish birch, and over half of the park made from concrete. The centerpiece is the Combi Pool, a reinterpreted recreation of the famous Upland Pipeline Combi Pool of the 1980s. It features two 11.5-foot bowls, one round and the other square, connected by a cornered shallow end. The 80-foot-wide vert ramp borders on the multi-depth fun bowl, which sits right behind a huge street course–the indoor one. The 6,000-square-foot outdoor patio is a concrete street course, filled with rails, banks, ledges, and a pyramid.
Spin magazine and Mountain Dew sponsored the inaugural party, which saw some of skateboarding’s most legendary names in attendance: Tony Alva, Steve “Bulky” Olson, Dave Hackett, George Orton, Steve Alba, Micke Alba, Lance Mountain, Steve Caballero, Rick Howard, Willy Santos, Eric Grisham, Eddie Elguera, Alan Losi, Eric Koston, Omar Hassan, Mike Smith, Jeff Grosso, Salman Agah, Jason Jessee, John Lucero, and hundreds more. The heated session at the Combi Pool saw three to five people dropping in at a time. The rest of the park was nearly as hectic.
The Vans Skatepark is located in a huge new shopping and entertainment complex in Orange, California called The Block. It shares its parking lot with hundreds of specialty stores, a Game Works arcade, a 30-screen cinema, and dozens of restaurants. A unique concept for a mall, The Block’s most visible tenant is certainly the Vans Skatepark.
Based on the initial success of the park, Vans is planning to build more facilities in other areas. The next rumored location is Orlando, Florida. With construction, lease, and startup costs tallied, Vans is reported to have spent five-million dollars to launch the Orange park. But the attention it is generating will continue to reap valuable returns for the company through television and print coverage.
In addition to the skating area, the Vans Skatepark features a large mezzanine observation area, an arcade, plus a Vans shoe store and a pro shop.