TWS 10: DIY Spots

10 DIY Spots

If you want something done right, and done right away, your best bet is always going to be to Do It Yourself*. In testament to skateboarders who took action, the following are 10 DIY spots that came correct. From our March 2012 Skate & Create issue.

Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour

Burnside (Portland, OR):

Some good TNT at Burnside.

The original gangster. Started in 1990 under the east end of Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon, the project set the template for renegade DIY skatepark construction. Expanded entirely outside the law by locals with donated cement bags, Burnside was granted amnesty in '98.

FDR (Philadelphia, PA):

FDR Spot Check w/Bam from 411.

Inspired by Burnside, Philly locals decided to take matters into their own hands in '94 after the city built a less than wanting set of obstacles to ease blowback from their impending Love Park ban. The resulting masterpiece remains one of the best DIY parks in the US.

Washington Street (San Diego, CA):

Resident local, Tom Remillard boosts a lien way above the cradle at Washington Street. Photo: BLAIR

Hewitt blazing WSVT from an old Vox promo.

With no other parks in their city, San Diego skaters followed the under the bridge lead of Burnside and FDR in '99, only to have their park closed down and threatened with demolition. In tribute to their perseverance, the eventual completion and permit materialized in '02.

Channel Street (San Pedro, CA):

Daewon kills Channel Street here starting at 1:28

San Pedro has long been home to LA's working class heroes. As such, it seems fitting that the city's first DIY park blossomed there. Originally referred to as Pedroside, Channel Street was born in '02 and has continued to evolve piece by piece under the 110 freeway ever since.

Savannen RIP (Malmö, Sweden):

As documented in The Strongest of the Strange ('05), Pontus Alv's handmade skatepark near Malmö, Sweden, was ultimately bulldozed not once but twice. Regardless, its unique style of smaller, sculpture-like transitions inspired a wave of like-minded projects across Europe.

Skatopia (Rutland, OH):

It might be slightly outside the normal parameters of a DIY park, but you have to hand it to Brewce Martin and his crew. Skatopia is a self-sustained, self-governed 88 acres of bowl, fullpipe, halfpipe, guns, girls, explosives, mayhem, and anarchy. It also has a museum.

Felem Park (Sashima County, Japan):

Along similar lines, the Felem crew in Sashima County, outside Tokyo, have created somewhat of a DIY utopia themselves. A wooden vert bowl that morphs into cement shallow, hips, and quarterpipes comes complete with sleeping bunks and the rawest locals ever.

The Coal Pad (Glacier, WA):

The Usurper Skateboards dudes are sick at the Coal Pad.

Built in the near wilderness on an abandoned coal mining property, The Coal Pad cement skatepark stands as a shining example of an undaunted labor of love. Still shaky with local authorities and former owners, send support to the Coal Pad locals and keep the dream alive.

Kitintale Skateboard Park (Kampala, Uganda):

Back in 2006, a visiting South African skater teamed up with a local to build the African country's first cement mini-ramp by hand. In efforts to teach the local youth more about skating, another visitor from Canada helped expand that ramp into a full-blown skatepark. Spread the word.

Jason Hernandez ledges (Los Angeles, CA):

Shiloh Greathouse’s First Love part. The ledges can be seen at 2:36. Watch here.

Finally, outside the tranny skater's domain, DIY ledge spots were pretty much invented after Jason Hernandez set the precedent with his widely documented ledge line lot outside Los Angeles. The spot also brought the world Gino's back lip to kickflip.

* Go to skatepark.org for info and tips on building your own DIY park.