The following information was compiled by the International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC), the skateboard industry’s nonprofit trade association: Box 37, Goleta, California 93116; skateboardiasc.org; nosewriter@aol.com; (805) 683-5676 ph; (805) 967-7537 FAX.

Quick Facts

+ There are 16-million skateboarders in the U.S., and more than twenty-million internationally (including U.S.).

+ Skateboards and skateboard-related products from about 300 manufacturers of professional-level equipment generate 1.4-billion dollars in annual retail sales.

+ About 100,000 professional skateboard decks and 500,000 wheels are manufactured each month.

+ While skateboarding is primarily a street sport, there are currently about 800 public and private skateparks in the U.S.

+ According to information from the National Consumer Product Safety Commission, skateboarders are less likely to require emergency medical care than participants of more traditional sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball.

Skateboarding 2002

Skateboarding provides young people around the world a viable, genuine, challenging, recreational sport–a sport of choice for millions of today’s youth. There are currently more than 16 million skateboarders in the U.S., with nearly a third, over five million, in California.

Support for public skateparks continues as more and more communities develop free public skateparks. Since skateboarders successfully lobbied in 1997 for the addition of skateboarding to California’s Hazardous Recreational Activities list, the number of skateparks has doubled. That number continues to grow, and by the end of the year more than 100 public skateparks will be skated each and every day all around California.

Throughout the United States, more than 800 skateparks are now available to skateboarders, with more being planned.

Also increasing is the number of skateboard companies. Despite consolidation with some of the larger companies, IASC estimates more than 300 different skateboard brands representing today’s manufacturers and companies now supply the contemporary skateboarder with their latest products. Hardgoods sales (decks, trucks, wheels, bearings, mounting hardware, griptape) continue to increase in volume, but the most dramatic sales increases have been in the area of shoes and softgoods (socks, clothing, T-shirts, backpacks and other accessory items). In retail dollars, skateboard and skateboard-related products generate a billion dollars in annual sales.

All but a handful of those companies are located in and produce those products in California. From San Diego to Eureka, IASC estimates skateboarding brings more than 18,000 Californians to work each and every business day. However, even that trend is beginning to change, with several companies continuing to grow and develop away from skateboarding’s California roots. The products of companies like Alien Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, and Zoo York, in New York City, continue to enjoy popularity on the streets and with retailers around the country.

IASC estimates more than 100,000 skateboard decks are being manufactured every month by today’s leading skateboard companies. Additionally, many of these same companies are making more than 25,000 skateboard wheels each and every day.

More than 50 domestic distributors, and nearly 100 international distributors–from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and seemingly every country in between–now distribute contemporary skateboard products throughout the world. More than 2,000 direct-sale retailers around the world rely upon today’s skateboard industry to produce the best, highest quality, safest and most contemporary skateboard equipment.

Developing with the surfers of the early 60s, sidewalk surfing was a national “fad” featured on the coverf Life magazine–yet another “California Craze.” During the private skatepark era of the 1970s, many California communities were blessed with skatepark facilities. It’s estimated that more than 200 public and private skateboard parks were built during that era.

By the late 1970s the threat of liability claims against the private owners of skateparks led to the closure of the parks. By the mid-1980s virtually every skatepark in California was closed–skateboarding returned to the streets. But sidewalk surfing was a thing of the past because the skateboarder of the late 1980s was capable of tricks and maneuvers the 60s-era skater would have never imagined.

In the late 1970s, while skateboarding in Florida, Alan Gelfand had learned to turn his board in midair, and the “ollie” was born–the ability for skateboarders to get their board off the ground and onto benches, planters, curbs, walls, steps, handrails and other elements of the urban environment created an entirely new sport. Suddenly skateboarders were no longer the cute blonde-haired sidewalk surfers of the past, by the late 1980s skaters were often perceived as aggressive urban guerrillas out to thrash their local community as they ground their way about town.

More recently, in communities throughout California and the rest of the United States, there has been a change in perception–skateboarding is again being recognized as a viable form of recreation for today’s contemporary youth. In 1997, after more than four years of intense lobbying from the skateboard community, new laws went into affect in California. With much of the liability for skateboarder’s injuries eliminated, California cities were able to develop public skateparks. The result has been the construction of more than 90 new public skateparks throughout California, and more than 800 throughout the rest of the country.

IASC continues to work with youth groups and community leaders to assist in the development of public skateparks around the country. In addition to offering communities design assistance and venue development for skateboard parks and events, IASC provides information and reliable resource and reference material to media both inside and outside the sport.

Skateboard Park Designs? Ramps?

Appropriate skatepark design and construction is essential when communities consider the possibility of building a public skate facility. Although national standards do not yet exist, within the skateboard community there are acceptable design specifications and construction techniques regarded as safe, yet challenging enough for skateboarders of all levels. Some examples of elements–the line drawings included with this information–give an idea of the dimensions involved.

Other Cities? Dodge Skatepark in Columbus, Ohio, designed by the late Frank Hawk, remains an icon of what a municipality can achieve for skateboarders, in-line skaters, and bicyclists. Similar facilities have been developed in Phoenix, Arizona, and the California cities of Palo Alto, Benicia, Napa, Davis, Temecula, and Huntington Beach (contact person, Bill Fowler – (714) 536-5496).

Size? Size does matter in skatepark development, although bigger is not necessarily better. Ten-thousand square feet of skating area is an acceptable minimum footprint, and depending on the actual design can be used by as many as 20 to 30 skaters at any one time.

Location? Many communities are attempting to place their new skate facilities within pre-established recreational facilities–alongside softball fields, by swimming pools, or within school locations.

Designers? Architects? IASC has worked with several different individuals who have all demonstrated the ability to work with communities in the development of safe skateparks. As a reference source the contacts we recommend here are all certainly capable of helping you, however, we must caution that with the increased demand from cities around the United States their services are often booked.

Steve Rose is the licensed architect responsible for many of the parks (more than 70 at this time) currently being developed, constructed, and completed in California, Oregon, and Washington. His office is in Fullerton, California, and they offer a complete service of site inspection, design development and licensed plans for construction. Similar services are also available from another licensed architect (also an active skateboarder), Zack Wormhoudt, his office is in Santa Cruz, California.

Another source for design or construction plans is skateboarding’s own version of Johnny AppleseedTim Payne. Tim is renowned by skateboarders for his excellent ramps and parks that have been built around the world. Wood, steel, or concrete, Tim can provide plans as well as on-site construction services. Mike Mapp at Ramptech builds ramps for special events, sells plans, and has designed and created portable and permanent skateboard elements in use around the world.

Mike McIntyre at Site Design Group is a skateboarder and a licensed landscape architect. He is responsible for some of the most highly acclaimed skateparks in the Southwest: Chandler, Arizona; Ocean Beach, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Process? Each of these architects and designers follow a similar pattern of development–after being contacted by an interested community. Potential site locations must be established, and then sample plans are designed with local input–a meeting on site with skateboarders and city officials. Once plans are developed and approved, the construction process begins. Typically local contractors must be utilized while following recommended construction techniques.

Steve Rose – Purkiss Rose And Associates, Fullerton, CA: (714) 871-3638 ph; purkissrose@earthlink.net

Zack Wormhoudt – Wormhoudt, L.A.: 230 Alhambra, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; (408 ) 426-8424 ph

Tim Payne - P.O. Box 128, Goldendrod, FL, 32733; (407) 695-8215 or (407) 673-8118 ph; CPAIN@aol.com

Mike Mapp – RampTech: 14855 Persistence Dr., Woodbridge, VA, 22191

(703) 492-2378 ph; (703) 492-1023 FAX; www.ramptech.com

Mike McIntyre - SITE Design Group, Inc.: 414 South Mill Avenue, Suite 210, Tempe, AZ 85281; (480) 894-6797 ph; (480) 894-6792 FAX; mrm@sitedesigngroup.com; www.sitedesigngroup.com

Wally Hollyday – CA Skateparks: 50 Dawn Ln., Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; (562) 208-4646 ph; (949) 448-8208 FAX; www.skatedesign.com

Safety? Skateboarding remains safer than other recreational choices available to today?s youth. The following data is compiled by the National Safety Council and the National Consumer Products Safety Commission.

1997 U.S. Injuries Per Selected Activity


TotalTotalHospital Visits
ActivityParticipants*Injured

Steve Rose is the licensed architect responsible for many of the parks (more than 70 at this time) currently being developed, constructed, and completed in California, Oregon, and Washington. His office is in Fullerton, California, and they offer a complete service of site inspection, design development and licensed plans for construction. Similar services are also available from another licensed architect (also an active skateboarder), Zack Wormhoudt, his office is in Santa Cruz, California.

Another source for design or construction plans is skateboarding’s own version of Johnny AppleseedTim Payne. Tim is renowned by skateboarders for his excellent ramps and parks that have been built around the world. Wood, steel, or concrete, Tim can provide plans as well as on-site construction services. Mike Mapp at Ramptech builds ramps for special events, sells plans, and has designed and created portable and permanent skateboard elements in use around the world.

Mike McIntyre at Site Design Group is a skateboarder and a licensed landscape architect. He is responsible for some of the most highly acclaimed skateparks in the Southwest: Chandler, Arizona; Ocean Beach, California; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Process? Each of these architects and designers follow a similar pattern of development–after being contacted by an interested community. Potential site locations must be established, and then sample plans are designed with local input–a meeting on site with skateboarders and city officials. Once plans are developed and approved, the construction process begins. Typically local contractors must be utilized while following recommended construction techniques.

Steve Rose – Purkiss Rose And Associates, Fullerton, CA: (714) 871-3638 ph; purkissrose@earthlink.net

Zack Wormhoudt – Wormhoudt, L.A.: 230 Alhambra, Santa Cruz, CA 95060; (408 ) 426-8424 ph

Tim Payne - P.O. Box 128, Goldendrod, FL, 32733; (407) 695-8215 or (407) 673-8118 ph; CPAIN@aol.com

Mike Mapp – RampTech: 14855 Persistence Dr., Woodbridge, VA, 22191

(703) 492-2378 ph; (703) 492-1023 FAX; www.ramptech.com

Mike McIntyre - SITE Design Group, Inc.: 414 South Mill Avenue, Suite 210, Tempe, AZ 85281; (480) 894-6797 ph; (480) 894-6792 FAX; mrm@sitedesigngroup.com; www.sitedesigngroup.com

Wally Hollyday – CA Skateparks: 50 Dawn Ln., Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; (562) 208-4646 ph; (949) 448-8208 FAX; www.skatedesign.com

Safety? Skateboarding remains safer than other recreational choices available to today?s youth. The following data is compiled by the National Safety Council and the National Consumer Products Safety Commission.

1997 U.S. Injuries Per Selected Activity


TotalTotalHospital Visits
ActivityParticipants*InjuredPer Participant
Ice Hockey318,00077,4920.244
Baseball2,033,000326,5690.161
Basketball4,527,000644,9210.142
Football4,414,000334,4200.076
Soccer2,825,000148,9130.053
Golf971,00039,4730.04
Snowboarding1,037,00037,6380.036
Volleyball

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