It’s been some years since Adam Luxford caused a stir in the circles of American vert skating. He peaked at a time when skateboarding didn’t and took the tools he needed to go underground. These tools have served him well. Luxford is now organizing the building and constructing of skateparks-making ramps, consulting with councils and telling them what needs to be done before the concrete gets poured. Ten years ago Adam Luxford came to my local ramp and tore the place apart-not much has changed. To justify that last statement you’d have to go to the Mona Vale ramp on any given weekend and see it for yourself.
If I were a local kid in any Australian town, how would I go about getting a skatepark built in my town?In Australia it’s pretty achievable. Skateboarding is well accepted here. We’re all mostly coastal dwellers and a lot of people relate it to surfing. So we approach it that way. We say there’s this certain amount of kids doing it and that it’s a modern sport; it needs to be recognized and they need a safe place to do it. Kids can make petitions, which are way more effective nowadays. Kids seem to get listened to a lot more now by adults-way more so than when we were kids. Kids can even help with design and consultations if they have a little experience in those areas. Does each council have its own budget set aside for skateparks?Every council has a budget and a percentage of it is for tennis, soccer, and other mainstream sports. Skateboarding has to be separately allocated for, which is kind of a bummer. The thing that’s a plus is that any money generated in the local area by councils and public and local businesses will be matched by the Sport and Rec, that’s the main government department. So that doubles your budget and that’s really what you want.What’s the budget for your average local park?It all comes down to construction and technique, and whether or not the councils are educated in areas like research and design. If there’s a design available and we know exactly how to build it, we may even put in some prefab stuff or get some machinery in to lower the construction cost. You can lower the budget and put more money into the actual material costs of the overall park.In your opinion which are the best parks in Australia?I like the keyhole at Belconnen, Fairy Meadow in Woolagong,and Monavale-that ramp’s been there fifteen years. It was designed perfectly and built perfectly. I really like Cherrybrook in Sydney. I like to ride stuff from the 70s, too. In Melbourne, there’s all sorts of good stuff. I like to ride different stuff constantly. I don’t have one favorite park.Ulladulla has sections of the park missing, can you explain that?They leave sections of the park open, so we can add onto it next year when there’s more money allocated in the budget. It has to be a whole design from the start and then money can be allocated for it. It’s called the stage development. You can go up to as many stages as you want. Ulludulla is a prime example; it’s perfect in the first stage and it can only be improved on.How many stages would Ulladulla have?I think they planned four stages, so they have enough room to go in any direction. You have to plan so there’s enough space around the park.What makes a good park?A good park should cover everything. It should be challenging and diverse with nothing repeated-like variations of hip angles, 40- and 90-degree hips, funboxes with round and square hips. Take the best things from other parks and change it up. You don’t want to be riding the same thing in every city.Is momentum a problem in parks?Perpetual motion to me is what a skatepark is about. If I want to push, I’ll go out in the street. It should be fast and slow, not all just waist-high jump ramps-we’ve come way past that. Some of the stuff in America during the 70s would be better than the stuff now, but they didn’t have the technology and equipment to ride it. Imagine if we had those parks now, what would be going on would be incredible.What’s your role in the big picture?I consult with local councils. We’re working on five skateparks right now in the Sydney area. I’ve offered my services to the NSA the Australian Skateboard Association to do designs for councils. It the building of skateparks has to be monitored, because once it’s put in, that’s it. You won’t be doing the same tricks five years down the line. You have to think of the future.Do you try to incorporate street stuff, too?Definitely. Street is just a part of it. It always has been.There’s been bank freestyle areas from the 70s. The newest park we’re doing is all street style. There’s a corner of a curb with really big curb cuts on it with a fire hydrant on the corner, a bench, and a picnic table-all just dedicated to street.Is that the future of parks?Everything has to be covered, then you’ll improve. If you want to explore, that’s great. If you don’t want to do your kickflip at the top of the hip, do it on the bottom and work it up to the top. You can ride most structures at whatever level you want. We have to work out designs for every type of skater. We’re getting a lot of funding through the Rollerblade craze, which is great for skateboarding.Are the councils trying to put skaters in parks, then make it illegal on the streets?That’s just a pointless cause. You’ll always have people skating in the street, even if it’s only to get a carton of milk. Parents have to pay up to a thousand dollars if their kid is caught skateboarding. It’s ridiculous. The government is always milking us. If they’re going to fine skateboarders, at least put that money toward parks.