Nike Steps Up

The Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA Skatepark in Encinitas, California was consumed by sawdust and power tools as ramp-builders Tim Payne, Jeff Hammond, and crew completed the rebuilt park in April.

The project cost the YMCA 160,000 dollars¿100,000 of which was donated by Nike, who replaced Airwalk as the park’s title sponsor.

Designed by builders Payne and Hammond (with input from Tony Hawk, the YMCA staff, and a focus group of skateboarders), the new 32,000-square-foot skatepark includes an 80-foot-wide vert ramp, a large bowl, a street course, and the Tot Lot¿an area designated for younger skaters. The entire park is surfaced with the durable and costly Skatelite material.

Nike has taken a hands-off approach to the project, says YMCA Department Head For Youth Programs Davin Neubacher, allowing the YMCA staff to coordinate the design and construction as they see fit. “It’s been very positive working with Nike,” he says. “They’ve been very enthusiastic and have a strong interest in promoting skateboarding.”

According to Nike Regional Brand Manager Carla Huff, the YMCA approached Nike with the proposal, and the company saw it as an opportunity to serve the skateboarding community. “That park is legendary,” she said. “We wanted to give kids an opportunity to continue skating there.”

Huff said that this project was all the more attractive because of the Encinitas park’s high profile in the Southern California skateboard market. Nike National Outdoor Sports Marketing Manager Scott MacEachern says the Encinitas YMCA skatepark project will be a testing ground to determine how the company might approach future skatepark sponsorship opportunities.