Tired of cut-rate skateparks built by non-skaters who don’t understand the terrain that Adrenalists need to thrive? Planning to take a vacation, but worried you won’t be able to find a vacation spot with a skate facility gnarly enough to fill your appetite for shredding? If so, you may not be aware of some of the world’s best skateparks. No worries, though. We’ve wrangled up the best of them, each in a different region of the globe and each representing a unique element of extreme cool. If you don’t know, now you know. It’s time to get familiar.
Black Pearl Skate & Surf Park – Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
In addition to being a pleasant vacation spot, the Cayman Islands are also home to the world’s largest outdoor skate park. In Grand Cayman lies the 62,000-square-foot Black Pearl Skate Park. Complete with quarter pips, half pipes, rails, stairs and bowls, it’s no wonder why almost every pro skater in the world has visited the spot at least once. What would a Cayman Islands skatepark be without a pool, right? Nothing, that’s what, so the folks who built the Black Pearl threw one in the mix for some pool play betwixt rail grinds. Then again, maybe it’s for a little post-skate, pre-hotel rest and relaxation.
Schuster Skate Villa – Salzburg, Austria
No one can ever say pro skater and photographer Phillip Schuster is looking for a free ride. Not after he designed and built an indoor skatepark inside a small abandoned hunting lodge in Salzburg, Austria. Watch as Schuster and his team transform an old dwelling most people wouldn’t look at twice, into a compact kingdom of skate excellence. It’s alarming how many skills some people have. We’re sure you’ll get some ideas for your own place after watching this. One piece of advice: do not try this if you live in a New York apartment building.
Lions Park Skatepark – Greensboro, Alabama
Lions Park skatepark in Greensboro, Alabama looks more like a golf course than a skater’s utopia, but that exactly what it is. With $25,000 in renovation funds donated by the Tony Hawk Foundation, and some of the best young minds from Auburn University’s Rural Studio socially-minded architecture school working on the park’s design, Lions Park has become home to one of the most robust and visually appealing skateparks in the United States. It’s the kind of place your non-skater buddies wouldn’t mind spending the day visiting, which can’t be said about many skateparks. Just tell your friends that, despite the Lion’s bucolic appearance, they’ll have to leave their 9 iron at home.
Micropolis – Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland’s Micropolis skatepark doesn’t even look like one, and we mean that in a good way. Designed by local architect and professional skater Janne Sarrio, Micropolis is a seamless blend of street plaza and skate haven. It’s got everything the best parks have, with top-tier ledges, banks, volcano, gaps and bumps, but it fits with the local aesthetic. That may not not seem so important, but it is. Not everyone is an Adrenalist and the more we seek means of integrating into society without causing a traffic-stopping spectacle, the more the powers that be will fund construction of arenas that enable us to do what we love. It’s a give and take we should be proud of and Sarrio gets that.
Lincoln City Skatepark – Lincoln City, Oregon
In 1999, Thrasher Magazine named Oregon’s Lincoln City skatepark “The Gnarliest Skatepark in the World.” One look at Lincoln’s terrain is all it takes to understand why. Currently the largest park in Oregon (and consistently being added to and improved upon), Lincoln is comprised almost entirely of half-pipe and ramp terrain meant for high-octane skaters only. There’s very little level ground to practice your kickflips so if you’re anything less than an intermediate boarder, it’s probably best to hold off on skating Lincoln until you’re fully able to appreciate it’s pro-grade splendor.