Time and time again we are told that exercise is really good for us and organized sports seem to be the best bet to shed some pounds or generally feel better. Some sports are really appreciated, practiced in national competitions, brought to Olympic status and some rather limp forwards through a few fans or daredevils. The view on skateboarding and roller skating as a sport is quite a mix of these two extreme views: some people go mad for it and do it till they die and others just despise it and think it offers nothing but trouble. Well, whichever side you may take, you got to agree that skateboarding changed the world a bit, in many terms, especially among youths. In this view, many sports, once got into, become a lifestyle for people and skateboarding has done this successfully to many young kids and adults alike, but to a quite extreme degree. Besides the sport in itself, along comes specific music, clothing styles, art forms, in other words the cult of skating as we often experience it in our own neighbourhoods. Not only do a skate parks have specific landscape designs to suit the unique sporting skills of a skateboarder, but it is a space that unites kids by tapping into different common interests. Skate parks have become more than just sport facilities, like tennis courts or football fields, but rather a gathering space for all youth dreams combined into one. With such excitement, energy and innovation brought together in each one it is incredibly difficult to put together a list of the 10 best out there but here goes, hope you like it… No.10 Louisville Extreme Park We have to agree that Americans do excel at this sport and at building skate parks. And a great example is this hugely spanning park in Louisville, some say the best in the whole of the US. Waves of concrete, tunnels of massive proportions and beautiful full pipe wooden U’s await any skater, skateboarder or BMX lover just to wrap their imagination around this place of pleasure and horror. If you feel like skating at 6 in the morning or round about midnight, the skate park in always open, all day, all year, which makes it that much appealing to enthusiasts. No.9 Sao Bernando Skate Park Brazilians on the other hand are very dedicated skaters and unique characters at that. They can boast about having this truly unique park situated in San Bernando, which expands to 45 000 feet of grounds for skates, skateboards and bikes. The Brazilian spirit is expressed through vast expanses of concrete, tunnels, bowls, dirt tracks and chill zones. Among the largest in Latin America, this place is a must if you are in the area. No.8 Feierwerk Streetplaza Though a small little place, this Munich streetplaza brings out the German skateboarding spirit of doing a lot from very little. Recently opened, the design is crisp white in the midst of the boisterous city. What is unique here is a touch of consideration for nature, with patches of grass, flowers and trees to perhaps soften up the concrete. A really cool place to skate in a green way! No.7 Kona Skate Park This quite famous skating park in Jacksonville, Florida offers almost anything you could want. With colourful grounds, tracks for amateurs and professionals, it’s no wonder that it has hit international status in no time. It is now a spot for important competitions, art gatherings or just chilled out skating afternoons in the hot Florida sun. No.6 Marseille Skate Park A colourful and trendy park set in the heart of one of France’s most beautiful cities. Graffiti graces almost every skating surface which makes it a great sight when zooming in on the jumps. Here you will find a lot of bowls, as well as ramps of all sizes. Pro contest are held quite often. No.5 Rampworx This jewel in Liverpool is the biggest indoor skate park in the UK spanning 55 000 feet. All bent wood and crafted ramps of any size make for a satisfying skating experience. The surface is very smooth and the features are very modern, thus you can find anything you need in a skate park. All this make up for a great British sporting atmosphere that you will surely enjoy. No.4 SMP Shanghai Skate Park It is common knowledge that the Chinese are great at pushing the boundaries at architecture and they won’t stop at skate parks.This outdoor beauty sits on the bank of a river and has some ridiculously extreme features to suit any pro. Crisps white and black surfaced smooth their way into any shape and length. No.3 Black Pearl Skate Park An idyllic setting may not be that relevant to skate parks but it sure helps this one situated in the Cayman Islands. It holds the status of the most extensive in the world and of course, featuring all the perks and ramps commonly found in huge parks. Inspired from the waves of the ocean nearby, the concrete surface is a dream to zoom on. No.2 Stoke Plaza One of England’s top skate parks, this Stoke-on-Trent spot is a must for skaters regardless of skill level. It is an exclusive outdoor park that takes advantage of the beautiful English green countryside setting. The unique design befits skaters as well as spectators wishing to join in on the sporty fun. No.1 Amazing Square Skate Park And yes, the Japanese take the prize with this “amazing” spot in the Tokyo city centre. There are all the big features that a skater needs like half pipes, ramps of all sizes and smooth surfaces, not to mention a bit of the Japanese atmosphere of fast going. The variety of surfaces and shapes here is too much to get bored or to stay safe for that matter. But it’s all worth it for quality skating all day, all year round! So there we have it! It was a tough ride but we made it to the finish. The most amazing and biggest skate parks in the world stand before you. Whether you will appreciate the specific architecture and the artistic look to them is up to you. But you cannot deny that skating and skateboarding have enriched many lives, not to mention providing a good reason for exercising and cutting down illegal activities among young people. So let’s take a break from the critical eye and just enjoy the views of spilling curves and bends. Life’s a chill, isn’t it? Article by Oana Anghelache.
This article was originally submitted to Landscape Architects Network