Over the last 45 years actions sports have continuously evolved, and the design of Southsea Skatepark has matched those changes in many different ways. The original 1970s concrete can still be ridden today but there are also now mini ramps, street obstacles, spine ramp and the recently added ‘resi’ ramp. As tricks progress, the park must evolve to reflect the new needs of the next generation of users who now can see their sports included in the Olympics. Portsmouth has been home to some of the best UK talent, including Olympic Bronze medal winner Declan Brooks who grew up riding Southsea Skatepark.
The half pipe at the skatepark has been a feature for 30 years, with skateboarders in the 80s & 90s in the city such as The Abrook Brothers, Gary Lee and Ian Harper skating it with visitors from the USA, including Tony Hawk and the Bones Brigade. BMXers visiting included the legendary Matt Hoffman. The half pipe itself has been replaced many times over those years, with the current ramp installed some years ago. As with any structure subjected to decades of intense use and English weather, the half pipe has sadly reached a point where repair or refurbishment is no longer a viable option. A tough decision has been made that skatepark will dismantle the half pipe in late 2023.
While we are heartbroken to say goodbye to the half pipe, we will strive to make this a positive by taking the opportunity to recycle as much as we can of the ramp’s materials in to new ramps for beginners, further supporting the future talent in the city. Materials will also be utilised in the vital continued maintenance and improvement of the existing ramps already enjoyed by the users of the skatepark. We will also utilise the newly freed up space too, expanding the offer of the skatepark.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has been a part of the half pipe history at the skatepark, from the experienced professionals through to beginners overcoming their fear and dropping in the vert for the first time. Your support and enthusiasm has been invaluable in shaping our journey over the past 45 years and as we continue to look forward to the future too.
Photos: Old School Paul / Welsh Denny