we plan to produce a book on the history of the park. If you have any images or memories to share, we would be really pleased to hear from you…

A brief history of the skatepark

• The iconic image of the skatepark is the bandstand, situated in the centre of the skatepark and built in 1928 as a traditional bandstand, surrounded by grass.

• In the 1930s a paved area was laid around the bandstand for dancing and for roller skating, surrounded by a low fence.

• By the early 1950s the north third of the current skatepark footprint had been barriered off to create a roller hockey rink, also used for figure skating. Local, national and international competitions were hosted here. Southsea Roller Hockey Club managed the skatepark under contract with the local authority and spectator stands were built on three sides of the hockey rink (two have subsequently been demolished).
• In the late 1970s the skateboarding craze hit the United Kingdom and the local authority constructed a series of concrete bowls and runs in the south third of the current skatepark footprint which opened in 1978 – these remain in situ.

• In the 1990s BMX riding became popular and ramps were installed in the central area of the skatepark. When Southsea Roller Hockey Club gave up management of the skatepark, its operation was taken over by the local authority youth service and a range of ramps were installed in the rink area, suitable for BMX, skateboarding and skating – and later for scooter riding.

• In 2011 the Southsea Skatepark Company, a registered charity, took over management of the skatepark under a 60 year lease. The charity is wholly self-funding. Since taking over the skatepark the trustees have extended opening hours, developed a programme of events and installed a café on site as well as introducing new and additional ramps.

• In 2018 we celebrated 40 years of Southsea Skatepark in its current form.

Some famous names associated with Southsea Skatepark

Over the years since 1978 famous pros, different scenes and trends/cultures have come and gone: from Tony Alva being one of the first skateboarders to use the skatepark back in 1978, through the BMX boom in the 80s with the likes of Neil Ruffell, Craig Campbell and Carlo Griggs plus locals Nick Jefferies, Jamie Morley, Vince Gregory, Kevin Chambers all making a name for themselves on the national scene to the early 90s when we saw skateboarding come to the forefront at the park again with the likes of the Bones BrigadeTony Hawk, Mike McGill, Rodney Mullen, Tommy Guerrero, and many more.

Local skaters, Barry Abrook and brother Mark put on the legendary Shut Up and Skate contest on the vert ramp, built by the park manager at the time John Thurston, and, with the pool bowl, attracted the best skaters from across the globe – the likes of Neal Hendrix, Craig Johnson, Allen Losi, Ben Schroeder and Aaron Deeter.

Local skaters Ian Harper and Garry Lee also got in the mix and made a name for themselves nationally and internationally.

During this era, quad skating was at its height with Simon Tiller, Jason and Bradley Tubb and many more mixing with the skateboarders for many a great session on the vert.

In the 90s BMX and rollerblading came to the forefront at the park with local talent such as Martin Northern, James Garnett, John Goodfellow, with regular rollerblade events at the skatepark and BMX events such as the legendary King of Concrete which ran back to back for 17 years. It attracted the world’s best, most famously the likes of Dave Mirra, who broke the world record on the vert ramp in 1993 for the Record Breakers TV Programme with Kriss Akabusi on the mic.

Other local riders such as Effraim Catlow, Dennis Wingham, Mike O’Connell, and later on Ben Wallace, Mark Webb, Declan Brooks also made a name for themselves competing across the globe.

Names such as nine times X Games vert champion Jamie Bestwick, Jerry Galley, Mat Hoffman, Dennis McCoy, Edwin Delarosa, Brian Foster, Garrett Reynolds, Drew Bezenson, Brett Banasiewicz, Daniel Dhers, Kevin Peraza and so many more passed through throughout the years of history at Southsea Skatepark in all sports from skateboarding, BMX, rollerblading, through to the most popular now, scootering.

Recent highlights from Southsea Skatepark…

King Of Concrete 2022
Thanks to CVM BMX MEDIA (@cvm.bmx) for capturing all the highlights from an amazing weekend!