Science Careers – Skatepark Designer

Science Careers – Skatepark Designer


For skatepark design, there is no school. I learned a lot of it through being a skateboarder and attending a lot of skateboard parks and
really just having a passion for it and starting to pay attention to what made
skateparks work and what made other skateparks not work so a lot of the job
is really fun. A key aspect to this is that my dad is
an architect and without him there’s no way I could
have done this. He taught me the basic steps out, how to use AutoCAD, and he
taught me all kinds of things. So this is
AutoCAD that I’m working on. It’s a fantastic tool. I’m a classic kid of
the modern generation where I can’t draft by hand, I only know how to do
drafting on a computer much to my dad’s chagrin but that’s how
it is. What we’re looking at now is a site plan
and these are all contour lines showing elevations at the park so each line
represents an increase in height, so all these lines in a row means
we’re going up a hill, so I had to design a park that was going to
fit under the hill. So I’ve got everything organized into
different folders. This folder is all this site information so we have a geotechnical report in here, which is
the study of the soils that are underneath the park. And I can actually show you some 3D
renderings of the skatepark. This long section at the
skatepark is currently being 3D modeled so it’ll be
right there, and then this is the part of the park
that’s going to be dug into the hillside. This is another view of the ramp. There are two forms of contract. One of them is a design-only contract, and so some cities only want to hire us for design because
they’re concerned that if they hire us for the design and the build, they’re not going to get a fair build price. Other cities
recognize that skate parks are really challenging to build and a real niche and
they understand that they want a skatepark company who specializes in these to build them. Okay, so what I’m doing here is calculating
how much material is going to be inside the skateboard park. We need to know how much concrete, how
much rebar, how much lumber, and all these things so that we can price it and give
the client a price to build it. Well, I’ve
learned so much, I mean I knew just about nothing starting in this. You
know, I knew what worked for skateboarding but I didn’t know
anything about concrete mix designs, and how thick concrete has to be, and how you reinforce it with what type of rebar,
and how you change the concrete type based on what the soil profile is, so I’ve learned a ton about
engineering. I work with an engineering firm called Allnorth mostly in downtown Vancouver. The bottom part of the joint can be a silicon base. Oh cool, great. And the top part can be just the regular grout. Nice, okay. For me to learn in the context of something that I love, it’s just, it’s all stuck, I’ve learned this information and it’s with me for the rest of my life. So we’re on our way to Pemberton. The main reason today is to go check out the opening of the Pemberton skatepark and check a few of my other parks along the way. That’s something I do any time I’m passing through a community where we’ve done one of our parks. It’s always helpful and
interesting to go back and just see how the park is holding up. With respect to traveling, I have a bunch of partners all over the country, some architects,
landscape architects, engineers, and some skateboarders who do those inspections for me so I don’t have to
travel all across the whole country and burn all that fuel. We also have parks in France and England so I have the same over there. Yeah we’re just coming into the heart of Whistler village. So I got started in skateparks
because I was living in Whistler at the time and the old skatepark which is right around the corner from us was literally so cracked up and broken that we couldn’t even ride it so we approached the municipality and
said we want a skatepark and they said “Okay sure, sounds good, what’s the skatepark, you better draw that.” I got really involved and worked hard on it and all of a sudden they gave me a job and said “You’re construction manager,” and I was like “What’s construction manager, I’m a
dishwasher, what are you talking about?” They said “No problem, you can do it,” so it was just kind of trial by fire and learning and getting started, and that
park was so successful that the phone started ringing off the hook and other people said “Can you do a skatepark for us?” I said “I guess so,” and eventually got fired from
my dishwashing job because I was traveling around doing too many skateparks. In the beginning, when I first started this business, sales
was everything and sales was pretty brutal, to convince a community
that they were going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on
those dirtbag skateboarders was really tough, and it’s been really
great to see over the last 12 years how it’s changed to from me cold-calling communities and
really pushing and selling the benefits of skateparks to youth and the benefits to the community
to now I don’t even really have to advertise
that much, there’s people phoning me, you know, our company become really well known
and sales is one of the least things I even have to
focus on anymore. I tend to go the extra mile for most of the projects that I do because I
just love skateparks and I can’t really help myself. So in the Pemberton skatepark, there are
a few elements in it that are kind of floating and hanging and suspending, you’ll see those, and those again required working
with our engineers just to make sure they’re not gonna
crack. I think it’s the first park in the world, as far as I know, to use stone pool coping, so it’s different and unique and it’s way more
durable as well than concrete pool coping. Well, what created the passion to do
what I do, obviously the main thing is that I’m a skateboarder, and it’s not just
that I’m a skateboarder, but I’m a skater that grew up skating all kinds of stuff. We grew up street-skating but I also grew up skating a
lot of parks. So to be able to create whatever I want almost and to have people build it, it’s still incredible to me to this day that I can go make this, you know, twelve-foot deep bowl with a foot of vert on it and it happens, you know, it’s pretty amazing. As far
as what I do in the office, my favorite
part is definitely designing the parks. There’s still a ton of business stuff to do, and numbers to crunch, people to call, and all that stuff so really
riding the parks is definitely the most fun aspect, I mean
that’s what I love to do is ride my skateboard so to get to ride in these things that I’ve
dreamed up and to get to– you know what I really like is to get to show up to a park where I’ve planned out the lines to
work in a certain way, like you’ll hit this element and then that and then you’ll get fed down here and just to be able to drop in and hit that line first run and have it work is really
really fun and satisfying. Yeah, some of the things that suck, it
really sucks when I work with a community for five years straight, you
know, giving them my time and helping out and it turns out that something happens
and their community doesn’t support the park so while there’s the core
group of people that want it, the larger community says “Sorry, after
all that work you guys put in, we’re not even going to give you a park, forget it.” So through twelve years of doing this, I’ve
learned a ton and it’s all in engineering, architecture, design. If I had been a landscape architect or an
engineer, or had any kind of training in those
fields, even drafting design, I would have been miles ahead and wouldn’t
have been, you know, struggling in learning on the job for years, figuring
it out as I went. I would say for anybody who wants to
look into skatepark design as a career, number one is obviously skateboard. You have to understand what it is that
you’re doing and have a deep understanding of how skateboarding works. Travel a lot, skate all different types of stuff, skate
streets, go to travel all over the place and skate all the parks that are in your
area, and pay attention to what works and what
doesn’t work and why things work the way they do. Doing this, if you do it right, you can
make a good living, absolutely, I guess I’m paid on par with architects
and landscape architects so it’s a great living. I’m able to pay my
mortgage and make a truck payment and save money on top of it so it’s working out fantastic.


18 thoughts on “Science Careers – Skatepark Designer

  1. any chance you would hire an intern studying engineering in Vancouver that has a passion for skate parks and could not see himself in any other field.

  2. This is my dream job! I'm currently studying architecture in New Jersey but I plan on moving out west the first chance I get. Is there any way I can get some help getting into the field?

  3. hey what sort of software would you recommend using for designing parks as i want to build parks for a living so any practice i can get at home would be pretty handy

  4. Thanks for the question! Please contact the company directly for an answer to your question: Spectrum Skatepark Creations Ltd.

  5. that dude is super chill. I am sitting inside on a rainy day wondering what i will be after college.. I want to own an indoor skatepark. 

  6. hi, my local village was discussing getting a skatepark but some old gits on the committee who live nearby with young families don't want and skater scum nearby their precious children and white fence bullshit. Im 15 yrs old and board (see what I did there) as fuck having to go miles to reach a skatepark which really limits my ablility to learn.

    I have access to software such as sketch-up make and was wondering how I should go about designing a skatepark? what elements does a skatepark need? how steep should the ramps be.ect? I have made several concepts but none very good or plausible. I have gone to bury st Edmunds skatepark and it made my local look like a shitstack. besides that what would be  the best way to get the committee on my side as there are plans for more kiddie parks EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE ALREADY 6 AND 15 YR OLDS ARENT ALLOWED IN!!! the only thing we can do is go to youth club… and that's it! no wonder some teens drink and smoke! then they stereotype us as hoods and thugs! ffs.

  7. My son is working on his JR High school final project, he has to create a power point of his life, and he can pick any career, and he chose skate park designer, can someone please give me some ideas of a company name he can use and what he would need to go to college for, and what the salary usually is. Thank you

  8. I remember staying up all’s night building ramps and bowls on tony hawk pro skater .. I think I just found my career

  9. My town in Morristown Tennessee needs skateparks. Cause we only got one at franklorino park in Morristown Tennessee and it's good but we need a concrete skatepark. If builders ever come by my town they'll see no skatepark.

  10. But great job they do. And I hope they come to my town to do something like that hear in Morristown Tennessee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *