Published October 01. 2013 1:25PM Updated October 01. 2013 1:30PM
With the X Games held in and around downtown Los Angeles every August for the last 11 years, skateboarders get to see the sport they love showcased on a national level. The resurgence in boarding has become so popular that it’s unusual to find an area town that doesn’t have a skate park.
Whether indoor or outdoor, these concrete structures are designed specifically to provide unique challenges to its users. The parks, most of which are managed by their respective town’s recreation department, operate under a similar set of rules.
All of the parks are open daily from dawn to dusk, with some restrictions during the school year. Protective gear is highly recommended, and the use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs is prohibited. The parks are typically unsupervised.
The first skate park in the world for skateboarders and skaters was made of plywood on a half-acre sand lot in Kelso, Wash., in 1966, and was lit for night use. Carlsbad, Calif., is home to the first modern skate park, which was designed and built by inventors Jack Graham and John O’Malley in March 1976.
Regionally, skate parks began popping up during the last 20 years with support from skaters, residents and local officials who wanted a designated place for boarders to skate, instead of along local streets.
The skate parks listed below are within a one-hour drive of southeastern Connecticut.
Where: Located off of Poquonnock Road, inside Sutton Park.
Get There: Exit 88 off I-95; go right off the ramp onto Route 117. Continue for about one-quarter mile; entrance to park on the left.
Where: Located behind Jamestown Lawn School on Lawn Avenue.
Get There: Fifteen minutes south of Newport, just over the Newport Bridge. Park is 4 feet and under, with pool coping and speed lines.
What Else: Park is closed from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the school year. Public restrooms.
(temporarily closed to repair roof damage)
Where: Haven Skate Park, 198 State St.
What Else: Skateboard-only and BMX-only sessions. No mixed sessions.
Indoor park has mini ramps, bowl, a street course, wall rides, and an indoor full pipe.
Where: Located in Norton Park
(197 South Washington Street).
What Else: Closed Nov. 15 to March 15.
Park is open to skateboards, in-line skaters and bicycles.
Where: Located behind the Youth Services Bureau, 200 Boston Post Road
What Else: The park features ramps and jumps for skateboarders.
No pets or bicycles allowed.
Where: White Rock Skate Park,
55 White Rock Road
What Else: Park is designed for beginner to intermediate skill levels, and is open to skateboarding, in-line skating, and BMX freestyle biking. Public restrooms and telephones.
Where: Skate Park at Lauter Park,
625 Jackson St.
What Else: Park has a long quarter with a narrow one next, a fat spine, and various little grind/manual boxes. Also features a 3-foot fun box.
How would the local skateboard community continue to thrive if not for the existence of skateboard shops? At the shops, skaters can pick up gear including hats, shirts, helmets and knee pads; and purchase new boards or get their current boards repaired.
All of the skate shops listed below are within a one-hour drive from southeastern Connecticut.
Where: 86 Main St., East Greenwich, RI
Phone: 401. 886.5116
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday; Noon to 5 p.m., Sunday
Where: 146 Mill St., Berlin
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday
The Hive Skate Shop
Where: 15 Green St., New London
Hours: Noon to 7 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday & Saturday 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday; Closed, Monday
Mass Appeal Skateboard Shop
Where: 135 Main St., Plainville
The Skate Shop
Where: 754 Main St. #1, Willimantic
Hours: Noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; Noon to 5:30 p.m., Friday & Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday; Closed, Monday
Utopia Skate Shop
Where: 150 Connecticut Ave. #2, Norwalk
Where: 850 Hartford Turnpike, Waterford
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday to Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday