I recently took notice of Santa Clarita, CA.’s public cement skatepark as I viewed one of Volcom Clothing‘s “Wild in the Parks tour” videos on YouTube. The Santa Clarita park was stop #14 on the tour. I had heard of the park but had never skated it before despite its close proximity to my hometown. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. However, after noticing how fun it looked in the video, I decided to pay it a visit. My friend Austin and I drove the short one hour drive from Bakersfield to the skatepark by Magic Mountain and arrived to find that the park did not disappoint. It has bowls, a pipe, snake runs, banks, stairs, rails, and plenty of ledges. The park is extremely clean too. The city actually washes it with high-pressure hoses on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. It also has clean public restrooms and free wifi! How many parks have either of these amenities?!
One of its many enticing features is the lighting for night skating. This is a huge bonus for several reasons. For one, southern California’s blistering hot summers make daytime skating much more difficult. Night sessions are a necessity for many summer days, especially for an inland Los Angeles county suburb like Santa Clarita, far removed from the ocean marine layer and cooler temperatures of, say, Santa Monica, or Orange County’s and San Diego’s respective beach cities. Another reason is that it can be difficult for older skaters to find the time to skate other than at night. Third, night skating is just fun regardless of the season. This park has the same type of lights that baseball fields have so it is very well-lit.
The Santa Clarita park is basically a traditional skatepark and a very nice one at that. There are basically two types of skateparks: traditional skateparks and the more recent skate plazas. The latter was pioneered by professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek beginning with the Kettering, Ohio (Dyrdek’s hometown) skate plaza built in 2005. Skate plazas were designed to mimic actual street obstacles like stairs and ledges; the kinds of places skateboarders often get kicked out of. Whether traditional or a skate plaza, skateparks provide a communal focal point for skateboarders to skate at and congregate without interruption.
It is my hope that one day the city of Bakersfield will build a skatepark of equal caliber to the Santa Clarita park. Perhaps the Rob Dyrdek Foundation will consider Bakersfield for a future skate plaza. We surely need one. The decrepit Beach Park skatepark, which the city built and then abandoned (they never installed lights for night skating either for those scorching Bako summers), just does not cut it for our city’s size, nor is it easily accessible for many kids who do not yet drive. The city could have built a skatepark within the River Walk park but, alas, it was not to be.
Definitely check out the Santa Clarita skatepark if you are in the area. It’s definitely worth driving to if you are even an hour away from it like I am. Skateboarders in the Santa Clarita area are fortunate to have this nice park to go to.