Your local skate park probably had everything you needed at first. Pipes, grind rails, and vert pits are featured wherever skaters have been fastidious enough to dedicate a spot of hallowed ground for the acrobatics and pratfalls of your town’s board jockey’s.
But after a while, the same scenery can get dull and crowded, and you will yearn for an obstacle course of your own design. Unless you have a practicable dry pool already on hand, or deep pockets full of cash to throw at building a jungle gym in your backyard, however, the quest for your own private skate park will surely take you to the hardware store for some lumber and a hammer.
There are a number of skateboard suppliers who sell entire ramp sets pre-packaged with complete instructions for easy assembly. If you want a tried-and-true ramp set with all the nuts and bolts included, this is a great option. If you’re a little short on cash and have a lot of creativity, you can design your own personalized playground combining a few ramps that you can easily make yourself and whatever surfaces lend themselves to you in your environment. You’ll be amazed at the fun you can have on an old picnic table, for example.
The most common material for homemade skateboard ramps, unlike the ones you will see in the skate park, is sanded plywood. This is better for both building and safety purposes, as concrete is hard on the body as well as difficult to work with and nearly impossible to move.
The first decision you’ll need to make when building your skateboard ramp is the type of ramp or ramp sets you’d most like to use when skateboarding. Lunch ramps are pretty basic to build and adrenaline-pumping to fly from.
If you have only one ramp and just a little extra space, you’ll want a half pipe. In case you ditched your math class in favor of skateboarding all day, a half pipe is two quarter-pipes joined at the low end. Half pipes are like the in-ground dry swimming pool in that they will allow you to roll back and forth all day, experimenting with pivots and grinds at either end.
If you have a lot of space available, you’ll want to add a pyramid or two to your obstacle course. Pyramids are great launch boxes that you can use to propel yourself in virtually any direction and are especially fun in combination with a quarter pipe for pivots or a grind rail.
Rails really open up your routine options, you can incorporate all kinds of nose or tail slides, grinds and board slides between other moves to really have some fun. You can pick these up at building-supply stores or go to your nearest junk-yard and be creative!
Remember that the more discontinuous surfaces that you can incorporate safely together, the more freedom you’ll ultimately have in action. The most important thing is to get started with your ultimate skateboard ramp combinations and to keep your eyes open for the next addition to your skateboarding world.