Created in the 1950s as an alternative for surfers when waves were flat, skateboarding has steadily grown from its early days to become popular worldwide and a multi-billion dollar industry. Part of the growing popularity of “sidewalk surfing” can be attributed to skate parks, which first appeared in the mid 60s, which typically featured a few ramps made of concrete. But to meet the demand of more and more skateboarders, many of the best skate parks have evolved to become bigger and better than ever before. Here are just seven of the largest skateparks in the world.
Black Pearl Skatepark
Grand Harbour, ky1-1201
Red Bay, Cayman Islands
Encompassing 62,000 square feet of skateable area, Black Pearl Skate & Surf Park is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. Located just minutes from the Cayman Island’s famed Seven Mile Beach, the skate park features both smaller and larger bowls, a snake run, a street section with ledges and rails and designated areas for beginners, intermediates and advanced skateboarders. All participants must sign in with an attendant before entering the park and are required to wear a helmet. Skaters 18 and over must show a picture ID and skaters under 18 must have a liability release form signed by a parent or guardian. The daily use fee for non-residents is $10 and equipment rentals including skateboards, helmets and elbow pads are available. Adjacent to the skatepark is a Waveloch machine that’s suitable for all levels of surfing ability and capable of generating waves of up to 11 feet. Visitors to the island may be able to use the skatepark outside of operating hours by contacting the Cayman Islands Skateboard Association, the non-profit organization that supervises the skate and surf park.
Guangzhou University Town Sports Center
218 East Road
Guangzhou University City
Guangzhou, P.R. China, 510006
Located on the sprawling Guangzhou University campus in one of China’s largest cities, Guangzhou University Town Sports Center is a gargantuan sports complex that’s home to the world’s largest skate park. Built for the 2010 Asian Games, the entire facility reportedly covers 4.3 million square feet and features 12 sports venues, including the 170,000-square foot Extreme Park, which was added in 2014. The extreme park is primarily a massive skateboard park, with a U-shaped skating area, several bowls and slides, and designated areas for beginning, intermediate and experts levels of skateboarding ability. The University Town Sports Center also offers a domed track stadium, velodrome facility, outdoor soccer field and BMX park. Guangzhou University is located in Guangdong Province, about 75 miles northwest of Hong Kong and 90 miles north of Macau, the gambling mecca often described as the Las Vegas of Asia.
Lake Cunningham Regional Skate Park
2305 S. White Road
San Jose, CA 95148
Situated eight miles east of downtown San Jose, Lake Cunningham Regional Park (LCRSP) is by far the largest skatepark in California. Covering 68,8000 square feet of skating area, the very popular community park draws an estimated 75,000 visitors annually and features the world’s largest cradle, tallest vertical wall and largest full pipe. LCSRP’s skateboarding areas are suitable for all skill levels and also available for birthday parties, camps, and private or group lessons. The skate park charges a separate daily admission fee for youths ($3) and adults ($5) and also offers monthly or annual passes. Class registration is available online and all skate participants must present a signed liability waiver on the first visit. All participants under 18 must have a parent or legal guardian’s signature on the waiver form. Also onsite are restrooms facilities and plenty of visitor parking.
North Houston Skate Park
12351 Kuykendahl Road
Houston, TX 77090
The familiar saying “everything is bigger in Texas” is altogether appropriate for the Texas-sized North Houston Skate Park. Featuring 78,000 square feet of skate surface, this competition-scale park is easily the largest skatepark in America and on the largest on the entire North American continent. Located about 15 miles north downtown Houston, the enormous skatepark’s top attractions are a 12-foot vertical ramp, a 10-foot deep bowl, a “snake run”pathway suitable for novice skateboarders and a prominent bowl shaped like the state of Texas. Opened in 2014, the admission-free skate park is believed to be the largest free skate park in the world. All skateboarders must sign a waiver and wear a helmet. Another local skatepark known as Lee & Joe Janelle Skatepark also ranks among America’s largest skateparks, with 30,000 square feet and one of the largest cradles in the country.
Shaw Millennium Park
1220 Ninth Ave., S.W.
Calgary, AB T2P 2C4
North Houston Skate Park may be North America’s largest skate park, but Canada’s Shaw Millennium Skate Park isn’t far behind. In fact, this mega park located in the western end of the city of Calgary is said to be North America’s largest skatepark for both skateboarding and inline skating. Also holding the distinction of being Canada’s largest free outdoor skatepark, Shaw Millennium offers 75,000 square feet of skateable area, with designated areas for beginning, intermediate and expert level skateboarders and inline skaters. First opened in 2000, Millennium Skate Park has other family friendly attractions onsite, such as basketball courts, a beach volleyball court, a stage and amphitheater. Although the surrounding park has designated hours, the skate park is open 24 hours a day. Shaw Millennium Park is easily accessible by public transportation and a short walk from the Downtown West-Kerby CTrain station.
SMP Skatepark Shanghai
2100 Songhu Road
Shanghai Yangpu District Songhu Road
+86 21 6590 7290
Up until the skatepark at Guangzhou University Town Sports Center opened two years ago, SMP Skatepark laid the claim as the world’s largest skatepark for nearly 10 years. Extending across more than 147,000 square feet of skateable space, including over 48,000 square feet of bowl area, a 170-foot long vertical ramp with an average height of 15 feet and a competition area with stadium seating for up to 5,000 spectators. SMP Skatepark is located in the New Jiangwan area, approximately nine miles northwest of the center of Shanghai. Adjacent to SMP Skatepark Shanghai is the 75,000-square foot SMP Sportscentre, as well as a major dining and retail complex.
Unit 23 Skatepark
The Old Bond
45-50 Castlegreen St.
With 56,000 square feet spread across three skate boarding areas, Unit 23 is the largest indoor skatepark in the U.K. and one of the largest in the world. Located along the River Clyde and 16 miles northwest of Glasgow, the enormous indoor skatepark is available for skateboarding, inline skating, scooter and BMX and features multiple ramps, a replica of Pennsylvania’s legendary “Little Devil Bowl”, grind rails and a sizable foam pit for a soft landing after making flips and other tricks. Also on the facility is a cafe and dining area and equipment rentals. Entry fees for non-members start at £9 ($11.82) for two hours and consent forms must be filled out and signed prior to using the skatepark. Participants under 16 must have their parent or guardian fill out the form. Unit 23 Skatepark also offers coaching for BMX, inline, scooter and skateboarding on Saturday and Sunday mornings.