Kensington Skatepark

Vancouver, BC

Edited excerpts from an interview with New Line Skateparks President, Kyle Dion. By Frank Daniello: Another park has entered the fold within the City of Vancouver’s strategy to create smaller neighbourhood skate spots that don’t exceed 6,000 square feet….

The Bowl: “We didn’t want to go super deep, but we still wanted it to feel steep like a real pool at the top. It looks intimidating, but when you skate it the changing radius on the transition makes it feel much smoother than a traditional pool. In the deep end, it’s 9 and-a-half feet, including a foot of vert. The transition in the shallow end just hits vert and is 5 feet on the end before gradually flowing to 6 feet towards the deep-end waterfall.”

Detailing: “Traditional pool tile will pop out, break and be hard to maintain, so we created this special grinder that attaches to the coping. We run it along and it basically grinds a tile pattern right into the surface of the concrete. Then we had Mark Anderson come in and paint all of it. It looks and feels exactly like real tile, but it’s more durable. There’s also pool coping, a ‘replica pool filter’ in the deep end, and stairs to carve over in the shallow end. The pool’s design is ‘amoeba’ style – it has 3 pockets to it.”

Don “Mad Carver” Hartley’s Monument: “Everyone at the design meeting felt we should do some sort of tribute to the late Carver Don. He was a reggae DJ so the bent record-bank seemed like the perfect feature. We put it in a spot so if someone’s skating it or taking a photo of it, the background will be the city of Vancouver and the mountains. We took a big notch-trowel that’s used for doing tile grout on floors and just ran it in a circle on the bank to mimic the texture of the grooves on a vinyl record. We put integral colour into the concrete to darken it up, and with Milan Basic’s help, Mark Anderson hand-painted the record label graphic that’s dedicated to Don. It all came together really well.”

“The mini-ramp is inspired by the Big O in Montreal, but not as tight. We mainly wanted it to look sculptural because we had such good feedback from the ‘moustache’ sculpture in Maple Ridge. The main focus at Kensington was to build a really sick pool and a mini-ramp off to the side so the kids could learn to skate transition and gain confidence on that first.”

“We created some curved amphitheater style ledges that you could skate as the main street feature or just chill on to watch a pool session with the mountain view as the backdrop. There’s also a rolling bank-to-gap that what we call the ‘dragon back’, which is another sculptural piece on the edge of the park. For how small it is, the park has a good number of features without being overdone.”

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