August 22, 2014 - 4:27 PM
KAMLOOPS - A city-designed longboard track has been installed at an Aberdeen park and while some detail work is yet to be completed the longboard community is flocking to try out the long awaited track.
“They’re a lot of fun,” boarder Ben Peacock says. “It’s also the world’s first longboard park as far as I know, which is pretty cool.”
Peacock says the steeper run will be good practice for some of the more experienced riders while the beginner run is a bit more ‘mellow.’ Both tracks will help riders practice drifting and cornering, both essential skills.
Three novice riders hitting up the park Thursday were excited to try out the new park and all are looking forward to some big competitions and even bigger names coming to town now that the park is in.
“There’s people all over (Canada and U.S.A.) saying they’re going to come up,” Facilities Manager Jeff Putnam says. “It’s really exciting. The feedback has been 100 per cent positive, from the neighbours, the longboard community, politicians, city staff.”
Work began on the park the last week of July and took only a couple of weeks to get to the point of paving, which was about 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Putnam notes there is still some final details — such as garbage bins, signs and possibly a shade structure — that need to be installed before the park officially opens in a few weeks.
The quick work schedule has helped keep the project under budget and while it is too early to say just how much under the $160,000 budget it will be Putnam says the trail work was kept under $100,000.
The track was designed and built in house because there is no protocol for this type of park.
“It’s nothing that’s been built before, there’s no real standard or specs,” Project Supervisor Nick DeCicco says. “That’s why we’re doing it internally. We need to make sure it meets certain types of requirements and specifications.”
The longboard track was originally planned to be part of the main park space for West Highlands but following some concerns over sharing the pathways with pedestrians and cyclists the city opted to move the longboard portion of the park south of Pacific Way School.
Up until this point longboarders have been restricted to city streets and parking lots, much to the frustration of some motorists and residents. The longboard club meets weekly in the West End for jam sessions where they can hangout, ride and teach newer riders the tricks of the trade.
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Ben, who is new to the sport this year, is enjoying the new longboard park so far.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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