So here we are, back again for another round of “The Skatepark Situation”: a now reoccurring series of articles on the Covert site about skateparks in Coventry, which aims to fulfill the task of trying to get the council to understand skateboarding, as well as trying to get the skateboarders to understand the way the council works. Through handling these issues, I’ve been attempting to get to the bottom of why we have 5 sub-standard skateparks, whilst there are many places all over the country from major cities to small villages getting skateparks that are a lot better. The goal that I’m hoping for is that the information gathered in these articles can be put forward to the council and a solution can be found that makes everyone happy.

Unfortunately, half of this part of the series is going to head right over into “grumpy old man” territory. Basically, I’m going to be complaining. However, this time it’s not about the position, design or money spent on the skateparks. Actually I don’t even really think it’s anything to do with the council. Today, I took a trip over to the Alan Higgs Centre for a skate at their skatepark, unfortunately as we arrived the rain had soaked the park, but whilst we waited for it to dry we took a look at the new paintjob the skatepark has recieved.

Photo0015I’m not sure who, and I’m not sure when, but it would seem that a youth organisation of some kind have brought a bunch of kids to the skatepark and allowed them to paint all over the ramps. Now I’m not saying this is bad – a similar thing happened at the Holbrooks bowls and it supports artistic creativity for young kids. Obviously as a Graphic Designer I feel it’s great to get kids involved in art, skateboarding and graffiti, as they’re all sub-cultures I’ve been greatly interested in for years. However, whoever was in charge of the Alan Higgs decorating fiasco has made some grave errors, which have rendered the park dangerous and almost unusable for the people it was built for in the first place.

Now to many of you there’s nothing wrong with the graffiti on the ramps here. The problem is that the paint that has been used does not appear to be the right kind of pain that is safe for use on SKATEBOARD RAMPS. It’s slippy, which is extremely dangerous; I fell over just WALKING up it, so imagine would happen if I’d landed a skateboard trick slightly off centre. Broken legs maybe? Contrary to popular belief, falling off is NOT the best part of skateboarding – Being able to skate without fear of slipping off your board is the best part of skateboarding!

Photo0016Not only that, but the once smooth surface of the flatbanks is now, in some places, quite rough due to application of paint on some of the panels. Some parts of the bank have stones stuck into the surface from the paint drying, meaning there are trip hazards that skateboard wheels can get stuck on. The banks have been made worse, along with the whole park, and the worst part is that the job was not finished properly in the slightest – a large, glue-like puddle of wet, brown paint has been left at the bottom of one of the quarter pipes, which causes more problems. If someone skates through that then they’ll instantly slow down, damage their bearings and wheels and most likely get seriously hurt when they fly into the quarter pipe. Considering that a lot of skaters are complaining about the quality of skateparks in Coventry, whoever has given the go ahead for the “re-decorating” of the Alan Higgs park has just given us a new reason to demand a new skatepark. As I’ve said before, these skateparks are for skateboarding, BMX riding and rollerblading, not for youth groups to practice graffiti – There are plenty of blank walls around the city that could do with re-decorating. If you’re going to bring a youth group to a skatepark, kit them up with some pads and get them skating!

On a positive note, although it’s extremely slippy, the “carbox” or “funcar” made me laugh.

Photo0014

The second half of this installment of The Skatepark Situation is in video form. It’s an interview with Ride Skateshop head honcho and all round Cov legend Paul Atkins AKA “Jim The Skin”. He’s been skating for longer than most of you have been alive and can still shred any ramp. I asked him some questions about his thoughts on parks in our city. Click here for the video.

Until next time, keep on rolling.