Ground Breaking for Vans Off The Wall Skatepark in Huntington Beach
Vans and Jack’s Surfboards began construction on an Off The Wall Skatepark and Garage Skate Shop in Huntington Beach on Thursday, which will be completed in the spring, according to Vans.
The 30,000-square-foot space located off Center Avenue will be free to the public, offering skaters and BMX riders, with skills ranging from beginner to the more seasoned, a place to hone their craft.
The park will feature a competition, mid-sized backyard and beginner bowl area along with space for street skating.
California Skateparks Designer Joe Ciaglia said the goal was to stick with the Vans vibe of “flowy, fun and kind of laid-back.” He added that there are also plans for amateur and pro events at the park.
“We made sure that we did everything we could to maximize the benefit of this to the city and the local citizens of the area and of course, the kids who will be using this park on a daily basis,” said Kevin Bailey, president of Vans, an action sports apparel and footwear brand of VF Corporation.
Founded in 1966, Vans has continued to stay true to its Orange County roots. This will be the brand’s second skatepark in Orange County, following the one built in 1998 at the Outlets at Orange.
According to Steve Van Doren, vice president of events and promotions and son of Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren, the decision to build a park in Huntington Beach happened after a small skatepark was torn down on Main Street.
Van Doren said their friendship with Jack’s Surfboards helped to form a partnership and approach the city to propose a multi-million dollar, long-term investment in a new, more expansive skatepark.
“Every city is facing fiscal challenges during the recession and that’s why it’s outstanding that Vans put together a public-private partnership that far exceeds anything we’ve ever had in Huntington Beach,” said Matthew Harper, mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach.
“This helps solidify Huntington Beach as an action sports destination. Action sports are very important to our residents and to our future economy,” said Harper.
Legendary professional skateboarder and Huntington Beach resident Christian Hosoi said he has seen the skate culture in Orange County evolve throughout his 30-year career.
“We had to break through all the people that said no way, you guys are a bunch of rebels, a bunch of punk kids, [to] make it into a professional sport. Now, you have a safe place. You don’t have to break the law. You don’t have to destroy public property,” said Hosoi.
The Vans Off The Wall Skatepark helps alleviate the negative connotation that skateboarding culture had because it offers a designated place for residents to practice their skills and build a career, said Hosoi.
“This is finally a free park for the community, for the kids, to come and just be skateboarders… and to birth world champions,” said Hosoi.