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Adelaide City Skate Park - Not as Beginner Friendly as I'd Hoped But an Awesome Skate Spot All the Same

The Advanced Bowl - Adelaide City Skate.
The Advanced Bowl - Adelaide City Skate.

I'll begin by saying Adelaide City Skate is one of the best skate parks I've ever skated. Officially opened in September 2022, it replaces the old City Skate that was just down from Adelaide Central Train Station.

Located at Gladys Elphick Park/Narnungga (Park 25), Corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue, Adelaide, it's a full roller sports plaza with something for all skill levels.

The first time I heard about this skate park is was a concept plan floating around on the internet, maybe a year or two ago. The next time I heard anything about it was when my partner sent me pics from the window of a building she was in couple of weeks ago.

Adelaide City Skate Concept Plan
Adelaide City Skate Concept Plan.

A little bit of research took me to the park's website and I was surprised to see that concept plan in all its completed glory. Show's how much I pay attention to the news.

Thanks to my current lack of skating ability I was excited for this park to be built because it has a dedicated beginners section that included a 'beginner' bowl. One thing I know about the current state of skating is that bowl and mini ramp riding in general immediately gives you more opportunity to skate if you like such things.

Those people who do like them, tend to have access to them on a daily basis, everybody else skates street obstacles because that's what they have to skate most in their local neighborhood.

Unfortunately the 'beginner' bowl in this skate park is in no way a beginner bowl except it you compare it to the 'advanced' bowl at the other end of the park. 

I don't know the exact specs of the advanced bowl but that thing has to be at least eleven feet deep in the deep section with at least three feet of vert wall around the top. It also features the 'cradle' which is the unique 'photo opportunity' feature of the park, and looks like a perfectly circular bowl tipped on its side. A select few may be able to skate over vert but most people's wheels will never get any higher than half way around the wall.

The mini 'beginners' bowl viewed from above.
The mini 'beginners' bowl viewed from above.
Not a single wall parallel to another.
Back to the beginner's 'mini' bowl. When it comes to beginners you want to give them easy wins so they don't get discouraged. I'm not sure what the designers were thinking with four foot high transitions (five foot in one section), none of the walls parallel to each other, and an awkwardly placed bell hump on one side?

That's not an easy bowl to skate for someone who has a bit of a clue about bowl skating. It must be even more frustrating for someone who hasn't even grasped how to pump to maintain speed?

When I visited this park it was mid Sunday morning with extremely nice, but not too hot weather. The whole park was moderately busy.

Busy enough that you needed to keep an eye on who was skating what so you wouldn't run into them but not so busy that it was impossible to skate a long line across the whole park if you kept your eye on who was around you.

That meant only one or two skaters were occasionally skating the bowl, along with the occasional scooter, and bike riders. I got plenty of opportunity to really try the bowl out.

Which, on a fast, four foot high transition was mostly me trying to get used to the speed of the drop in before hitting the opposite wall. Which is not easy trying to find the optimum spot to drop in without any opposite wall that actually runs parallel to the one you're dropping in on.

In the end I worked out that dropping in from the shelter end (right side of the picture above) and heading across to the five foot transition wall (left side of the image) gave me the most amount of flat to get used to the speed and not have to jump off before hitting the transition. Of course it turned me straight in to having to either deal with or avoid the hump - which completely killed any speed I'd managed to maintain in the turn.

The Mini 'Beginner' Bowl - Adelaide City Skate.
The Mini 'Beginner' Bowl - Adelaide City Skate.

Which probably sounds lame to anyone who can ride a bowl but I haven't ridden a bowl since I visited West Beach Skatepark in 2018 and my confidence has only gone down hill since then. Even by 2018 I hadn't really ridden any kind of ramp with any confidence since the 90's.

I did have a little bit of a go on the beginner street area which has nice mellow quarter pipes at each end but not a lot of room if more than four people are skating this section at the same time. The middle section was filled with stuff I have no interest in skating, mellow banks, rails, manual pads etc. All things I've lost all my confidence with.

Truth be told I'm not a street skater. It's why I don't frequent my local skate park which is literally a short walk from my house.

The Beginner Street Area - Adelaide City Skate.
The Beginner Street Area - Adelaide City Skate.

When I started skating back in 1988 I built a mini ramp in my back garden because I wanted to learn how to skate mini ramps. All through the 90's I skated mini ramps that I either built or at the indoor skate parks that were around then. Street is just kind of a fun aside or a why to wind down after skating ramp. I like noodling around on curbs mostly.

If you're a street skater, or you have some intermediate (or better) skills skating bowls and mini ramps you'll love Adelaide City Skate. It's open 24 hours so, if you don't like the crowds, there's probably some hour during the day or night you can find where you won't have to worry as much about other skaters in the park.

The Main Plaza Area - Adelaide City Skate Park.
The Main Plaza Area - Adelaide City Skate Park.

For me, I think I would love this park if it was my local. I would be there every day, padded up, skating the mini bowl. It's not a great beginner bowl but once you get past that, I think it looks like it would be fun. As it stands this is an hour's trip on the train and there just isn't enough for me to do, to do that on the regular. But I would love to skate the mini bowl more.

If I could leave with one suggestion for the Adelaide City Council, and any council with a skate park, or anyone designing one. I've never met anyone that doesn't like a three foot high, beginners mini ramp with a 4-5 foot radius transition.

It's low enough for beginners to learn ramp skating, and high enough for intermediate and advanced skaters to use as a starting point for learning new lip tricks. You don't have to weave your way through a bunch of manual pads, handrails and banks trying to maintain speed for a trick on a quarter pipe, and it's really easy to see who's turn it is to skate if everyone is playing nice.

Please stop leaving this feature out of public skate park designs. It's especially good for skaters of my age who could use a little less impact on the knees and feet.

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