10 of the Most Iconic Skate Spots in the World
Planning to take your skating international - check out these iconic locations before you go
In skate history, a few skate spots have risen to iconic status. This is due to the iconic spot's unique skate architecture, the legendary tricks performed there and the famous skaters who have skated there.
Skaters travel to iconic spots for different reasons. Some visit these spots to perform new tricks and make their mark but most make a pilgrimage to experience the thrill of skating on such hallowed ground.
Check out our top ten list of iconic skate spots to learn where these spots are, their histories and why they are so significant to skateboarders.
[part title="Louisville Extreme Park, Kentucky"]
Opened in 2002, Louisville Extreme Park, with its signature 7.3-metre full pipe, spans 3,700 square metres with two 11 foot bowls, loads of smaller ones, fun boxes, a street course, a two-metre flat bank, several ledges, rails, and endless lines.
When you add the 3.6-metre wooden vert ramp with extension, it makes it the largest skatepark in the States. Tony Hawk featured the Extreme Park in his recent Secret Skatepark tour, bringing the world’s attention to this iconic skateboard spot.
Louiseville Extreme Park Video:
[part title="Kona Skate Park, Jacksonville, Florida"]
One of world’s few remaining private parks from the 1970s, Florida’s Kona Skatepark continues to hold a special place in skateboarding folklore. Its smooth, pastel coloured concrete has helped make Kona a favourite among professional and amateur skaters for 40 years.
It introduced both vert ramps and skate legend Rodney Mullen, and with ramps, pools, even an old-school downhill snake run, this joint has something for everyone. Perhaps nowhere has soaked up more spilt blood than Kona, and the old girl ain’t done yet.
Kona Skate Park Video:
[part title="Hubba Hideout, San Francisco, CA"]
Demolished by the city of San Francisco a few years ago, Hubba Hideout will always be remembered as a simple, but iconic place, which played a major role in the progression of skating.
Koston, Kalis and Garcia made the set of six stairs famous, with the enormous ledges descending at a gentle angle providing a perfect spot for skaters that were pushing the limits of ledge height, and the tricks that could be done on them. Big manoeuvers were common place and the steady flow of video parts featuring the Hideout means that although it is gone, it will never be forgotten.
Hubba Hideout Video:
[part title="South Bank, London"]
For over 40 years, the South Bank on the River Thames has held a special place in UK and European skateboarding. While London offers plenty of skateparks with better facilities and arguably even street spots with more to offer than Southbank's relatively sparse assortment of ledges, the history and cultural capital here is huge.
Before the South Bank’s redevelopment, no one ventured here except for skaters and homeless people. Post development, the skaters held their ground against the oppressive South Bank Centre and corporate harassment. With plans now to demolish the area, skaters are again fighting for their iconic patch. Let's hope they succeed.
South Bank Video:
[part title="Brooklyn Banks, New York"]
Located underneath the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, the banks are loved by skaters and unknown to the rest of New York’s citizens. This three-block long expanse of smooth red bricks - complete with a perfectly-banked wall of varying heights, wallride spots, stairs and handrails - was seemingly designed by skaters for skaters, not by some city planner.
Skaters have had to fight, though, to keep the place safe from demolition. They’ve been successful for the most part, but Brooklyn Banks is currently off-limits to skaters while it undergoes a four-year hibernation period so the city can renovate and repaint the bridge.
Brooklyn Banks Video:
[part title="Marseille Skatepark, France"]
An urban skatepark that is as well known for its graffiti art work as for its iconic layout. The set up is perfect. There are a hundred lines, a few killer hips, bowls, and fast steel coping everywhere. In addition, it sits on one of the most scenic coastlines in the world, and has floodlights that allow all-hours skating.
As France’s largest and best outdoor skatepark, with a strong history, it attracts skaters from all over Europe who come to skate the various painted bowls and vert ramps and soak up the unique atmosphere.
[part title="Vans Skatepark, Orange County"]
1,900 square metres, good vibes, and with a solid mix of both street, transition, and vertical skateboarding, there’s few places like this in the world right now where you can turn up and session with some of the best skaters in the world.
Highlights include a rehashing of the iconic Upland Pipeline Skatepark Combi-Bowl, and an outdoor old-school type skate area with large cement banks and a pyramid. Designed by the Team Pain crew, its mix of old-school heritage and new-tech features will ensure its iconic status.
Vans Skatepark Video:
[part title="Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco"]
The bumpy brick plaza on the Embarcadero in San Francisco is an iconic spot that changed modern skateboarding. Known simply as EMB, it is home to skating’s most famous gap, The Gonz Gap.
Named after the Gonzfather himself, Mark Gonzales for being the first to ollie it, and later kickflip it. During the 1990s Justin Herman Plaza’s stairs, stage, ledges, gaps and 'the wave' became a Mecca and de facto birthplace of technical ledge skating, and the spot where skaters came from 'round the world to get noticed and filmed.
Justin Herman Plaza Video:
[part title="Carlsbad Gap, Los Angeles"]
It was Jeremy Wray and his epic skating at the Southern California school in Plan B’s 1994 video 'Second Hand Smoke' that put the gap in the spotlight and ensured its iconic status. While the school also featured an array of ledges, stairs, benches and gaps, it was the larger of the two gaps that provided a sure-fire route to skating fame, if you went big enough.
Those that did and landed landmark tricks included Josh Kasper’s 360 flip, Kris Markovich’s kickflip and Tom Penny’s switch frontside kickflip. The Gap is now sadly gone, but the legend lives on.
Carlsbad Gap Video:
[part title="Burnside Skatepark, Portland"]
One of the most recognisable concrete skateparks in the U.S. started as a forsaken coincidence of urban infrastructure. The space underneath the east-end of Portland’s Burnside Bridge was out of the way, dirty and forgotten, until skaters started building concrete ramps that made the bridge pilings into walls of ad hoc vert ramps. Eventually, skaters got permission from the city to let their skatepark stay and Burnside’s ramps, bowls, hips and pyramids have only gotten better and better.
It has ended up in a host of vids, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game series, and yes, even the movie Free Willy. It doesn’t get much more iconic that that.
Burnside Skatepark Video: