My Love and Fear of Skateparks
Before I started rollerblading two years ago, I didn’t even know that parks for skaters existed. Once I discovered one after another, my world opened up a whole new level. Nowadays, skateparks seem to be everywhere. Like a kid searching for his next playground, I always googled for a nearby skatepark when I traveled to new places. I used to take my kids with me to discover a new skatepark, but they had lost interest in rollerblading. I adventured out on my own instead.
Wherever I went, I always found the skateboard community to be welcoming and encouraging. Most of the time, I was on my own because I was the odd one out. In occasions, there would be one or two aggressive skaters. For the most part, however, I had always been the only old-ass rollerblader with a helmet and full protective gears. As much as I love skateparks, the fear is real. Dropping into a deep bowl could be quite dangerous. I fell a few times. The helmet, which cracked, saved my head. The knee, hand, and elbow guards saved my body. One time I fell on my butt and I was in pain for weeks. Another time, I twisted my right knee and that took weeks to heal.
These days, I am more cautious at the skateparks, especially the ones that I discover for the first time. I would study the ramps and the bowls first before diving in. Age is definitely a factor and I can’t take the risks. I still have responsibilities, but I love to add a bit of danger into my life. I am always fully-guarded just in case.
I am putting together a list of the skateparks I have visited so far. I might go back and add more in the future, but here’s the list:
Albert I Allen Memorial Skatepark
Located in Wildwood, New Jersey, Albert I Allen Memorial Skatepark has decent snake zones with bowls to drop in. I skated here every morning when we stayed in Wildwood for vacation. I am looking forward to going back this summer.
Fort Belvoir Skatepark
Located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, this skatepark is small, which is good for beginners. Advanced skaters might get bored.
Located in Herndon, this skatepark is tiny, which might be good for beginners.
Lake Fairfax Skatepark
Located in Reston, Virginia, Lake Fairfax Skatepark has a decent bowl and low ramps suitable for beginner and intermediate. It haas bright lights for late-night skating. My kids and I used to skate here quite a bit. They had lost interest though.
Lancaster County Skatepark
Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this skatepark is close to my sister’s house. It has a huge bowl and a snake zone. When mother was in the hospital in the last two weeks of her life, I came here every morning to clear my mind and to think about her. I cried and fell here by myself. This skatepark will always remind me of her.
Located in Manassas, this skatepark is very small.
Matt Hughes Skatepark
Located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Matt Hughes Skatepark has decent ramps and a half pipe for intermediate skaters. I skated here in the afternoons when we stayed in Myrtle Beach last summer for vacation. It was not bad.
Nags Head City Skatepark
Located in Nags Head, North Carolina, this skatepark has deep bowls as well as snake zones. It is geared toward intermediate and advanced skaters. When I visited it recently, which was a few weeks ago during our spring break vacation, the wooden ramps were not in good shapes. It needs some maintenance. My kids and I only skated here one time.
Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Overlook Skatepark has ramps only. At the time, I could only skated around the park and small ramps. I’ll revisit it in the future to see how far I have come.
Powhatan Springs Skatepark
Located in Arlington, Virginia, Powhatan Springs Skatepark has two bowls and a snake zone. I usually dropped in from the bowl of the snake zone. I tried the deep end of the smaller bowl and fell on my ass. I was in pain for weeks. I have conquered the smaller bowl, but I have not attempted the large bowl. I go to this skatepark about three times a week during my lunch break at work. It’s my afternoon exercise away from the screen.
Located in Rodanthe, North Carolina, this skatepark is small, but has high curved ramps to ride up only. It doesn’t have the top copping to drop down. I couldn’t do much here, but the playground nearby is very nice. The kids loved the playground. We biked here every morning on our recent spring break vacation. The kids hit the playground and I hit the skatepark.
Schuyler Hamilton Jones Skatepark
Located in Alexandria, Virginia, Schuyler Hamilton Jones Skatepark has straight and curve ramps. They are high enough to drop in and skate around. My kids and I used to go here on occasions. They used to love it. Even Xuân liked riding his scooter here. Now they are no longer interested.
Scott D. Eagles Skatepark
Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Scott D. Eagles Skatepark has the highest half pipe I had seen yet. It also has a steep bowl. The only area I could skate was the street course.
Located in Washington, DC, I only went here a few times during my lunch break. It has a small bowl and a few ramps. It was usually a bit crowed when I went there during lunch hour. I don’t mind skating here once in a while.
Van Dyck Skatepark
Located in Fairfax City, Van Dyck Skatepark is perfect for beginners. I learned to skate down straight ramps, curved ramps, and quarter pipe in this skatepark. This is also where I twisted my knee trying to ride the quarter pipe. I still go to this skatepark whenever I can because it is the closest to my house. My kids used to join me in this skatepark. These days, they rather go to the playground areas.
Located in Annandale, Virginia, Wakefield Skatepark is a step-up from Van Dyck Skatepark. It has three areas from beginner to intermediate to advance. I started off at beginner then moved to intermediate. I never thought I would ever go near the advance area. One morning I decided to drop in from the highest curved ramp in the park and hit my head on the concrete. I was blacked out for a minute. The helmet cracked, but I survived. If I didn’t have my helmet, I would have been in trouble. These days, I have conquered my fear and dropped in from that highest ramp. Wakefield is a bit further from my house, but I go here whenever I could. My kids used to join me here, but they don’t like going to this skatepark anymore.
Walker Mill Skatepark
Located in Walker Mill, Maryland, this skatepark has a nice variety of ramps and a bowl. I only skated here once since it is about 45 minutes away. My sons liked it, especially Đán when he was on top of of his game.