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Skateboard Course Opens at Huntington Beach Park


HUNTINGTON BEACH — A $71,638 skateboard course was inaugurated Saturday at Murdy Park to the glee of about 25 skateboard enthusiasts and supporters.

"It's great," said skateboarder Mark Combs, 19. "We can come here and not have any hassles."

The oval-shaped facility, consisting of a 30-foot concrete floor with built-in benches and curbs to simulate neighborhood streets, is the first designed course for skateboarders in Orange County, said Bill Fowler, the city's superintendent of recreation and human services.

"The city banned skateboarding on business and commercial property in 1991," Fowler said. "Now the city has given them a place where they can practice their sport."

The area was carefully designed with the help of professional skateboarders to make it safe, yet competitive for everyone using it, Fowler said.

Course rules posted near the entrance state that all skateboarders must wear a helmet, elbow pads and kneepads before using the facility or risk being ticketed by the police. There is no age limit for skateboarders, and the course is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

City officials say they have researched skateboard injuries, and that Huntington Beach is protected against liability lawsuits as long as the facility is maintained.

Ron Hagen, the director of community services, said most injuries sustained by skateboarders result from chipped concrete and broken surfaces. To prevent chipping, "concrete was set 1,000 times above the normal pressure used for concrete on city streets," he said.

Hagen also said there are plans for two more skateboarding facilities within the next year, one across the street from Huntington Beach High School and another at Edinger Community Center.

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