Vert Ramp

1989 Summer

Skateboarding Halfpipe

It was the biggest ramp in the Santa Cruz County area at the time. With 10-foot transitions (10-foot radius) and 2 feet of vert, it was 12 feet tall and 24 feet wide. And with 16 feet of flat bottom and 8-foot decks on each side it was 52 feet long. Ramps like this existed, but mainly in Southern California, and I certainly had never ridden one. In fact, before I built it, the largest ramp I had ridden was only 8 feet tall.

However, after my freshman year of high school, having just turned 14, construction commenced in an area that Mom had hired a tractor to level. I don't remember how long it took to build, but I'm sure we were riding before school started in the fall. The ramp was entirely sized by me (designed or engineered would be too strong a word) and built with my friends. No one over 17 helped, except for my mom who made countless trips to the lumber yard with me.

Wood was cheap at the time, at least compared to 2006 prices, but still expensive for a kid. Allocating my clothes allowance towards lumber only went so far, so we scrounged scrap wood, bought used wood when we could, and liberated wood from construction sites. And when buying the first of many layers of masonite (the riding surface that covered two layers of 1/2" plywood and which had to be replaced each year due to water damage) at the Home Depot I didn't say anything when the cashier rang up 40 sheets of 1/4" masonite as much less expensive 1/8" sheets.

The completed ramp as viewed from the driveway. On the stairs a red gas can is visible. When the bottom of the ramp got wet we would pour gas on the damp spots then light it to speed drying.

And a view from above. The driveway and house are out of the picture to the left.

Moms fro and a 16 year old Willy dominate the foreground of this shot, photographer unknown.

Delsin Ho about to drop in, he was the best all around skater I knew as he was able to dominate on vert, mini-ramps and street skating. I was never very good on mini-ramps.

In the mid 1990's, I think, Will came home for a visit and burned the ramp down. I was at UC Berkeley at the time and the ramp had been un-rideable for years.