If you’re stuck in lockdown, and you really get an urge to skate, there’s only one solution: You need to do what I did and build a stupid ramp out of scrap wood in your garden.
It’s probably obvious, but I am not a professional ramp builder and I have very little experience building stuff like this from scratch.
Now, a lot of people out there are skating parks or street spots, especially as the lockdown restrictions have been eased over the last couple of weeks. Personally I think this whole thing is super scary and I’m staying in as much as possible and protecting myself and my family. Having said that, I need to skate to take my mind off the situation.
I suffer from anxiety, and the trigger is health and life threatening illnesses – so COVID-19 is kinda my worst nightmare. With that context, this is the reason why I didn’t just go and skate a random empty spot, and built something kinda stupid that only I would end up skating.
I previously had a 1 foot high concrete ditch/miniramp in the garden (image below), which I used a little, but ultimately not enough to warrant the space it took up. It was also really hard to skate, and the concrete mix in the transitions and flat bottom were terrible because my Dad thought he knew a better concrete mix for a skatepark than Daryl Nobbs (you know, the same Daryl Nobbs who works for Betongpark and builds parks every day).
We had wanted to put in a veg patch for a while and because we were going to be spending so much time in the house, we just decided to fill the ramp in with compost and grow some veg. Last winter the ramp had gotten really mossy and slimy as well, so it just seemed like a good idea. 3 weeks into lockdown I got really desperate to skate something that wasn’t my drive or the hills and paths near my house, so I took a bunch of scrap wood from various garden projects and got cracking with building… Something.
The starting point was a wooden palette. At first I was going to build a curb thing, then I propped it up against the wall and realised I could probably make some weird street bank/kicker. I hacked up a bunch of wooden beams to create supports for the bank, and build some extra support for the transition at the bottom of the bank.
Once the bank itself was supported, I covered the frame with some leftover flooring panels. These slotted together really well to create a super smooth riding surface.
I tried to create a deck and add some extra weight to the back of the bank with some more cut offs from wooden beams. This purely came from the desire to do a Sweeper on this thing.
The finished ramp was actually pretty good – one of the only downsides was that it was a bit slippy so Tailblocks are a bit of a struggle (I plan to fix this in the future with an electric sander). I did a few daft tricks on it, and it definitely works as a kicker too.
In conclusion, maybe I’m over-reacting to COVID-19 by literally turning into a hermit who skates bad ramps in his drive, but the act of building a project like this really helped with my anxiety. It used up a bunch of scrap wood that was just taking up space in my garden, and I got to actually skate at the end of it all. I think the point of this blog post is bigger than “I built a shit ramp”, though: I think that the point is, no matter how bad things get, we owe it to ourselves to find a way to connect with skateboarding, in any way we can.