While many shy away from crowds and grand shin digs. I do just the opposite. I love skating in the thick of things, when the intensity is high. Plus, a new skatepark is as good as fresh powder to a snowboarder, or glassy water to a water skier. I've been watching the photos of it's construction on the internet, and so few extra folks on opening day wasn't going to discourage me from getting some fresh tracks on new concrete!
Pier park is in a section of Portland called, Saint Johns. The park appeared to have everything I enjoy skating. Some actual, honest to goodness vertical landscape to skate, and a 20 foot full pipe, pool coping and of course tile! Pretty much heaven on earth.
7:30am We depart (Steve, Dave, Miles and myself) in Steve's little Altima. Gas wouldn't be a problem on this trip. It's dark, and the fog/mist/rain is getting the car wet. Half asleep, we listen to selected Cd's from Steve's collection.
We understood that the park wasn't going to open before 11am or something. So we weren't in too big a rush.
As we were passing through Olympia, we hadn't eaten yet, so we decided to stop for breakfast there. And as a side note, we drove by the Olympia, WA skatepark. There's not really much here to write home about, so we kept on moving on...
About 10:30am We stopped in Woodland, WA and got gas. I mentioned that there is a new skatepark (not yet open) around here. So, we wandered around and found it near the freeway, next to Horseshoe lake.
It looks fun, and a little small, but I'm sure there will be more added to it later.
We continued our way south toward Portland, and on the freeway we passed by this funky motor home. We couldn't help taking photos of it. We were all laughing so hard. This thing had messages written on it, and an old VW Van body sticking up out of the roof. Too funny.
We rolled into Portland around 11am.
The Pier Park Skatepark isn't super big (only 11,000 sq ft). But, the deep bowl is 11.5 ft. deep (as it should be) and is super fun, not only that, but it is connected to a 20 foot diameter full pipe, and a 9 foot shallow end. The full pipe also has a "rabbit" hole on the side, where one can climb out of or roll in from.
Some were doing airs over the hole (But I'm getting ahead of myself).
We had to park a couple blocks away due to the crowd. So, we skated up to the Park and the first thing I noticed was we could hear some guy talking over a PA system. The next this we noticed was the full pipe coming into view. For us, that was a surreal experience. This full pipe sticking out of the ground, just beckoning us to come and ride it. In many ways this reminded me of finding pipes by accident that were so much fun to ride, but weren't ever intended to be ridden by skateboarders.
The closer we got, the louder the talking got. I could hear that he was thanking all the folks who helped make the park a reality. (Whoo hoo Thank you! Can we skate now?)
Steve and I walked straight over to the deep bowl. But there were 500 people standing around, but no one was skating. So, we couldn't really walk right up to the bowl, too many people ("excuse me, pardon me, thanks..."). Steve gets his pads on first, and drops in. I asked someone if they said not to skate, while the noise of Steve skating is echoing throughout the park (Screech...schreeeeech). The person I asked, said, yeah they said we couldn't skate. Steve popped out of the bowl, and I told him we weren't supposed to skate, and he looked at me, and asked, "well, did they threaten us with bodily harm or a civil law suit?" Steve then looked at the bowl, and all the people, and said, "Dude, this is the best time to skate!" At which point he dropped in again. I couldn't skate. I was laughing too hard.
Shortly after this, everyone skated. It was a mad house. However, just as I expected, the deep bowl was manageable. You see, with an 11.5 foot deep end, not too many are going to just charge it like a mini-ramp. And certainly the mini-areas were getting far more activity. So, it wasn't as bad as many thought it would be. The hardest part was distinguishing skaters from not skaters. Everyone was pressing in to see the action that standing on the deck was the hard part simply because there were so many spectators. We skated for a good 3 hours before we were too tired and hungry and it was time for a break.
We hit the local Safeway for some cheap food, and came back and ate and watched the show. Skilled to unskilled skateboarders of all kinds. It was entertaining to simply stand by and watch. The old Portland crew came out, it was fun to watch for sure. I could have just watched all day and still had fun.
After our food settled, we skated another couple hours before it got dark. Steve didn't want to skate, and was thinking that he'd wait until the next morning. He was feeling a little out of shape (something about only skating once a month or something?). As the day went on, people started leaving, and the session started to thin down. I started saying to Steve, that he'd better get in there now, because you never know what tomorrow may bring.
Finally, he did pad up and ride for about an hour before it got to dark to see anything.
We had four in our crew. We all came down from the Seattle area to skate. Miles and Dave are both teenagers, and they were just as tired as Steve and I. We had a hook up to stay the night (Many thanks to Tom!) And all it took was just sitting down for a while, and those two kids were out like a light bulb.
It was an epic day, one we won't forget.
We planned on getting up at dark "O THIRTY" and getting out to the park before the predicted rain was to hit. But, that didn't work quite how we planned. We stopped for coffee, and by that time it had already started to drizzle (A common feature of NW weather: Drizzle).
We arrived at the park and found Mike from Hailey riding the pipe. It had just started to rain. Steve rolled in through the rabbit hole and skated the pipe a couple of times and decided it was just too wet. So, we regrouped and headed for some breakfast.
As a side note. If I had a 40x40 tarp I could have covered the shallow end and we could have skated it along with most of the pipe. The top of the pipe has these eyelets, and all one would need is little carabineers to hold the tarp. It wouldn't take much, and I'm thinking that next time I go, I'm bringing my own tarp.
With rain coming down in buckets, we left breakfast for a secret indoor bowl session.
More than anything we just wanted to skate a little before going home. Mike and Doug joined us and we had a nice little session before heading home.
After skating for a couple hours, we said our good-bye's and headed home. Of course on our way home, we had to stop at another skatepark that is under construction in Battle Ground, WA. Which looks like it will be a lot of fun. We'll be back for sure. It's also a Dreamland skatepark, as Woodland and Pier Park are.
Our little Seattle crew enjoyed Pier park immensely, we want to thank all that made it a reality! It was totally worth the trip out there for us! We will be back.