Every skateboarder knows the joy of having a personal space to skate. Our client, a skateboarding enthusiast from sunny San Diego, California, saw that we build custom wood skate ramps and had a vision of transforming his backyard into a skate bowl paradise. This wasn't just about having a place to skate; it was about creating a communal hub to share the thrill of skateboarding with family and friends.
He was interested in having a custom skate bowl built in his backyard overlooking a killer view. After speaking to him about this project, we drove down to his home in 2018 to take a look at the property and the space which we had available to work with to make this skate bowl dream come to life.
The Concept: Shaping a Dream into Reality
Our client's dream was clear: a custom skate bowl, reminiscent of iconic skate parks, seamlessly fitting into their backyard landscape. He wanted more than just a mini ramp or skate rail kit. This was to be a personal playground and a testament to his lifelong passion for the sport.
Building a backyard skate bowl is one of the more complicated builds possible. On top of that, we had to figure out the logistics, such as how to bring the bowl parts into the backyard. The biggest hurdle we faced was how do you get 10,000 lbs of lumber into this space without a helicopter.
With a bit of creativity and problem-solving, we found a solution. There was a tight space where the side yard was and the majority of the backyard was occupied with a pool. Given this situation, our team had to get clever in terms of how we could load in all of the materials through an alternate route. One of the ideas we considered was using the empty lot behind the customer's property. We felt that this would be our best route to take for the load in with the skate bowl materials.
Another unique concept which came into play with this project was that the customer was building a brand new home, from the ground up, and wanted to wait until the house, the landscaping, and all other aspects involved in this process were completely done before we could build the bowl.
Little did the customer know, he was about to face a bunch of delays from getting permits for rebuilding his house. This delayed the project well over half a year. But nothing is going to stop him from having OC Ramps deliver the goods! The customer ended up hitting us back up at the beginning of 2021 to let us know that his home project had been completed, and our team picked up the project right where we left off.
The Build Process: Turning Skating Challenges into Triumphs
OC Ramps CEO, Tyler Large, drove down to SD to take a look at the property after the new year to begin working out the plans for this bowl project. The property was drastically different from when we initially visited in 2018. There stood this brand new, gorgeous home with a beautiful swimming pool and great landscaping. There was just one thing from making this a truly epic paradise - his custom skate bowl!
The space we had to work with for the project was a relatively flat and level concrete surface, coming in at around roughly 35 ft wide x 25 ft long. We talked over some ideas for optional upgrades, such as going with Skatelite Pro or Gatorskins to provide the smoothest skating surface, and if he wanted one or two extensions for the bowl.
We went through a couple additional ideas with the customer. He couldn't decide on 3.5 ft tall vs 3 ft tall. We also discussed the option of filling in every square inch of the space with his backyard bowl, along with extending the top deck platforms. We also discussed the possibility of adding some different shapes to the bowl such as a kidney shape (the kidney bowl is a common bowl shape in skateboarding).
The only downfall which comes with the build of a kidney bowl is that it requires more labor and more materials, which then brings up the cost of the project. The same goes for filling the entire space with the bowl.
The customer had several weeks to think about these upgrades and additional modifications. He ended up deciding on going with a 3 ft tall bowl with a standard, oval shape. He chose to go with one extension which would be 8 ft wide and 1 ft taller, making it 4 ft in height.
He wanted to keep the platforms 2 ft deep but we informed him that he can always add onto this later if he does choose to. With this in mind, his plans for the future are to extend out the platform where there is additional open space available, making it roughly 10 ft deep. He wants to eventually use that new 10 ft deep deck to put a barbecue and some lawn chairs. We are stoked to see how this future project turns out down the road!
To wrap up the final bowl modifications, he wanted to extend the deck to 4 ft deep on the side of the bowl, which would be facing a hill. We also discussed putting in a very basic hand rail on this same end. Lastly, he decided to go with brown Gatorskins as his premium skating surface of choice (a killer choice - wait til you see the final bowl below).
Once we got all of the aspects of the bowl project in order from the customer, we began prefabricating everything in our warehouse which is located in Orange County, California.
The Finished Product: A Backyard Transformed
As always, our goal is to try to pre-cut, pre-drill, and countersink as much of the ramp as possible to allow for a smoother installation process. In this particular case, we were able to build all of the four bowl corners in advance.
We loaded up all of the materials for the project, including the prefabricated bowl corners, and headed out to the installation site on an early Saturday morning.
When we arrived out in San Diego, the tricky part was getting our large, flatbed trailers to the access road behind his property. The next big hurdle was unloading each 800 lb bowl corner and placing it in the proper location.
The weird pie shape which comes with bowl corners brings awkward size, shape, and weight. When walking to the installation site, we had to walk slightly up a hill, downhill, and over paver steps. Essentially an uneven surface.
Our installation crew had to call out to guide each other every step of the way. It was a very difficult, tactical, and strategic process just to get those bowl corners off of the truck and to the installation site - but as always, we get the job done with a smile on our faces.
Once we got the bowl corners in place, we proceeded with transferring all of the flat sections and quarter pipe sections from our flatbed trailers to the installation site.
Our crew got to work on the assembly of this custom skate bowl once all of the materials had been transferred to the installation site. We pieced it all together and assembled the bowl within 2 full days!
Client Experience: A New Way to Live and Shred
This journey from concept to reality was a testament for our passion of skateboarding, building, and helping make our clients' dreams come true. This backyard skate bowl is more than a skating structure—it's a place of joy, memories, and shared experiences, a unique feature of their home that will be enjoyed for years to come by him, his friends, and family.
And you bet the customer was very happy and satisfied with the outcome of his new, custom bowl. We hope to go back soon and skate with our pro skate team!
Your Skateboarding Paradise Awaits
Inspired to create your own skateboarding paradise? With OC Ramps, your backyard can be transformed into your dream skateboarding oasis too.