Normally a new skatepark opening in a city is a really rare occasion.
I’ve lived in places where new parks maybe open every 10 years if you’re lucky. In Guernsey where I grew up, it took a friend of mine over 25 years to finally get a permanent skatepark built. Even then, I consider that a lifetime achievement award-worthy effort on his part. Thanks, PJ. I never got to skate that park, but I appreciate your work.
Skaters often wait eagerly for almost 2 years before their park arrives, usually from the first moment they heard about it. So many excited conversations are had about what will be there, and what won’t. The anticipation levels usually reach a fever pitch once the plans are revealed.
Will the new skatepark be truly great, or will the city screw it up, like they so often, do?
The Big Bowl at McVicker Skatepark, Lake Elsinore
This usually ends with a multitude of shrugs and celebrations once it opens. The lovers of the park are in heaven, while the critics are overwhelmed with disappointment, but skate it anyway.
The old adage of ‘you can’t please everyone’, rings true to new skateparks, EVERY time.
So, whilst MANY cities worldwide have to wait MANY YEARS before their residents are blessed by the skate gods, this is NOT the case in Lake Elsinore, CA.
3 New Skateparks in 3 years
In the past 3 years, the City of Lake Elsinore have opened no less than THREE brand new skateparks!
McVicker Skatepark Street Course Panorama
You think THAT’S cool? They’re planning to open yet ANOTHER one within the next year, too!
Living near Lake Elsinore, this has been AMAZING for me. We literally went from having ZERO parks worth skating, to having 2 that I like.
When you take into the population of Lake Elsinore is only 66,411, it’s a relatively small city.
In fact, as it’s spread around a whole lake, it’s really more like 3 or 4 small towns, although that’s not why there are so many skate parks opening.
Lake Elsinore – Dream Extreme
Lake Elsinore has a slogan of ‘Dream Extreme’. Yeah, I know it’s dated, but they’re trying.
It’s the plan of the city to become a place people that are into extreme sports to visit.
Big Bowl Shallow End with Rocky Corner – Mcvicker Skatepark
There’s an awesome motorcross racing venue, skydiving, 3 skateparks, and also other things in the works for Lake Elsinore. Not to mention all the watersports the lake itself brings. There’s speed boats, so wake boarding and water skiin. Also jet skis, and more.
There’s great Southern California weather all year round for outdoor sports, and it makes sense to make the city something a little different.
Actually, the latest of the skateparks to open, McVicker Skatepark, isn’t all that new at all.
McVicker Park had a skatepark for many years. It was extremely bad (see what I did there?), to say the least.
The Old McVicker
It was pretty run down. The old McVicker skatepark had the nastiest prefabricated black plastic surfaced ramps. These ramps absorbed the heat from the 100+ degrees temperatures in Lake Elsinore, which made them painful to fall on at best.
It was also swamped with scooter kids with no understanding of ramp etiquette. The ramps were also badly set up, with no way to get any REAL speed from anywhere. There were also massive holes in the surface of the ramps, that just didn’t get repaired.
Oh yeah, you also had to pay if your drivers license didn’t have a Lake Elsinore address.
Needless to say, almost nobody skated there. It was pure garbage.
McVicker Skatepark started having the usual issues that come along with a run-down skatepark, alcohol, drugs, problems, etc.
The city shut it down for about 2 years, due to these issues…
…and so they could plan to build THIS AWESOME BEAST…
Big Bowl from Over Vert Corner – Mcvicker Skatepark, Lake Elsinore, CA
Much Bigger Than Serenity Park
You’ve seen many photos of Serenity Park here on Pivotboard.com, as it’s my favorite skatepark around.
Serenity Park is pretty small, but everything in the park is really great and skateable, and is a great small training ground to keep old skills flowing.
Now, however, we don’t only have Serenity, but McVicker unveiled this awesome new amazing 11ft vert flow bowl. Guess where this old vert skater’s gonna be NOW?
About 30 minutes from Pivotboard.com HQ (AKA my house), this concrete mega bowl has pool coping, and connects with a plethora of other quarters, banks, gaps, an over-vert corner, and much more.
There’s also a 12ft ‘pool’ bowl, which is okay, but not really my thing. To be honest, I don’t see many other people skating it, either, so it can’t be that good for many.
It seems to be a little too deep for MOST skateboarders, and so gets neglected in favor of the flow bowl.
But Where’s the Street Course?
The small street course leaves a LOT to be desired, in my opinion.
Small quarter, Great to skate, but where’s the rest of it?
As always, the locals tell me that the street course was supposed to be much bigger, and better, but in the planning things got made smaller.
Usually this is a city budgeting issue that plagues almost all skateparks the world over.
This Hubba is oddly high, and at a weird angle.
I think, however, this seems pretty typical of many Grindline skateparks. They always do a great job of the big main bowl, but the street courses are just okay. Maybe they need to get more people that can design great street courses in their design team.
Considering there are a couple of other street courses in the city, this is no huge loss, and what is there, is perfectly skateable (is that a word? It SHOULD be).
The A-Frame and Flat bar are pretty tight
I liked the small flat-bar rail, and the A-frame seems to be okay. There’s a super fun tiny little quarter, that’s great for little lip tricks, etc.
This Bowled corner is actually TONS of fun!
I haven’t really got my teeth into much else, because the big bowl has been taking up all my time, and tires me out quite a bit.
Definitely going to Steezy Backside 5-0 this one, very soon…
There ARE also a FEW weird things in this park…
Weird Things at Mcvicker Skatepark
I’ll just leave the pictures here, as I just don’t want to be negative.
These few things are definitely weird.
Some of the plans showed a squared mini ramp bowl here… …but then THIS happened.
Money could’ve been spent better elsewhere, and it leaves my mind wondering what’s going on sometimes.
This runs straight down into a solid steel fence which has an 11ft vert bowl right behind it.
The Vert Flow Bowl
Grindline seem to have done a pretty good job of building the flow bowl to be good for both goofy, and regular skaters, although it seems to lean towards regular skaters a little more. I’m goofy-footed (amongst other things), but I still love it to death.
To begin with I thought this was a Grindline Skatepark trait, as sometimes park builders really only like to build parks for one type of skater. If you’ve ever skated a park that’s designed for the opposite stance to you, you’ll understand what I mean here. It can be a little frustrating.
Thinking about it, Prince skatepark in Oceanside is really great for goofy skaters, and Vista can flow for everyone, so another great thing about Grindline is that they DO really mix it up. I totally appreciate that, as it’s hard to do well.
Remember the weird stuff I was talking about? Errr… …why?
Anyway, the new skatepark at McVicker Park in Lake Elsinore is definitely a challenging park to ride. It’s got a little bit of something for everyone.
There’s a hell of a lot of big scary transitions for those of us that love them.
You’ll be seeing a lot of it, because I will definitely be there a lot. This big bowl is too much to just not go to at all.
I’ll be skating this park for the big bowl, and stick to my favorite little bowl and street course at Serenity Park on the days my balls aren’t so big.
Shout Out to the City of Lake Elsinore
I definitely want to give a massive shoutout to the City of Lake Elsinore.
I’m happy to be living close to a city that’s being so progressive, and forward thinking.
So many cities are not thinking that way. I’m sure with all the work they’re doing for the acrtion sports community, you’ll see big drops in crime in the coming years, as young people actually have a lot to do there.
Big Shout Out to Grindline Skateparks!
Props to Grindline Skateparks for pumping out some really great, truly skateable pro-level parks.
My only small critique would be to maybe do a little better wit the street courses, although I know that a lot of the time, this is down to city planners cutting budgets.
Less of the weird stuff would also be cool. I’m sure there are many people out there that love the creativity. But, let’s get more creative with the building of awesome, skateable terrain, and fewer of the ‘afterthoughts with left over concrete’ I’ve seen more and more of at their parks lately.
Skateparks should be for skaters, not to spend budgets and make politicians feel happy.
Oh, and keep building more big bowls, as it seems to keep the scooters at bay, too!
No, I Don’t Hate Scooters
No, I don’t hate scooters, not even one bit. Within any sport, when people are at a higher skill level, there’s ALWAYS a mutual respect between us. I love skating with anyone that knows how to session. ANYONE.
However, there are grommets of every class, and more grom-scooters than any other right now. So it’s just their turn to be picked on a bit. It’s kind of a right of passage.
MOST People Don’t Remember THIS (but I do!)
Are you old enough to remember the mid-80’s, when it was skateboarders that were picked on? Mostly older, better skaters ‘picked on’ younger, grommet skaters of less skill than them (yes, there was a pecking order). This happens to you when you get in someone’s way, or have no etiquette. It can piss people off, so you get some shit for it. It just so happens to be scooter’s turn right now.
And no, I never pick on anyone. I’m not an asshole (despite popular belief!).,
What about the late 80’s when it was BMXers? Or the early 90’s when it was rollerbladers that drove everyone nuts?
Snakeboard never really got that time of popularity, which I think was a shame, and coincidental that it was on the rise at the same time as inline skating. Pivotboard has always been underground and obscure, so we fit in with everyone, and try not to answer too many questions, lol. No, I still can’t kickflip my board, FYI. Wouldn’t want to.
The great thing about a rise in popularity like the recent one with scooters, is new skateparks for older people like me to enjoy. More people to skate with, too!
If scooters piss you off, do what I do, go to the skatepark early in the morning, before the grommets get out of bed. The park is empty, and you get a full-on session without them. only the cool people skate early.
I hope pivotboard will have a time where we are the ones hated on as grommets.
The moment everyone hates us, it means we’ve finally arrived, and my goal was achieved.
Interesting perspective, huh?
Heading to McVicker?
Heading to McVicker Park in Lake Elsinore and want someone to skate with, hit me up, I’m always down.
Just make sure you bring your big boys pants with you, so you can skate the big bowls.