Edison Park Skate Spot open for business in Huntington Beach

Alyssa Whitson, 21, ollies a curb at the new Edison Park Skate Spot on Thursday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Charlie Molinari sat in the shade with his skateboard, enjoying the moment.

The city of Huntington Beach officially opened the Edison Park Skate Spot on Thursday morning. Moments after Mayor Kim Carr made her remarks and the red ribbon was cut, Charlie was one of many skateboarders to break in the new park.

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” said Charlie, 15, an incoming sophomore at Edison High School.

“I’m so stoked. This is awesome. It’s a nice place to get out and interact with your friends, get out of the house. I feel like it introduces more skaters to start skating and see how fun it is.”

The Edison Park Skate Spot is a bit basic, with no bowls or ramps. But it’s also temporary, said Chris Slama, Huntington Beach’s director of community and library services.

Slama said the city is in the middle of a total redesign of Edison Park, and is engaging in community outreach for feedback. Renovations also were completed on the entire interior of the adjacent Edison Community Center earlier this year, the first improvement project at the center since it was dedicated in 1973.

A stone’s throw north of the skate spot, there are temporary pickleball courts, which the city hopes will take some of the weight off the four impacted pickleball courts at Worthy Park near Huntington Beach High School.

“We’re thinking about the next generation, because things change,” Carr said. “What was really hot a couple of decades ago may have been racquetball, but now it’s pickleball. You’ve got to modernize and keep up with the times.”

Tyler Christensen, 21, boardslides a rail at the new Edison Park Skate Spot on Thursday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Slama said he would often get emails about putting a skate park at the Edison Community Center, and he’s also seen petitions online. A small skate park was opened in the early 1990s at Murdy Park, and remains operational there, but that’s on the other side of town.

Vans has its Off the Wall Skate Park near Bella Terra mall, but the new skate spot in southeast Huntington Beach represents a more basic introduction into the sport. It was built in an area that formerly held picnic shelters.

“They were dilapidated,” Slama said. “It was just a blighted spot … There’s a lot of concrete, so naturally it made sense to lay something down here. It’s temporary, but it’ll be a good trial to see how well it’s used and what the community is looking to put over here.”

The redesigning of Edison Park is part of the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan update, which started in May. The Edison Park Skate Spot specifically was built by project developers RJM Design Group and Newline Skateparks.

Kanten Russell, a San Diego-based professional skateboarder who is a project manager for Newline Skateparks, was at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Russell said the Edison Park Skate Spot contains elements like double-sided curbs, a manual pad and a grind bench.

Blaze Roche, 18, enjoys the new Edison Park Skate Spot on Thursday in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

He predicted that the flat bar in the front will also be an asset to local skateboarders.

“It’s a variety of stuff, and most importantly, there’s room for flat ground,” Russell said. “If kids want to learn how to jump up and down off the curb like that, it’s there for them. And if they want to get technical with these crazy flip tricks, they can do that. It’s open for beginners and advanced users, if they want to.

“We really wanted to make this feel almost like a schoolyard. That was the inspiration.”

City employees had a good time at the ceremony. Even City Manager Oliver Chi laughed as he tried his luck on a skateboard. He stayed upright, even if he wasn’t quite as steady as Slama.

Carr did not partake, but she watched with appreciation as teenagers descended on the skate spot.

“My hope is that this temporary skate park will lead to a more permanent, international-style competition type of park,” she said. “That’s my hope, because skateboarding is huge in Huntington Beach. It has been for decades. As you can see, it took them all of five seconds to start. These kids have been waiting; they’ve been eager to get out here.”

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