The history of skateboarding is rooted in Southern California, first rising to prominence as a pastime for surfers when the water was flat. Throughout the 1970s and 80s, skaters traveled to San Diego from near and far to skate the empty Escondido reservoir, the West Coast’s first skate park in Carlsbad, and the now defunct Del Mar Skate Ranch. The sport of skateboarding is still alive and well today, and Solana Beach-based skaters finally have a place to call their own at the newly built La Colonia Skate Park. It’s a place for skaters of all levels to come together, practice their skills, and have fun. Read along as we speak with City of Solana Beach Parks and Recreation Manager Kirk Wenger to find out more.
Q&A with City of Solana Beach Parks and Recreation Manager Kirk Wenger
What was the motivation behind building a skate park in Solana Beach?
There are many skaters in Solana Beach, so the motivation for the city was to provide a venue for them to recreate and have fun. This venue also provides a place for the youth in the community to gather with friends and get outside and play.
When did it open?
It opened on April 27, 2019.
What are some features at the park available to skaters?
SITE Design Group designed a park with plenty of features for the progression and enjoyment of all rider levels from beginners, intermediate, and advanced. The skate park includes two entrances, one from Stevens Ave. and one from within the park itself at the lower grass area. Skate features include several banks with level changes from 6” to 24” at seven different locations. Quarter pipes were incorporated at both ends of the park to allow riders to do tricks at and return back into the park to keep constant flow. Quarter pipes range from 36” to 38”, 42”, and 48”.
In the center of the park you’ll find a four-sided china bank, all four sides at different heights to add variety for skill level and trick opportunities. We also have a 3 stair against the china bank with a round rail and another 3 stair against the sculptural rolled lay back bank, also with a round rail. Between those two stair sets sits a bank with a rectangular rail. On the north side you have a 4 stair set with double hubba ledges with opportunity to ride them on either side, on the stair side, or the bank side.
Throughout the park we also have gaps to jump over, a drainage tunnel to ride over, a pole jam, and a banked hip. The skate park is enclosed with perimeter safety railing on two sides and a beautiful artistic sound wall to the north to help keep skateboarding noise down and enhance the aesthetics that well represents the City of Solana Beach.
“Parks make life better!”
How was/is the park funded?
City funds, a San Diego County Neighborhood Enhancement grant, and donations.
What are your responsibilities as the City of Solana Beach Parks and Recreation Manager as it pertains to the skate park?
Promote the facility, work with the Public Works Dept. to maintain the facility, encourage safety and fun.
What do you most enjoy about your role? What are some challenges you face?
I enjoy seeing the facility highly used by the public. This new asset (along with the new basketball court) has really brought a new energy to the park. The community is enjoying it and more people are coming out to recreate.
My biggest challenge is encouraging skaters to use their safety equipment.
Approximately how many skaters visit the park in a given week or month?
We do not count, but I estimate 1,000 per week (4,000 in a month).
Are there fees to use the park?
What are some of the most important rules/guidelines skaters should be aware of when using the park?
The park is open every day from 7 a.m. to dusk and is closed when wet. Safety equipment must be worn. Children 12 years or under must be with a parent. Skate at your own risk and be respectful of others.
At-A-Glance | La Colonia Skate Park
Address: 715 Valley Ave., Solana Beach
Hours: 7 a.m. – Dusk
Contact: Parks and Recreation Department, 858-720-2453
Why is the skate park an asset to the community?
It brings community members together by providing a venue to bring their children, exercise, and have fun through skateboarding.
What’s in store for the future of the park? Future goals, activities, etc.?
An annual community event to celebrate skateboarding and our skate park.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Parks make life better!