In the last four years, four concrete skateparks have been built in Israel. That, in itself, is huge for our local scene. Even sweeter is that the parks have been contracted out to Grindline and that the most recently completed one in Kfar Saba was built by a Grindline–Dreamland cooperative effort that included Mark Hubbard, Mark Scott, Sage Bolyard, Tavita Scanlon, and Alfred Perez.
The first two parks, in Tel Aviv (20,000 square feet; built summer 2007) and Zichron Yaakov (5,000 square feet; built summer 2008), have been resounding successes. These parks were designed by local shredder Avi Luzia and landscape architect, Kav Banof, with Wormhoudt Inc. taking part in the design of the Tel Aviv park; both were built by Grindline teams that included Mark Hubbard, Chad Vogt, Alfred Perez, Tony Moriana, and Greg Brandelli.
Dozens of skaters hit up Tel Aviv’s park on the daily. The park includes a roomy street area, perimeter plaza, flow bowl, and 9 ft. amoeba pool, Israel’s first pool coping bowl. The Zichron Yaakov (pop. 17,000) park is a smaller park also designed by Luzia (in fact he has designed all four parks so far with more on the way!); relatively off the beaten path, the park has been called home by a nice group of locals, and the terrain is good mixture of quarterpipes, escalators, and a 7 foot flow bowl.
Since fall 2010, two parks have been built – one in the town of Herzliya, and the other set to open July 10, 2011, in the adjacent town of Kfar Saba. Herzliyya is a sprawling park with a sick flow bowl that includes an oververt pocket, a killer snake run, a buttery street area, a great plaza, and a nice beginner zone off on the side. Herzliya opened with much fanfare in March 2011. The GC for both of these projects was ER Itshaky.
From what I hear, this is only the beginning, with municipalities understanding that skateparks are very popular in Israel. They are also approached by skaters and their parents in their constituencies who wonder why they or their respective kids have to travel to other cities and towns to skate. Avi has played a major role in advocating for parks and assisting skaters with the process.
A last note: The Israeli skatepark scene is hugely indebted to Skaters for Public Skateparks. Many different people took part in the emergence of the skateparks here in Israel, too many to mention, and I’m sure I’d offend someone if I left them out. All along the way, there were questions that needed to be answered, and the SPS forum was always there with quick answers and support.
So here’s to you SPS, thanks!
Written by Elan Freedberg
About Elan: Elan grew up in Los Angeles, where he skated during his teen years. After moving to Israel, he began to advocate for public skateparks. He was active in the establishment of the Tel Aviv skatepark and his efforts brought about a skatepark in his hometown, Zichron Yaakov.