Favorite Skateparks – Jim Gray

List your 5 current personal favorite skateparks and why.

1) Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Memorial Skatepark, Venice Beach, CA. – I absolutely love the snake run and just the idea of going fast with tricks being secondary to the ride itself. It’s a great warmup to ride the pool afterward and to go back an forth between the snake run and the pool. It also caters somewhat to all types of skaters which is important to me.

Jim Gray backside ollie at Costa Mesa
Jim Gray backside ollie at Costa Mesa

2) Volcom Skate Park Of Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa CA. – Well, I had so much to do with it personally and really focused on designing it to accommodate a large number of skaters functionally at the same time, which is where a lot of parks don’t work. I could point out it’s flaws too, but one thing most people ever tell me about Costa Mesa is that they have a good time, and that is the most important thing to me…

3) West Linn Skatepark, West Linn, OR. – I just love that park and how it flows for me. I would never design a park that way because it fully limits how many users can ride without killing each other, but as one big run, few have ever made me happier than flowing through the course at West Linn….. The coping grinds well, lots of fun little pockets to pump through, roll ins and outs at speed, cradles, steep spots, mellow spots, just a damn good variety. It works there. It would be a death trap in California unless that whole park was just one run in a much bigger park.

4) Ayala Park, Chino, CA. – I Just like the small tight pool and the big open flow bowl from a variety standpoint. It is a well designed park that allows for a lot of users overall both street and transition. Again, has plenty of flaws, but I always have fun, and it works for me.

Jim Gray coasting the little hip  @ Ayala Skatepark, Chino CA.
Jim Gray coasting the little hip  @ Ayala Skatepark, Chino CA.

5) Cunningham Regional Skate Park, San Jose, CA – Ok, so first you got a massive full pipe. That’s enough to get me anywhere. Then the smaller pool is really fun and I could ride that all day and be happy too. Then it just keeps going. The bigger pool, though not my favorite in the world is also lots of fun, then on to the cradle/flat wall extension bowl etc… and basically if you can’t enjoy yourself here, you should stop skateboarding.

(Bonus Park) What is your all time favorite skatepark? Why?
Big O, Orange CA. (R.I.P.) – Favorite of all time has to be Big O, in Orange. Why? Because I could loosen my legs up in the reservoir, hit three quarter pipes, relax in the Holiday bowls, then step up to coping in the clover, the Keyhole, and the capsule. Even the wacky stuff gave me hours and hours and years and years of pleasure and life long love for skateboarding. This is where it all blossomed for me and addicted me for life. It was just a good place to hang out.

Jim Gray - Big O Skatepark in Orange CA 1979
Jim Gray – Big O Skatepark in Orange CA 1979

1978 – Jim giving the Big-O capsule a workout.

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