Heat Wave Skatepark - Modesto

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Heat Wave Skatepark - Modesto - Grabbed from https://gonesk8ing.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/the-famous-rumble-pool-skate-crew/

General Information

Skatepark Name
Heat Wave Skatepark
Size (square footage, no comma)
106000 square feet.
  • yes
Opening Date
August 01, 1977
Open / Closed
  • Closed
Extra Info
Owned and Managed By: Allan Hirschfield, Owner Steve Weston, Manager John Kinkead, Manager
Free or Pay
Inside or Outside
Are Pads Required?
Riding Surface?
Is there a pro shop on site?

Construction Info

San Francisco skater Dan DiPaola


Walmart Supercenter, 3848, McHenry Avenue, Modesto, Stanislaus County, California, 95356, United States
Postal Code


  • Private

From the Guide to Western Skateboard Parks in 1978


Heat Wave boasts 106,000 square feet of skating surface with ten runs ranging from beginner to advanced skills. The competition slalom run is 30' wide and 180' long with a 10 percent grade. The intermediate and advanced snake runs end in bowls 30' in diameter and 15' and 16' deep.
Two half pipes, one 17' in diameter by 50' in length, offer good vertical up to the lip. An 80' by 60' freestyle area is also provided.
The largest functioning mogul area, called "Forever Land," is one of the radical features of the park, and a 600' long switchback run caps off a really hot park.
One special treat; Motoboards are permitted during the week. Although they are not available for rent, the pro shop sells them.


The $3.00 annual membership fee is required to ride at the Heat Wave. In addition to the photo ID card, there are occasional special promotions and free sessions for members. The admission charge is $2.50 for a two-hour session, and sessions start every two hours on the even hour. All required safety gear may be rented in the pro shop for 25 cents per item.


The Heat Wave, with the largest skatepark pro shop in the world (over $140,000 in retail inventory), boasts an extremely wide selection of high-quality skate boarding equipment. They are also a distributor and the exclusive Northern California dealer of Van's "Off the Wall" skateboard shoe. Other brands include Powerflex, Sims, NHS, and Santa Cruz.
The pro shop offers a 10 percent discount to recognized teams, and special team rates apply when four or more team members in uniform come in to practice. The pro shop also offers lessons for all phases of skateboarding skill.
The amateur contests held three times weekly really gaining popularity in the area. Starting at 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, they give local and visiting amateurs the chance to compete for various prizes, including equipment, trophies, free sessions, free meals at a local restaurant, and cap visors.
At present, there is an amusement arcade with 40 pinball, video, foosball, and air hockey machines, and vending machines for soft drinks and munchies. In March of 1978, however, an expanded arcade and snack bar should be completed. There will be more machines in the arcade; the snack bar will feature hamburgers, hot dogs, and the usual munchies. In addition, a picnic area and a free spectators' grand stand will be provided.
With a radical layout and hard-rocking music, the Heat Wave promises some hot skateboarding.

From the modestoview.com


The History of Heat Wave Skate Park by Marc “Squid” Johnson

The skatepark was designed by San Francisco skater Dan DiPaola and financed by a group associated with Beno’s Department Store out of Southern California. Dan combined design elements of several successful SoCal skateparks and was responsible for inventing the Mogul Bowl, a large triangular bowl surrounded by sloping banks with four strategically placed cement moguls in the middle which allowed skaters to ride around the bowl and over the moguls while applying pressure to the tail of the board in order to pick up speed , carrying inertia and ricocheting around the bowl indefinitely. This soon became the most attractive feature of the skatepark, fostering a fast learning environment and along with the spontaneous nature of skating, occasional collisions. The bowl design was pure genius and caught on as a skatepark design staple worldwide.

The official grand opening was September 17, 1977. The park had been unofficially open since late July 1977 and was well attended, with skaters needing to purchase a “membership” which included a laminated photo card and a signed insurance waiver. A fully stocked Pro Shop offered state-of-the-art skateboards and components as well as safety gear and coveted skate logo t-shirts. The Heat Wave was the first shop for miles (as well as for several years) to sell Vans Off The Wall skate shoes which came in two tone red and blue (I bought the first pair).

There was a contest on opening day which was attended by skate teams from all over California including the infamous Tunnel Team, the Santa Cruz team, the Alot-A-Flex team from Berkeley as well as the uncanny talent of Barron Ealoha from San Francisco who jumped out of a bowl and over a Honda Civic. The contest was won by Gary Kocot of the California Free Former team who finished his routine by impressing the judges with a handstand across the flat part of the bowl, much to the dismay of his competitors who adhered to a strict bowl riding standard of tricks on banked walls and various aerials.

At some point BMX bikes were invited into the park, many of the skaters being BMX jumpers and racers already. The bikes were particularly exciting, taking lines of their own as well as jumping about three times farther than the boards, and subsequently upping the level of carnage.

Injuries of various types were common but only infrequently severe. As one acquired greater skill, the falls generally became less frequent as well as less severe. If a skater had the presence of mind to begin rolling into a fall while still in midair, the consequences were sure to be less dire. Almost everyone came away with road rash on knees and elbows, falling some distance onto a hip was a given, with the occasional ankle sprain or concussion, tailbone injuries also, maybe even a Swellbow. The most common broken bone was a wrist, this park averaging maybe two or three a month, usually happening with the skater trying to protect himself while falling face first. The aforementioned roll prevented many a wrist injury. By far the most fearsome break was the femur, which could be heard from some distance away (I am aware of only two). If you were going to skate hard, you had to get used to road rash. To this day, every skater remembers the feeling of waking up with scabs stuck to the sheets, bleeding through the knees of your pants in school, or the dubious honor of sporting jerky on all four corners.

The park was also open during the winter months but was only lightly attended during cold weather, the banked and vertical walls growing dangerously slick in the Valley fog, and falling on concrete being even more painful when you were already cold. Rain days brought certain closure with the bowls often filling with up to twelve feet of rainwater due to famous Modesto drainage issues.

Subsequent years brought decreasing attendance with a small group of intrepid locals frequenting the park until closing, mainly due to high insurance costs and diminished attendance. The ownership finally closed in December of 1979, which stopped the cash flow but not the skaters. True skateboarding, being born of mischief, continued long after the official closure with local skaters jumping the fences at night and skating in the dark, no lights, often by memory alone. Soon the runs were draped by management with heavy chain, bolted to the concrete. Ironically the chains were placed by non-skaters who were unaware of the actual direction of travel, rendering the measures completely ineffective. Skating in the dark continued until the park finally fell to wrecking ball and bulldozer in the fall of 1982.


Judi Oyama ,Heat Wave Skatepark - Modesto - photo from Judi Oyama


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