Sadly, its been widely reported this week it is permanently closing. RIP to the Vans Skatepark in Orange CA. You were great!
From Issue #1, 1997 - Down in Orange California, Vans shoes has opened up one of the Worlds best skateparks. It opened this past November in a new Mall called the Block. What attracted me to it was the recreation of the Combi-Pool, from Upland California's skatepark, which I had grown up skateboarding in the 80's. But this park has a lot more than that to offer as I soon found out.
The park boasts these stats. 46,000 square feet. An 80' wide vert ramp layered with Finnish Birch. ( Very Smooth and Fast) A 6,000-square-foot outdoor concrete street course, filled with rails, banks, ledges, and a pyramid. A concrete bowl with a mixture of Depths hips and ledges. A humongous indoor street course with slants, pyramids rails made mostly of plywood. Another 2 smaller indoor concrete bowls, one is definitely where the groms dwell. An arcade, pro shop, Vans shoe store, and a extremely large observation deck that's over a large portion of the park. It also boasts quite a fee to ride the park. $9.00 for a two hour session for members and $13.00 for non members. Ouch. But the prices don't seem to have swayed many as the day I got to ride the place was packed! Sessions are limited to 150 skaters at a time. Many early sessions get closed out on the weekends. I got the chance to go check it out this past Christmas for a day.
After placing a few calls to many an answering machine a posse was born. We decided to meet at the park in the afternoon. Since I was staying about a mile from the park I decided to go pick up some fresh bearings and scope the whole place out. After finding parking I walked up to a 50 foot tall picture of Caballero on the outside of the park and peaked in. Low and behold the Combi-Bowl was right in front of me. I was drooling! Quickly getting inside was the next task. Damn crowded in all areas, what a zoo. As I got to the observation deck I looked out at the spread. It was enormous. Then I noticed that Andy Macdonald was there shredding apart the Combi. Making the bowls look like a mini-ramp he busted trick after trick in all the wrong places. It was time to get my bearings together and get outta there to get ready to skate the place later that day. Now was the time for getting my chance to ride the park. A few minutes of rolling around the Combi and I was huffing hard. Then the posse started rolling in. Eric, I've only skated once the last five years , Nash. Bringing with him Steve Salisian and Ben Schroeder. Lance Mountain also decided to make it out and watch the old crew break off the rusty chains. Everyone quickly joined the masses in different areas of the park to get started. After a while everyone got around to skating the Combi Pool. Lance had it dialed. Schroeder was terrorizing the lip, Salisian and Nash were getting around the bowl pretty good for coming out of retirement. I actually rode the place better than I had the original one 10 years ago.
Then a bunch of the usual customers were rolling in and ripped the bowl apart. There was one guy named Jake Piasecki who I'd never seen or heard of that completely destroyed the Bowl. Watch for something about this guy down the road. Most of us were worked, so we had a cool down session on the mammoth vert ramp. Chad Vogt, Neil Hendrix, and Bucky Lasek were riding that day. Lucky Bastards if you ask me. We soon finished for the night. Fun was had by everyone at the park, except the guy who left via a stretcher. What a day! - J. Greenwood