I have always loved skateboarding, from my first board in the 1978 (for those that know about these things it was a G&S Fibreflex deck with Bennett Pro Trucks and 65mm Blue Kryptonics) I have always continued to own a deck of some sort, however I’ve never managed to master the Ollie, so tend to be an old skool type skater.
It was therefore with great delight when I discovered that my youngest son shared my enthusisam for skateboarding. The fact that by the age of 9 he was much better than me did irk somewhat. However, rather than get bitter and twisted over this I saw an opportunity to fulfil a life held ambition of building and owning my own backyard/garden half-pipe ramp (or should I say my son’s ramp).
With this in mind I took the plunge a couple of summers ago and ordered up the timber and started preparing the plot. I had to shift some earth around to get it level. I had some old paving slabs leftover from other jobs so I positioned these at the corners with supporting slabs midway as I thought necessary.
There are lots of tips and advice for this around the web and lots of inpsirational stories and images. (Please see links below).
Now, we have a typically small British back-garden (note to any US readers, our small houses/gardens are due to the UK population density being 646 people per square mile compared to the US population density of 83 people per square mile)!
Our small garden notwithstanding I was determined to have at least an 8 feet wide ramp with a reasonable flat to allow for adjustments and set up for tricks between transitions.
In the end I built the ramp to fit the space we created in the garden. (My long-suffering wife was fortunately ok with this).
The specs are:
3 1/2 feet high
8 feet wide
7 feet flat
The transition radius is just under 8 feet.
I also incorporated some storage space under the platforms.
For the surface I initially used WBP (Water and Boil Proof) plywood, beware though as it is the glue which is water and boil proof and the ply layers do not last long when exposed to lots of rain (even when using very high quality exterior wood paint).
I used 2 layers of 9mm WBP ply, this lasted about 18 months until the delamination and wood rot meant it was unrideable. I have recently reskinned the ramp using a single layer of 9mm Marine Ply laid on top of the original 2 layers.
I then painted this with an exterior, water-based paint primarily designed for outdoor furniture (benches and tables). This seems to be working well.
I chose the colour to try and make it look and feel a little bit like the pools they have stateside!
Here are some useful links (I used them as a guide and made some amendments as I built the ramp).
Free skate ramp plans.
Timelapse of a complete mini ramp being built.