Big air handling units are being looked at as a way of forcing humidity through the building, so that on those cold winter days the skatepark floor will not become slick. Although there may be a few days in the year when it is impossible to skate, this should not be cause for concern. For a start, the entire place will be dry most of the year.
The proposed longboard journey, which would run from the skatepark down the high street and all the way out onto the harbour, would help the building to connect with the rest of the town. “We want the building to extend its tentacles into the town. We want to create a journey for longboarders, we’re developing the idea now, but the first thing you have to do is create the centre, and from there we want the building to evolve and become a part of the culture of the place.”
Of course all of this sounds rather ambitious, but Guy and his team have sought advice from a variety of sources. They have consulted local skateboarders, Maverick, and also Iain Borden, an academic who has written on skateboarding, and has advised skateboarding projects before. He will be acting as a critical friend to Guy’s team on this project.
»The aim of the project is very clear: Folkestone is to become a key destination for competitive skateboarding, at a time when the sport is being codified ready for the Olympics«
There are also obvious benefits to skating on different and unconnected levels. It is possible to introduce different session times for various groups. Sessions might be split up according to ability, age, or gender. There is also the potential to host parties and competitions, whilst the other levels are used for everyday skate sessions.
The skatepark is a huge investment in the town, and Guy and his team are positive about its future.
“I love learning about new things and creating new building projects. I think that a lot of people are watching this project keenly, it is very rare for a town to put this kind of investment into a project like this. Cities need to engage with young people and create recreational spaces, but to integrate skateboarding into urban life, where space is at an absolute premium, is difficult. If we can come up with a solution which brings the skateboarding opportunity to the young people in their city, then I think we’ve got a really interesting concept.”
Barry Pluck, at the Folkestone Amateur Boxing Club, shared this sense of optimism for the project:
“I think it’s going to be phenomenal for Folkestone. Growing up the youngsters have been limited as to what’s available in the town, but there are now so many more opportunities for young people. We would have never imagined the skatepark being built in a place like Folkestone – it’s a world class facility that will get so much interest from around the world. It just shows how far Folkestone has come on over the past ten years.”
The aim of the project is very clear – Folkestone is to become a key destination for competitive skateboarding, at a time when the sport is being codified ready for the Olympics. And you cannot hold an international skateboarding competition if rain threatens to call it off, so you need a roof. It will be interesting to visit the finished skatepark and to session it on a damp day, to see how well the mesh works.
Whether Folkestone skatepark creates its own events, or pitches to host existing events – it seems very likely that we will be hearing more much about the park. It hasn’t even been built yet, and already the hype around it is massive. Whether or not it can live up to the wide range of big expectations… that will remain to be seen.