Beaufort News

Dude, this ramp is gnarly! Hilton Head skaters are looking for some repairs

To understand why skateboarders say Hilton Head Island's skate park needs repair, you have to look closely.

Very closely.

Small holes and grooves are etched into the ramps and other obstacles from years of skateboarders rolling down the same paths. In some areas, they're three-quarters of an inch deep. Rain pools in them, threatening to rot the foundation.

The Bristol Sports Arena Skate Park is overdue for maintenance, skateboarders say.

"Everybody rides certain lines through the park, and in these paths that you ride, everybody tries to go as fast as they can," said Patrick Safe, a 38-year-old island skateboarder. " ... They're going over the same path over and over again, causing it to wear down. If you hit one of those areas the wrong way, you fall."

The south-island park at the intersection of Arrow Road and Helmsman Way is owned by the Town of Hilton Head Island but maintained by Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services. On Thursday, representatives from both governments plan to visit the park to assess its condition.

The county has added the project to its list of potential park capital improvements projects, said deputy county administrator Bryan Hill. The scope and cost of the work have not been determined.

"Once we have a complete list, we'll evaluate the areas with the most needs and then we'll move forward," Hill said.

A decision on whether the skate park will get the repairs should be made within a month, he said.

The skate park and a roller hockey rink, which also shows signs of wear, opened in 2000. Since then, the skate park has been refurbished once, and cracks in the rink have been patched through the years.

The park's ramps are coated in a composite material called Skatelite that usually lasts about five years.

Shane Gould, a skateboarder and owner of the skate and surf shop, The Fuel Station, hopes the county or town will fix the problems as a temporary measure and then consider building a new, concrete skateboard park.

"It's getting really bad," Gould said. "There are holes all over the place."