Starting to write this article, I wondered about the term ‘professional d.i.y.‘ which has been quietly existing for a while now. I mean, since the serious skatepark building business nowadays seems to be in the hand of skateboarders pretty much isn’t every project kind of professional d.i.y.? Well, we as skateboarders do it ourselves (just like the whole industry used to be), if we get paid for it or not, it’s bloody d.i.y., isn’t it!? We take matters into our own hands, this is something we should be really, really proud of and continue to do so.
And that’s exactly what we did in a little town called Glücksburg in my home area. Glücksburg is located ten kilometers east of Flensburg, Germany’s most northern city. Denmark is like a stone’s throw away and there’re a lot of stones on our beaches, not that we would throw them north, though. Glücksburg has had a skatepark for about 15 years, a big asphalt flat with way too few wooden ramps. Due to our wet climate those ramps had been restored a few times already and the last ones had finally to be torn down in 2014. For almost four years the skaters were putting pressure on city council to do something about the situation and there were always 25,000 euros saved for whatever was gonna happen to improve it. There was even an early fund raising at the local supermarket which ended up being a good 3500 euros donated by the residents of Glücksburg which has a very high percentage of elderly people living there. That was one of the reasons everybody kinda knew there had to be something done for the local youth. Let’s just put it like this, it’s easy to get bored in Glücksburg and young people move to Flensburg or away as soon as they get the chance to.
Our plan was that the city gives the 25,000 euros plus all the donations along with the place to the non-profit sports association Roter Stern Flensurg e.V. in which we have a niche that deals with local skateboarding projects. ‘Roter Stern’ basically means ‘Red Star’ and is quite left-wing to say the least. So big ups to the conservative government in Glücksburg to jump over their shadow, work together with us and really get something going for the citizens rather than talk everything to death with political bullshit. We made it clear that if the whole community works together and we will get important things like the ground work, a container and accommodation sponsored by local businesses and building companies, we could turn half of the asphalt flat into a concrete skatepark in about one and a half months. The plans for the whole park which is a good 1,000 square meters already existed, but it was clear that with the money we had we could only build one half of it. We’re still talking about 500 square meters, though, and we decided to build the street area first because that’s what’s really lacking in our region, a decent street park. Thanks to Bertrand Trichet and Nicole Gramatte the amazing company Carhartt was down to chip in a lovely 5,000 euros for the project, that really got it going and set the date for late summer 2015, once I would have finished working on the bowl in Liegé with Concrete Flow, the week after my 40th birthday.
So we’re talking about the perfect scenario right here: we got money, a place in beautiful and perfect surroundings and we could do a.k.a. build whatever we want. Guess why I’ve moved back to the countryside after twenty years of city life, things are a lot more simple and down to earth here. And since I want to spend the rest of my life living in this area, I want to build some skateparks and ramps because there’s never been going on too much of that. And there ain’t too many street spots here in the boonies either, eh!? Let’s just say, I wouldn’t put that much energy and time into a project if it wasn’t for my own pleasures in terms of a skatepark I can regularly skate. I most certainly know, skateboarding is good for the youth and all that, but first hand I want to have something to skate for me and me mates. That’s my main motivation nowadays. I love travelling for life, experiencing new places and build whatever wherever, but I want to build more skateparks close to where I live because now is the time, I just turned forty for god’s sake… (who’s this god everybody keeps talking about by the way?)
And, well, as I said, we grew up with literally nothing to skate besides the parking lot at the local supermarket, an occasional three stair and a little bump here or there. I am a product of my environment and when I put all that time, energy and hard work into a project and have the chance to design a skatepark from scratch I’m gonna put all those obstacles in there that I like to skate or would like to skate because I know a lot of skaters will like it as well. I like those kind of parks that are like miniature golf courses with lots of flow. I love that part of skateboarding the most, fast technical lines, a mixture of bowl and plaza skating. That’s what I wanted to build a skatepark for, and, I think, we achieved just that, even with just the half of it. Another good thing is I could build some stuff I’ve always wanted to build, but didn’t have the chance to yet, e.g. the Frappant Advanced Curb. The story of this obstacle goes like this: a couple years ago we had built some ramps from leftover wood in the third story of an abandoned mall kinda thing called Frappant in Hamburg. The leftovers designed the ramps pretty much and the curb obstacle we built turned out to be a possibility for endless trick combinations, everybody who got the chance to skate it loved it. So we kinda built an even advanced replica of that in Glücksburg and the euro-gap is literally a bird bath because after rain there’s always a little puddle of water in it. We’re even gonna paint it blue in spring! Dude, I’d be so stoked to see some birds playing in that thing on a hot day in summertime…
Oh, and then there’s the tombstones! I wanted to include a decent granite curb in the skatepark for da street kidz and we asked around if someone had some granite leftovers. Turns out a local dude has a piece of forest full of old and unused tombstones that he wants to get rid of. So why build backforms when you can get some tombstones as an extension!? We tombstoned the hell out of the place, shit looks epic! One day our trailer broke down in the middle of the road because we were a little overloaded, all of a sudden everyone wanted to have tombstones for his garden. And did I tell you yet about our concrete trash can to jump over? Rather than that we have a real stair set with handrail which once was and still is the entrance to the skatepark. We just added some concrete for the run-up and can now claim a real street spot with an endless list of NBDs. Everybody in the business knows that kids always want to have stairs in their skatepark which is a bummer, and a pain in the ass to build. Well, we got the easy way out of that…
So, yeah, I started working in September having a perfect city owned accommodation one minute walk from the construction site. Got the digging done in a couple of days thanks to Svend Colmorn, who used to have a construction company and is now retired. All the dirt was actually sponsored by IGA Haus, a building company from Flensburg, so big thanks for that as well! And while we’re at it thanks to Möbeltransporte Fintzen, who sponsored the container for the tools. Speaking of that, one Monday morning we came back for work just to find the container open. Turns out some people broke into it and stole 1,000 euros worth of electric tools. I told you there’s not too much to do in Glücksburg, and, well, this ain’t the Switzerland of Germany either. Big bummer, but far from being something to stop us. So in one month me and the local skaters were able to prepare everything for the concrete. We did as few backforms and guides as possible, woodwork means time and money, both of which we didn’t have too much of.
For the concrete I wanted to rent a pump and shoot as much as possible to save time and energy as well. At the end of the season everyone was busy somewhere building skateparks for money, but I still managed to get some people together who at least had some experience. Who was lacking that, made up in motivation. It was quite a random crew, and, of course, people I never would have thought of already knew each other. That’s skateboarding in a nutshell, isn’t it!? Some came for just a few days or a week, some stayed some longer, for what little I could pay them they all did fuckin’ great. But we were hardly enough people every day, it wouldn’t have hurt to have two more on site full time, especially for the big pieces we did. So we fuckin’ worked our asses off, pulled some all-nighters and managed to do the concrete works in eleven days thanks to perfect weather conditions, at least we were really lucky with that. I won’t get into detail what kind of trouble we had with the local concrete central which forced us to change the central. Boring but somehow funny inside stories, it did only cost us three days and had me shouting cruel things to a grumpy old man while his wife was sitting in the car. I’m not proud of it, but it had to be done, incompetence and arrogance is a mixture that doesn’t work too well with skateboarders, I guess.
You may wonder why we were in such a rush with this project, since we could do what – and whenever we wanted. Well, first of all I could only waste so much time being away from work and not building skateparks for money and save some for the jobless winter. And on the other hand we had to take full advantage of the weather and daylight, which gets wet and short in this part of the world for a couple of months every year. It was professional d.i.y. after all, but I would have loved to build under way more relaxed conditions in summer time, with people camping on site and everything. The ocean is just ten minutes away from the skatepark, did I mention that yet? Hopefully we can do that with the second part which we’re gonna build as soon as we have raised enough money. We have around a grand of the original budget left and need another 35,000 to build the second part. We’re currently trying to get more donations from the community, local businesses and the skate industry, since 35000 euros is a lot, but not unreachable. And, I think, for the first part we absolutely pulled the maximum with what relatively small amount of money we had.
If you check out the 3D-graphic you can see that the second part of the park will consist of a miniramp / bowl / snakerun kinda thing that is gonna be connected to the street area. Of course there’s gonna be way more details included that are not shown on the plan, because they come and go within the building process, the way it should be. Just keep in mind we still got heaps of tombstones… The finished park should guarantee some flow galore, with the big bowl and pool in Flensburg around the corner this is exactly what we need at this very moment, a sweet flow park with lots of little street spots crammed in between. Some people might complain that less is more and we put too much shit in the room we had. Well, I like that type of skateboarding where you need quick feet and don’t have to push too much. Carving, flow and weird trick combinations, if you like that as well, come to Glücksburg and you’re gonna have a good time. I would love to see more of that in the future, especially from the younger skaters who sure as hell are gonna grow in this skatepark.
I know, the general users of this very website have projects like this going on themselves and could be put in the blue collar kind of class. But if anybody wants to donate some bucks for the skatepark of Glücksburg we would be way stoked for sure. It’s not a problem to get you a donation certificate if needed to write off taxes, we’re doing low-key but serious business after all. I’m quite sure sooner or later we’ll be able to finish this skatepark and put Glücksburg on the map big-time, but the sooner the better, right!? In the name of skateboarding…
So if you want to donate and feel better afterwards keep in mind everything helps and you will at least be loved by some random german skaters that you might never meet but would like to call friends. We’re a bunch of skate rat weirdos just like your crew and welcome visitors with open arms and smiles for miles! Call us hillybilly, we won’t argue that…
The bank account is as followed:
Roter Stern Flensburg e.V.
IBAN DE45 2175 0000 0186 0084 54
Subject: Skatepark Glücksburg
If you have any questions or want to contact someone for something do so at: email@example.com
There’s a couple names to be named which we have to thank for their belief in us and this project. First of all there’s Claudia Wrobel, the former social worker who got the spark going four years ago. Henning and Roter Stern Flensburg for being cool partners in crime. Double thumbs up to Kristina Franke who turned out to be a great open-minded mayor of a pretty much bankrupt city. Thanks to all the other politicians who believed in us from the start and everyone who donated for this project, especially Thorsten Rehling. Thanks also to Olli Möller and the Stadtjugendring Glücksburg e.V. just as new social worker Andrea Hoffmann and Bauhof Glücksburg for their help and, of course, Svend Colmorn for the ground works. Thanks to the Dutchies Art-Jan and Wilmots of Boogaart Betonpoompen and Kies Beton Krebs for professional concrete work. Last but not least shout out to the locals who put time, work and money into this skatepark: Eyk, Flower, Jan-O, Kai, Bela, Matze, Jakob, Jens, Niko, Shorty, Lucas, Kim, Boris and Asche 3. Special thanks to chef Kim Jensen who supplied us with amazing food every afternoon! And then there’s the concrete dudes whom I can’t thank enough to turn this dream into reality: Böller, Conni, Jakob, Mhueller and Fabian (you should never ever mess with Hagen), Ali, Ulli and Bifi from Dresden, Simon from Nottingham and Mikey, Thierry and Duri from bloody Belgium. It was a pleasure having you guys here, hopefully see you sometime soon in summer to finish this! In the name of BOARDSTEIN INCORPORATED FOREVER and GREEN SMILEY SKATEBOARDING, thank you!
Well, with this story being told I hope that we’re gonna be able to really finish the second part asap. This project ain’t finished yet and we will put all our energy into doing so. And believe me with a three decade long history of throwing parties there’s gonna be one hell of a summer weekend in the future once the whole park is finished. As I’m talking at the beginning of January I’ve only had the chance to skate the park three times since it’s been raining for three months straight pretty much. So it took us a while to finally get some skate shots for this article. But I know there’s gonna be some epic sessions going down sometime soon and further. And as I said I want and hopefully will be doing more projects like this in our region in the future. There’s some in the works that’s for sure. We all know skateboarding is a beautiful thing, it seems as if the rest of the world starts to realize that as well. It was about time, I reckon. As a city or community there certainly is no better way than to put some money into concrete to get a place for all kinds of generations to hang out and enjoy a good time together. And it’s gonna last a lifetime! Everything, the park and the friendships… I’m stoked to be a skateboarder and to be part of this global family. I guess, we’re far from finished. Thanks for listening!
Words: Arne Fiehl
Photos: Arne Fiehl / Brian Dietrich / Florian ‘Flower’ Fentzahn