Article by Christian Petzold
Photography by Olman Torres and Christian Petzold
Artwork by Mark Hubbard
HOZHO filmed and edited by Christian Petzold
Eskina Skatepark is located in the north of Costa Rica in Guanacaste / Playa Guiones. It is a small peaceful surf and yoga village.
Erin, the owner of Eskina skatepark got inspired to build the skatepark after attending a 4/20 skate bash from Enrique and Spacialle’s in 2011 that featured a DJ and a rad skate session on a wooden halfpipe.
One hour away from Guiones there is El Mutante, a sick 700m2 skatepark that Kaleb Stevens and his friends built about eight years ago. It was Kaleb’s first skatepark and all D.I.Y. with five guys including Kaleb and one mixer.
So Erin contacted Kaleb to help build her idea. After three meetings it was clear that Kaleb would build the Eskina skatepark.
Kaleb started with the hardest part of the skatepark: an eight feet deep pool. He never built a pool before so Kaleb told me he had to do the hardest part first because Erin wanted to test him and see if he really can do it. Finally, after 78 days of hard work Kaleb finished his masterpiece. His idea was to build it more like a backyard pool, steep and tight with a light and a death box and with hand shaped pool coping made with a piece of pvc pipe around it.
For the rest of the skatepark Erin’s idea was to let it look like a city park with open grassy portions, vegetation and benches for spectators as well as have a multi-function purpose for events. Kaleb and Erin collaborated on the skate park layout with the idea to also give it the feel of an art gallery, but the rest was all up to Kaleb. So he put in to that design a lot of details that you’ll never find in another skatepark. For example, he incorporated a fishing boat what he found abandoned at the Garca Beach. Now it is at the skatepark with a concrete wave breaking on it.
After one year the whole Eskina Skatepark was finished.
Three years later Erin decided to make the the skatepark bigger and to turn the party location into apartments and studios.
Kaleb did a design for the addition of the park. For several reasons Kaleb went to the US for a couple of weeks. In that time Pato, a local skater from Costa Rica, was in contact with Mark Hubbard from Grindline skateparks.
Mark was down to come for ten days to Guiones and help at the new section for Eskina. In that time they worked on a new design – some woodwork for the park and poured a few pieces. After Mark left Costa Rica I was there to finish what he had started. In that time Ale called me and asked me to finish the project as soon as possible.
As I arrived Kaleb was also ready to come back to finish what has started. So we started thinking over Mark and Pato’s design and made some changes and started with pouring a tombstone and bank with a curb on top and a few other pieces.
To be honest I was kind of confused with the construction site how Mark left it and at the same time it was impressive what the guys had done in only ten days – but there where no plan or notes that he left us to finish and it was quite a big push for us to figure out how we were going to finish it right.
It took a while to realize that this was exactly what Mark did – giving us a big challenge to get the most out of that project.
Because the project had a small time schedule and I knew already that in Costa Rica some times “Pura Vida” takes a little longer than expected. I asked my friend Janno from Germany to help us out to make some progress. In the last five years I worked quite a lot with Janno in several projects and I knew he was going to be a big help. So he came for three weeks and after some days we had a good team and workflow together.
Jerry, a surfer from Esparza had a lot of experience in construction and Ale was in charge of getting the materials and everything else from the hardware store at the right time. Then also Tiharino and his brother – both from Guanacaste who mixed us the concrete and supported the good vibes and also Kien Mas, a skateboarder and graffiti artist from San Jose, Costa Rica, came to help out for a few weeks.
The biggest challenge for me was to work in the 32 degree (90 F) sun and hand staking each ramp because we only needed 15 minutes to find out that the pump and concrete we ordered were good for nothing, so we decided to use a good old concrete mixer. We continued and decided to make the more complicated pieces while Janno was there.
We started with five foot over-vert corner that ends in a wall ride going from one foot to five feet with a little love seat in the middle and we made the wood and metal work for the doorway.
Janno had to leave and around 50 percent of the park was done, so me and Kaleb continued and were super happy about every helping hand. A big help was Jos, a friend of Kaleb with a lot of power, experience and skills who helped us to finish the last pieces and destroyed it the next day with his skateboard.
For me and a lot of other skateboarders here in Costa Rica it is one of the best skateparks so far, because it is just pure fun to cruise around there without pushing once.
A lot of people from Costa Rica and all over the world are coming here to skate and surf.
On the weekend you always have a rad session going on with live music, DJs and an organic market in the day time.
Herbert, originally from Guatemala, gave skate classes to the kids from the area and to visitors. It is such a crazy thing to watch the kids and locals skating this park.
If you plan a skate or surf trip in Costa Rica you definitely have to spend some time in Guiones.
– Christian Petzold
Mark Hubbard’s artwork originally seen in – “The Water and the Sand” (2006) and “From the Fire to the Wind the Water and the Earth we Return” (2011) Courtesy of Jocko Weyland/Elk Books also published in Sergej Vutuc’s MBU Street Zine #6 (2018)
Video filmed and edited by Christian Petzold. Featuring Quentin de Briey, Charly Rooper, Rémy Taveira, Kaleb Stevens and Steffen Krones.
Sounds: Canned Heat “Time Was” and Der Plan “Stapfen im Schnee“.
“The spiritual life, to which art belongs and of which she is one of the mightiest elements, is a complicated but definite and easily definable movement forwards and upwards. This movement is the movement of experience. It may take different forms, but it holds at bottom to the same inner thought and purpose.” – Wassily Kandinsky