Skateboarders of all ages and skills came together on Kopua Domain last weekend to trial Raglan’s new $164,000 skatepark extension after it was blessed by iwi and opened by Councillor Clint Baddeley under sunny skies early on Saturday morning. And the designer “street-style” facility, with its snake run and taco at the end, clearly went down a hit. The old existing bowl, is for transition skating but the extensions allow a range of moves using stairs, step-ups, wedge gaps and ledges. Now Raglan has an all-round skatepark, that keeps the town up with the trends as street skating becomes more popular. Designer Jason Parkes of Premium Skate Designs — who works all over the country and was on site for the opening, having been put up for free at Kopua Holiday Park while the extensions were completed — says the skatepark’s been tailormade for Raglan with its dual surf-skate culture.
The stage two extension — the culmination of nine weeks’ construction work and about three years’ planning — boosts the size of the original 2002 skatepark by 240 square metres. The snake run with its pumps and curves — reminiscent of the swell and the surf — can generate quite a lot of speed, says Jason, and its black oxide finish represents the west coast’s ironsands. “Everything’s built for Raglan.” Seating around the facility also adds to its appeal as a spectator sport, and was put to immediate use all day Saturday when the North Waikato Blue Light Skateboarding competition was staged in celebration of the completed project. Cr Baddeley — who’s backed the skatepark extension all the way since pro surfer and skater Miles Ratima organised a meeting at the Yot Club a couple of years ago, attracting about 100 locals — says the facility is “unique” to Raglan and believes there’s “not a better local one anywhere in New Zealand”. But it wouldn’t have happened, he points out, without financial support from Waikato District Council plus additional funding from Trust Waikato and Wel Energy Trust.