XDubai sets sights on the big time with skatepark

DUBAI // The largest skateboarding park in the UAE welcomed its first riders on Thursday. The XDubai skatepark on Kite Beach has been months in the making, but the wait has been worth it as the free-to-use public venue becomes available for novices and pro-skaters alike. Extreme sports company XDubai created the 3,100-square-metre beachfront project […]

DUBAI // The largest skateboarding park in the UAE welcomed its first riders on Thursday.

The XDubai skatepark on Kite Beach has been months in the making, but the wait has been worth it as the free-to-use public venue becomes available for novices and pro-skaters alike.

Extreme sports company XDubai created the 3,100-square-metre beachfront project with the aim of hosting top-class professional competitions, such as the X Games, and also in the hope it will attract new blood into the skating community.

Mark Issa, 20, a Lebanese skater who was visiting for the day from Abu Dhabi, said the park surpassed anything he had visited in the UAE.

“It’s the first time something as beautiful like this has been built for skaters in Dubai. I’m stoked,” he said.

“It’s insane. We finally have proper ground, a nice park. There is a skate park in Abu Dhabi, but it is nothing like this.”

The park has tailored skate areas incorporating street elements, obstacles and transition areas where riders can take on rails, soft-end walls and pole-jams – tilted bollards used as hurdles.

“It is something new, and our home now,” Mr Issa said. “Skaters in Abu Dhabi are so excited about this, they are happy to travel here. It is as good as it gets, and there is a great view.”

The park’s biggest attraction is the XBowl, aimed at professional skateboarders. Similar to an empty swimming pool, the traditional venue for youngsters learning their skills, the challenging 3.2 metre drop is built to world-class standards.

Jan Hoffmann, 19, a professional skateboarder from Germany, was impressed and said it is worthy of hosting pro events.

“We tried it a few times before it opened and helped out with ideas for the development,” he said.

“It is so crazy. It is the smoothest concrete I have ever skated.

“As it’s so new, it’s perfect. Bowls are usually pretty rough, but this has been done so well.”

The park is also expected to attract BMX and scooter riders, as well as inline skaters. The venue is floodlit and has palm trees and shaded covers so it can be used all year around.

It was created by Australian construction company Convic, which specialises in active space design and skateparks.

Managing director Simon Oxenham grew up skating around Brisbane, and built his first ramp at his family home when he was 15.

Alongside his business partner, Cameron Melville, the pair have mixed engineering nous with skating know-how to create something special in Dubai.

“Of the 600 or so skateparks Convic has worked on around the world, the XDubai skatepark stands out,” Mr Oxenham said.

“The unique architectural appeal of this iconic facility and the beachfront location will make Dubai and instantly recognisable destination in the world skating map.”

Ismaeil Al Hashmi, managing director of XDubai, said: “We are confident the facility will become one of the most iconic and buzzing hubs in the emirate.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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