It had been a long time since I checked out the Washington Street Skatepark, a skater-built park under the 5 freeway highway 101 in San Diego. This park was initally built by a small group as a ‘renegade’ park on city land. The city eventually put the kaibash on it for a couple years and it sat unfinished. Today, the city has blessed the park and it has been almost completely built-out.
Being fully aware of the potential for harsh vibing from the notoriously cantankerous locals, I went down at a barney-friendly 9AM on a drizzling saturday morning. The park was open, no one else was there.
The park is ingeniously situated amongst the round concrete freeway supports below the 5 freeway. It is essentially a big concrete tub, built up with cinderblock walls between the freeway pillars. Walking into the park you immediately realize how gnarly this place is.
And make no mistake this is as gnarly as a skatepark gets. EVERY wall has some vert. Even 5-foot sections have 4-6 inches of vert. If you are looking for perfect trannies, you will not find them here, although the bigger transitions are very smooth and fast . There are a lot of big walls, big bowls, and tight hips. The park is almost entirely pool coping: concrete and brick. I can’t describe how tough it was to skate this park. The guys who rip this park are animals, pure and simple.
I will hand it to the guys who built this place. They have created a gnar village to be ripped for the ages. But for those of us considering a visit – some caveats.
- There are unleashed pitbulls running around all over the place, shitting and peeing everywhere. I don’t like pitbulls.
- The locals are somewhat intimidating. Shaved heads, tattoos, and missing teeth are the norm. Be respectful, and don’t litter or talk shit, and you’ll be fine. Show up early and avoid the gnar warrior sessions, they will snake you and steamroll you if you get in the way.