BUYING AND BUILDING RAMPS and OBSTACLES
There are two main ways to get your own ramps - buy pre-made ramps, or building your own. There are several companies who make ramps, and a lot of them are really good!
Here are two examples of good quality pre-made skateboarding ramps, rails and obstacles:
- How to Build a 3' Quarter Pipe
- How to Build a Kicker Ramp
- How to Build a Grind Ledge
- How to Build a Grind Rail
Well, it all depends on the ramp and what kind of quality you might be going for (and what kinds of deals you might find on building materials!). Most ramps can be built for under $100, but it all depends. See the ramp building instructions to get a better idea. The Kicker Ramp, for example, should be under $100 US.
CARING for your RAMPS and OBSTACLES
If you've built your own ramp, then every once in a while you should go over it to make sure that no nails or screws have worked their way out of the wood. A nail or a screw sticking out can be horrifically dangerous.
If you plan on leaving your ramp or obstacle outside, then you'll need to protect it somehow or nature will work hard to destroy it. There are several things you can do:
- You can build the entire ramp out of pressure treated lumber. This will help it last longer, but it will cost more to buy.
- You can paint it! Did you know that paint does more than just look nice - it protects stuff!
- You can cover it with a tarp or canvas. This one is pretty obvious, especially if it rains. Don't just leave your ramp out in the weather, and then expect it not to warp and get weak!
LEGALITIES for BUILDING
The next question on your mind might be, but what about the legality of building ramps and obstacles? Can you get in trouble for building them?
This is a good question, and a tricky one to answer. I did some research and talked to some people who know this sort of thing, and the ugly answer is that it all depends on where you live. In the USA, each state has different rules and laws, and it's best not to assume anything! Here are some common things to think about if you are concerned:
Negligence - this is when you build something like a skateboard ramp, and then you let someone use it and they get hurt, and it's really your fault because the ramp was terrible, the person wasn't good enough to really try skating on it, or there's some other factor that makes you the bad guy. Some skates treat ANY injury on private property as negligent. Some treat skateboarding as a do-it-at-your-own-risk activity. Most have some kind of weird complicated combination of the two.
Attractive Nuisance - So you built your ramp, and you're keeping it on your property, but really it's just sitting in your driveway. And it's so beautiful and fun looking that children come and skate on it, and break all of their bones. You want to avoid this! Put up a guard wall, put the ramp away when you aren't using it, cover it with an invisibility canvas - if you are in a state where you are responsible in this way, then you need to make sure that you don't leave the ramp out and tempting. Especially if you built is terribly and there are nails sticking out!
These two examples are things to take into consideration, and there are probably other things that you don't know about, depending on the laws where you live. So what should you do if you want to know more? In researching this, I came across things called "Legal Clinics", where lawyers give free 30 minute interviews to people! They're all over the place in my state - do a search online, and see where the nearest legal clinics are being held to your location. That's a great place to get some good, official advice on how to keep yourself safe from any unpleasant or ridiculous legal problems.
Another place to check would be any owners of local skateparks. It's certain that they've looked into this issue, and they can probably give you some good help and insight. If your local skateparks are city owned, then you can give calling your Parks and Rec department a call. They shouldn't hand out legal advice, but they might!
SO, IS IT WORTH IT?
After all of this, you might be more nervous than ever about building or buying your own skateboard ramps and obstacles. Don't be! It's still worth it! For the most part, this is only a problem if you leave your ramps out and someone uses it and gets hurt. So, protect yourself, and only let people use your ramps and obstacles who you trust!