Nelson skateboarder Cam Bary can remember the day the old Tahunanui Beach half-pipe was demolished.
Although it was splintered and almost impossible to skate, its absence left local skaters yearning for a replacement for almost a decade.
Now, local skaters’ prayers have been answered with a brand-new ramp at the beach, which is now ready for action.
“I was about 11 or 12 when the old ramp got taken down,” says Cam, who owns Cheapskates Nelson.
“That thing was scary. There were not many people in Nelson that could skate it.”
The process of a replacement ramp started last year when fellow skateboarder Sam Huntington suggested to Cam that they form a skate committee.
“A group of about eight of us older skaters started having meetings. We approached Nelson City Council and asked what the potential was for a new ramp and they said they were keen to get involved if we helped out with the design.”
Local builder Shane Norton has been constructing the timber ramp. Its surface material is made from a paper-composite material which doesn’t splinter.
It’s a move away from the usual concrete skate structures, all while being naturally smooth and fast for less ramp rash/more speed and incredibly durable. It also maintains a safe temperature – even in the blazing sun, it’s environmentally friendly and sustainable, fire-resistant and easy to clean – even from stubborn graffiti, pad scuffs and wax.
“They have been working so hard. It looks amazing and when you stand on top of the ramp you can see out to Haulashore Island,” says Cam.
“I am beyond excited to have some more facilities in Nelson. It’s a massive bonus for the region.”
Chair of council’s sport and recreation committee, Tim Skinner, says the ramp is a great addition to all the activities already on offer at Tahunanui.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the skaters who have volunteered many hours on this project. By working so closely with them, we know we’ve invested in a facility that really hits the mark for skaters.”
The total cost of the project is $57,000, and the ramp is expected to be open from the end of this week with an official opening planned for a month’s time.