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Gold Coast to become skate central


Professional and amateur skateboarders are expected to amass on the Gold Coast as upgrades to the city’s 29 skateparks, including the world-renowned Pizzey Park, make it the nation’s premier skateboarding destination.

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Pizzey Park, the biggest skatepark on the Gold Coast and already a lure for professional skateboarders around the globe, will feature both world-class street and park courses  enabling it to host international competitions.

The 3000 square-metre extension and upgrade is due to be completed by December and will feature the new street plaza along with improved seating areas with shade, new lighting for the skatepark and carpark, an increase in parking capacity and a bus drop off area.

The upgrade builds upon the Pizzey Park big bowl, made famous when American skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade skateboard team skated the facility in 1988.

An artist impression of the 3000 square-metre extension and upgrade of Pizzey Park on the Gold Coast of Queensland.

Featuring the era’s top skateboarders such as Lance Mountain, Rodney Mullen and Steve Caballero – who is known for setting a world record for the highest air achieved on a halfpipe – the Bone Brigade visit made the Pizzey bowl a global icon.

In 1997, the skateboard park was added alongside the bowl in the 60-hectare Pizzey Park complex. The complex is now home to 25 different sporting clubs, a revamped regional aquatic centre and Queensland’s largest tennis facility.

Gold Coast Skateboard Coaching head coach Jay Hetherington said the upgraded skatepark would be a destination park for skateboarders and will support Olympic hopefuls and emerging stars.

“Pizzey Park was already iconic for Australian and Gold Coast skateboarding. People travel here from America and all over the world to skate the big bowl,” Hetherington said.

“It will be more of a drawcard now. Anyone who comes to the Gold Coast or Australia and is into skateboarding will be going to the new Pizzey.”

He said the world-class park meant it would be an amateur drawcard destination as well as supporting elite street and park skateboarders.

“Pretty much every pro who has come to Australia has skated Pizzey Park,” Hetherington said.

“We will be able to hold huge competitions that draw pro internationals. Internationals will be able to come over and do demonstrations.”

Hetherington said Australian Olympic hopefuls Kieran Woolley, George Richards, former Gold Coaster Shanae Collins, Taniah Meyer from the Sunshine Coast, and 15-year-old Ethan Copeland, who was aiming to become the youngest athlete on the Australian Olympic team by qualifying for the inaugural skateboarding park event at the Tokyo Olympic Games, would all travel to the Gold Coast to skate and compete.

Street skaters Tommy Fynn and professional skateboarder Shane O’Neill were also expected to be regulars at the new street plaza.

Hetherington said having the world’s best skateboarders as regulars at the park would inspire rising stars Chloe Covell, 12,  ‘Micro’ Haylie Powell, 15, Jack ‘the ripper’ Lewis, 14 and Zane Hetherington, 15, to keep progressing.

Masters skateboarder champion and winner of the renowned Australian Skateboarding Federation National Park Skating Championships Bowlzilla competition for the past three years, Ian ‘Eithy’ Davidson, said the upgrades made the Gold Coast one of the world’s prime skateboarding locations.

“The Gold Coast is home to some of the best sand-bottom point breaks in the world and now it’s going to be one of the best places to go skateboarding,” he said.

Davidson said skateboard coaching schools, City of Gold Coast-funded free skateboarding lessons, and well-maintained skateparks meant the sport was on the rise.

“Just recently it seems the popularity of skateboarding has been increasing rapidly,” he said.

“There’s a thriving up-and-coming next generation of skateboarders coming through.”

Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo Olympic Games. It will feature both street courses, held on a straight, street-like course featuring stairs, handrails, curbs, benches and walls, as well as park courses.

In ongoing investment in the sport, the Gold Coast, which also has 18 BMX parks, has plans for additional skate and BMX facilities for another four potential sites subject to future planning and funding.

This includes a high-level, competition-standard  BMX pump track at Pizzey Park.

It also includes a skateboard, scooter and BMX facility at the new Home of the Arts (HOTA) complex at Bundall, a major skatepark at The Spit, and another skateboard, scooter and BMX park at Coomera.

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