Jax Forever Linked to Skateboarding Past and Future
Skateboarding has been a part of the Jacksonville culture since the 1970s with the opening of Kona Skatepark. It’s got the snake runs, the pipes, the walls, the bowls and pools that generations of skateboarders from across the globe have enjoyed!
The Cool Facts
Kona is the last of the original private-owned skateparks in the world. This iconic skatepark has seen its fair share of famous moments throughout the history of skateboarding and remains a legend in the sport to this day. When Kona first opened in 1977, it wasn’t the only skatepark in Jacksonville, but it was officially the coolest and that made all skateboard enthusiasts from across the country flock to its doors.
The Ramos family, owners of the park, dedicated it to “The Youth of Jacksonville” instilling new values of family and community and creating a skateboard scene unique to Jax.
In 1977 and 1978, the USA Open Skateboarding Championship was held at Kona attracting the top pros in the sport at that time. People crowded the stands to be able to see the moves in person and learn from them. During its 40 years in business, Kona has seen its fair share of skateboarding superstars including Tony Hawk and The Birdhouse crew, Tony Alva, Rodney Mullen, Mitch Kauffman, Buck Smith, and Peggy Turner. Back in the 70s they were known as the “Ratpack”. The whole Dogtown gang was there for the first ever pro-am contest.
Jacksonville natives, Mike Peterson, went on to become a professional skateboarder and competed in several AM competitions. Clyde Singleton, a world-known African-American skateboarder, ripped at Kona Skatepark as a kid, and moved to California after being sponsored at age 17 and becoming a loud voice for the minority community. They are both great ambassadors for the local skateboarding scene.
Kona is known for constantly pushing boundaries and testing new theories in skateboarding. The motivation of the Ramos family stumbled them into the invention of the modern “Vert” ramp; a vertical wall in a bowl that no one had seen before. People were even afraid to test it out at first. The “Vert” ramp opened doors for endless possibilities for skaters. The first ever “Vert” wall drop took place here and the crowds went wild. At Kona, you can also find what the locals call “The Tombstone”; a vertical wall measuring six feet above the rim of the bowl. It is an original to Kona, remaining from when the park first opened.
40 Years of Kona
During Kona’s 40th year anniversary celebration, in 2017, some of the world’s best skateboarders came back to show off their best tricks, remember the good days, and have fun with the local crowds, and the upcoming young skaters that enjoy the park every day.
Jacksonville’s skateboarding scene doesn’t just end there, the city is also home to several public skating parks, including Oceanside Park in Atlantic Beach, Monument Park in Arlington, and the newest one in South Jacksonville Beach featuring 23,000 sq. feet of ramps, pools, pipes, handrails, bowls and snake runs.
Endless ramps and endless skating, Jacksonville has a jam sesh for any skater!
Learn more about Kona Skate Park: www.konaskatepark.com