Indoor skateboarding with ramps and a half pipe started at the California in January 1978. Plans were afoot for a full blown skate park which would replace the unused outdoor pool. In July of that year it was opened by the Smurfs
Opening advert for Skateboard Scene
Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds, it was the Smurfs but when the costumes came off it turned out to be Legs and Co. They were joined later that evening by the one and only Emperor Rosko who ran a disco in Didoz.
The park provided 14.250 sq feet of runs from leisurely freestyle areas to wipeout verticals. The first runs were done by the Benjy Team on behalf of Skateboard Scene Magazine then the general public were allowed on
Marshals checked all the skaters to ensure they had the correct safety equipment and that they were skating within their limits. Badges of differing colours were issued to denote varying levels of competency.
News report on skateboarding
Indoor Skateboarding began
Special Opening Offer
25p per 2 hour session
9-11 11-1 1-3 3-5 5-7 Sat & Sun
4-6 6-8 Weekdays
Bring own gear
Crash helmets essential
Skatepark opened by
Legs & Co as the Smurfs
All safety equipment must be worn
Free Ice Lollies
Free Smurf Stickers
Adults who think skateboarders are an unruly lot should go to the California leisure complex in Dunstable. There they will find that self-discipline among the youngsters is remarkable at the California Skateboard Scene, says Mr. Bill Seymour, who opened the arena on Saturday. Hundreds of youngsters have been turning up for two hour sessions and on Saturday they were given exciting demonstrations by professional stars.
"We are very pleased with the way it has gone" said Mr. Seymour. "We found that we had enough ramps and equipment for all the kids to have a go and they were zooming around all over the place. I was especially pleased with the way they organised themselves. We have appointed some Marshals, but they were hardly needed. The kids were very self disciplined and when it was their turn o=to come off the equipment they went straight to the back of the queue without any argument. A lot of parents turned up to watch and they were delighted."
Already proficiency badges are being issued and in a week or so competition teams may be formed. The shapes of the equipment will be changed frequently because the young skateboarders are becoming expert so quickly. "We are now taking down the stage and putting up a 60ft long ramp." said Mr. Seymour.
Post Echo Jan 18, 1978
Opening advert for the outdoor skate park
Legs and Co dressed as Smurfs
They were doing daffy ducks on the snake runs and tail-and-nose wheelies in the bowl at Dunstable. The words are part of the strange vocabulary that has grown up around the sport of skateboarding and were used by competitors in the Eastern Region semi-finals held at the California rink. For the uninitiated, a daffy duck is having one foot on the skateboard and the other tipped up, while nose wheelies are a maneuver with the feet placed at the front of the board. The snake run is the run into the bowl.
Forty-nine semi-finalists from as far away as Norfolk and Cambridge - took part in the competition which was divided into high jump, long jump, slalom and free-style. Probably the most spectacular part of the contest was the freestyle when the competitors turned the bowl into a wall of death. But despite a number of falls no one was injured. Hitchin schoolboy Justin Kitching, aged 16, proved one of the stars when he won the high jump and the slalom. He does most of his practice in a shopping arcade in Hitchin. By winning the events he qualified for the finals at.......
News report on the skatepark
Skatepark members badge
Top end of the outdoor park
Close up of a rider
The newly built skate park where the pool used to be