July 25, 2020 5 Comments
Hello guys and girls, and fellow skateboarders of all ages. My name is Andy and I speak on behalf of the SkateLifeGoa crew. We’ve been keeping Goa ‘on-board’ for quite a long time, it’s hard to even point out the number of years. I guess the best way to describe it is by the well-known saying which goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
People walk up stairs holding on to the railings, roll their shopping carts down ramps, sit on benches, swim in swimming pools nearly every day knowing that all these simple elements in our daily lives have only one specific purpose… However, that isn’t the case for us.
In general, Goa is a tough place to skate. Especially for people who’ve lived in big, fully-developed cities with amazing infrastructure, smooth roads, perfect spots on every street or in public parks. However, as Goan skaters we’ve been born into this ‘not so perfect’ skate environment, so we know how to enjoy a rough and gritty spot unlike most people. I have personally skated in many fantastic international skateparks and street spots in Russia, South Africa and even Hong Kong, so I have a clear understanding of what is good to skate and what isn’t.
We often ask ourselves this question… Thankfully, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’! All the concrete ramps here are DIY (Do It Yourself) built by either Indian skatepark builders, locals or builders from abroad. I have included the google map locations of all the following places at the bottom of the article. In the following list I will share some information about various skateparks, ramps and skate-spots where we’re mostly found shredding in Goa:
Youth Hostel X VANS build
This one is first on my list because it is my personal favourite. It is also the mecca of our growing community of skateboarders called SkateLifeGoa, and was built by our SkateLifeGoa homies sponsored by VANS India. Youth Hostel is located on the shore of the beautiful Mandovi River in Miramar, Panjim city. The area is relaxed, and yet, often has a sporty environment with people playing ball at the neighboring basketball court and kids occasionally coming to rollerblade. The spot offers a nearly ideal flatground made out of large tiles, which is excellent for learning flatground tricks and turns. Looking directly at the calm river is a 7-foot-tall, marble coping quarter pipe with a bit of vert. There is a fun smaller quarter pipe with a metal coping right next to the big gnarly one (great for long grinds/slides going straight, or around the corner too). You can also find a ledge with a metal corner beside the small quarter pipe, which is about a foot tall.
I’ll let you in on a secret… On that ledge you’ll find a small note carved into the concrete which says, “Don’t miss the sunset.” We have built some movable obstacles including: a double sided ledge, rectangular rail, round rail, rainbow rail, kicker and a metal quarter pipe. The skatepark is usually empty from morning until 3pm. That’s when the local shredders (mostly Vrod and Anveer) crawl out of their caves to get their legs moving, wheels rolling and boards flipping. Of course if you are actually a hardcore shredder and aren’t afraid of getting heatstroke you can enjoy this awesome park in the morning too! However, the Youth Hostel manager occasionally doesn’t let us skate before 3pm when there are customers staying at the hostel. If you are in or around Miramar, I definitely recommend checking this place out.
This is one of our “Oh! I’m so bored of Youth Hostel'' spots… It is roughly 500 meters away from Youth Hostel and is located across the road from Campal Football Ground. The main feature of this spot is the flatground. It is made of granite tiles slightly rougher and less polished than those at Youth Hostel. The tiles also have bigger cracks in between them so it may be harder to learn tricks there. Nevertheless, the ground feels absolutely amazing to play games of S.K.A.T.E on! There are many ledges made out of the same material as the ground and are unfortunately not grindable, no matter how much we try waxing them. It is however fun to pop on to the ledges and do tricks down them. For people who enjoy skating on two wheels there is a lovely mannypad/platform which goes down to another flat platform. This is perfectly suitable to try some cool flip-in, manny, drop down to manny combos.
Cirrus DIY build
Cirrus has one of the first proper concrete ramps built in Goa. The area surrounding the ramp is filled with treehouses of various shapes and sizes designed by enthusiastic carpenters and volunteers, funky art pieces and seemingly never-ending creative projects- the aim of which is to improve the mini-village that Cirrus appears to be. The ramp was constructed by the experienced skatepark builders from the Holystoked crew representing the city of Bangalore. If you love skating transition, Cirrus is the place for you! Initially, when skatepark at Cirrus was built it offered a concrete halfpipe with a speed bump in between. A few years later, the place got a major update with some new pool coping on the two quarter pipes, a roll-in bank, a corner ramp (planned to be extended by the concrete masters, to surround the whole park forming a complete bowl), a little pyramid and finally my favorite obstacle… A small quarter pipe bending like a crescent moon, allowing you to perform grinds around the corner. The park isn’t as smooth as it once used to be and you may find yourself getting stuck in a few holes here and there . The cool thing about Cirrus is that you’ll always find skateboards either stacked or lying around free to be used. So even if you don’t have a board, you can grab a used complete and still have a sick session! The ramp is built on private property but the land owners are always kind, welcoming and don’t prohibit skating at any time.
GoAlis DIY Bowl
The oldest Goan skateable ramp built by the one and only Alis team from Denmark. It is located facing Morjim Beach, North Goa. The GoAlis Bowl evolved from being a simple concrete halfpipe into a complete bowl. The halfpipe has metal coping, but the parts of the bowl can only be stalled (and maybe slashed) as they have no coping. My favourite element here is the big wallride which overlooks the halfpipe. You need to really get used to pumping on this particular ramp in order to get speed to hit the wallride. If you are planning to skate it during the monsoon bring swimming trunks, goggles and a snorkel because it most certainly will be flooded. If you are coming to skate it at the start of the season bring a shovel and a broom, to clean up all the crap collected during the monsoon. The GoAlis Bowl has seen people from all over the world and the copings and lips have been smacked and grinded by highly talented shredders from America, France, England, Denmark, Kazakhstan and many other countries!
There’s quite a large history behind the GoAlis Bowl and to many local skaters this is where it all started. When skateboarding was gaining minor popularity in India there were a number of extremely exciting action-packed skate tours which flew by so quickly in time but remained all in our minds as some of the brightest, most exciting and till date palpable memories. The Third Eye Tour in 2014 and the Holydetour 2015-2018 were (most of the time) concluded at GoAlis bowl. To be more clear, the busses filled with hyped up skaters were at their final destination so people were just enjoying, shredding, chilling, swimming in the ocean which is just 10 steps away, and having a great time!
Svami X Escobar DIY Build
This is our most recent creation. Constructed by our SkateLifeGoa homie, concrete/carpentry master Anveer with Anant Shirodkar, the owner of Escobar and sponsored by the Swami Tonic Water. It is located very close to Cirrus DIY in Badem, Anjuna behind the bar called EscoBar. You can easily session both the parks in the span of one day as they are less than 10 minutes away from each other. Picture a miniature golf course and a perfect halfpipe. Now put them together… That’s pretty much what the ramp looks and skates like.
However, it is a heaven for beginners or skaters who are afraid to learn a new trick on big transitions. On the rear side of the smooth, small halfpipe there is a roll out/roll (or bank) that takes you to another quarter pipe. The concrete ground is merged back with the halfpipe so that it forms a complete circuit. You can keep skating the halfpipe and then with a little speed fly out into the bank, grind the next quarter pipe, get a flatground trick on the narrow track back to the halfpipe and repeat the cycle. You don’t have to worry about waxing the coping as it’s made out of steel pipes which slide like butter. Speaking about butter, in case you get hungry try some garlic bread at the bar just 5 steps away. If you are 18 or above, you can enjoy that with some cold beer. As most of my homies would agree, this is a perfect night spot. It is equipped with an LED lamp which illuminates about 80% of the skate area
Vans sk8goa Park
This park in Assagao is a dream. A marvelous creation. The first EVER complete skate park in all of India. The child of the skatepark-builder Nick Smith. When it was built in 2003, it had a full, gigantic wooden mega-ramp! The wood couldn’t possibly survive the strong rainfalls of the Goan monsoon seasons, but luckily, the coolest concrete parts did! There’s so many, it’s hard to even list all the obstacles that this skatepark has to offer! Here’s my attempt… The first thing that catches my attention is obviously the big, blue “Vans” pool with a deep and shallow end, shaped like a traditional American swimming pool and edged with pool coping, located in the center of this concrete wonderland. One level above the big blue beauty you will see a rectangular, medium bowl, with the similar type of coping. On the side of the medium bowl is a quarter pipe which leads to a euro gap and then to a four-sided pyramid. Wait, that’s not all! On the same level as the rectangular bowl aside from the quarter pipe and euro gap lies a hidden halfpipe (possibly a quarter pipe to spine, I can hardly remember) covered in dirt. My friend and I randomly discovered that it exists while having a long session of cleaning the whole park about 4-5 years ago. Further down is a 7 to 8-foot-tall quarter pipe with an embedded death box to grind over. The skatepark was designed in such a way that you can hop on your board and skate every part of it without pushing or stepping off the deck. Hence, the area is full of various slopes and speed bumps (to gain speed by pumping) and quarter pipes with metal pipes as their coping. In addition to all that, there’s an interesting element- a small, steep “rainbow” quarter pipe with a grindable top.
You must be wondering, if this is the greatest skatepark in Goa and possibly India, why is it at the bottom of the list? The answer is simple - We aren’t allowed to skate there anymore ☺. Although we've tried for many years to get permission, it hasn’t worked out. The skatepark is located on someone’s property and they officially have the authority to restrict people from visiting it. Yep, that sucks right? We think so too and till date we are bummed that we can’t use it. I did say this skatepark is a dream didn’t I?
Google map location - Hunt for it!, somewhere in Assgaon.
Pic Credits - Gautham Nalasingu.
Extra spot for those who kept reading…
Oh! How could I forget to mention the spot with nearly every obstacle you need to have a contrasting and fulfilling session with downhills, ledges, stairs and manual pads… All within the boundaries of one parking lot. Located just by the beach in Anjuna, following the road straight toward the ocean on Starco Junction.
Anjuna Parking lot
To our own surprise we didn’t know of this spot until our homies came here spot-hunting all the way from Nepal! Big ups to Gajendra and Samir! This place is our long awaited dream turned to reality. In one of its many sections there’s a sunroof underneath which you can find perfect flatground, a two stair, a 7 stair handrail, marble ledges on one side and a tiny sidewalk which is perfect for manuals on the other. You can cruise downhill on the actual parking area and pop some tricks off of big, narrow (not really grindable) ledges/walls. My personal favourite is the wide 4 stair which can be grinded and slid for miles both frontside and backside. We’ve only gotten kicked out once or twice for grinding that ledge (just don’t grind in front of the guard). Normally, we skate there all day and never get the boot. Occasionally, the lights are turned on at night, but recently they’ve stopped lighting up the sunroof section. There are many other options for skating this “plaza” which can only be limited by your imagination.
Author - Andy Topo.
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