VISTA — North County has a long and storied history with skateboarding.
What was a niche sport in the 1970s is now mainstream and headed for the Olympics. And in Vista, one company has been at the center of the explosion of professional tours, events and now, developing talent.
California Skate Parks is the industry leader when it comes to course design, according to President Jeff Jewett.
“Pretty quickly it caught on and started building some of the best skate parks in the world,” he said.
The company has designed hundreds, if not more than a thousand, park courses, those skaters find in cities around the country and world. One breakthrough came with the rise of the X-Games, which used wood instead of the riders’ natural habitat of concrete.
Naturally, California Skate Parks saw an opportunity and began design and constructing temporary “street” courses for large-scale events and pro tours. Then, the Olympics accepted skateboarding as an official sport for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
California Skate Parks was the obvious choice to design those courses as well. Jewett said the Olympics will feature two competitions — one in park and one in street.
But before the Olympics came calling, it was the formation of two professional skating tours, along with the X-Games, which took California Skate Parks to another level. The company was able to scale its efforts and design temporary skate parks for the tours, which have grown more visible and popular.
“At the Maloof Money Cup (in 2008) … they did the richest contest in history and wanted to change the game completely,” Jewett explained. “They did an all concrete course that California Skate Parks did. It was the first time it was done and it was phenomenal. It changed the game in event course and pretty much since that time you can’t go backwards.”
As the company grew, it began to realize another opportunity with training, thus launching its California Training Facility (CA | TF). California Skate Parks moved out of its Carlsbad office into a larger facility in Vista, 1410 Vantage Court, which Jewett jokingly referred to as the “tri-city vortex,” to incorporate its indoor park and street courses as well as manufacturing efforts and business offices.
The addition of the indoor training courses also allows riders to incorporate other training techniques, such as landing pads, an idea Jewett was turned on to after helping a friend in Arizona with his gymnastics program.
California Skate Parks offers private training and is also open to the public, thus fostering more avenues for training.
In fact, the park has become a beacon for some of the world’s top prospects as riders from Canada, Europe and China all come to training in Vista. Jewett said a provincial team from China moved to the area so it could train up until the country’s Olympic selection process.
“Really, we’re just taking cues from other sports that are similar,” Jewett said of the new training techniques. “It’s not trying to do it to the concrete down 10 stairs to begin with, which is the usual skateboard tactic. We’re not reinventing anything because there wasn’t anything here.”