Inside the former Sainsbury's store in Portsmouth transformed into a large skate park
Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's Derek Johnson
There is a saying. You either love skateboarding - or you're wrong.
That sums up the obsessive nature of boarding which is a joyful and all-consuming passion for those who get the bug.
And the Pitt St Skatepark in Portsmouth is to give people somewhere to indulge that passion all year round.
It’s set to be the first indoor skatepark in the city and judging by the response to an open day I went along to it’s something that the boarding community has been crying out for.
The park hopes to open ahead of Christmas. It’s been built within the former Sainsbury’s store in Commercial Road and is the brainchild of long-term skateboarder Jacob Skinner.
He devised a project known as the Undercover Skate Park and through fundraising and sponsorship helped make the dream of an indoor facility possible.
Re-named Pitt St after as former gym it gained the support of Portsmouth council which owns the building and is renting it to the skateboarders ahead of eventual redevelopment.Mr Skinner said: ‘’With skateboarding in the United Kingdom, it rains a lot. So our main focus was to build something that you can skate all year round with a roof. We started this with just an idea. The council agreed..we've got the lease to this building and a dream and we've got a lot of support from a lot of people in the city.’’
The park includes ramps, rails and ledges and enough variations to hold competitions alongside day-to-day use. The venue is also welcoming BMX riders, roller bladers, scooter riders and skaters with quad boots.
A separate flat space is set aside for the skaters. The plan is to also have a shop, cafe and social areas for the wheeler community to gather.
There are a number of outdoor parks in and around the city but all of course subject to the weather.
Mr Skinner said: ‘’For me skateboarding was a way of dealing with my problems when I was younger. And I wanted other people to be able to deal with it in the same way. And I think there's been a secondary boom in a lot of world sports since lockdown because people had extra time on their hands and realised it was a way to be outside and do something constructive.
It’s hoped to attract people from all ages and not just expert boarders. Younger people will have to wear helmets.
It’s hoped that when the site is eventually redeveloped the skateboarders will get a permanent home.
Allowing them to indulge their passion come rain or shine.
The skate park opens to the public on December 10th.