Epic Indoor Skatepark: Today was a good day
I came to and managed to focus my blurred vision and catch my breath. A familiar nauseous feeling gripped my guts as the ringing in my ears became slightly less deafening. The first thing I heard and saw was Roy Hyde pointing and laughing. That bastard.
I somehow was able to recall the seconds before the crash: I was spinning my skateboard and body through the air and had spotted a landing on the ramp below, one of the many ramps inside Epic skate park’s titanic, 36,000-square-foot warehouse full of quarterpipes, boxes, flat ground, gaps—and things most skaters have never even seen or heard of.
Ah, it was all coming back now: I was about to land a trick, but my rear wheels over-rotated slightly, exposing the back of my head and ass to imminent collision with the ground. I was only out for a second, but long enough to flash back the entire morning up until that moment.
The day started off great. Our crew had assembled on that Friday and we were ready to go: local rippers Hyde, Peter Darling, Julian Button and his father, SN&R art director Don Button, and me. A few phone calls were made, and Epic’s owners Dirk and Danielle Killingsworth arranged for a meet up at the park before business hours.
Rocklin isn’t exactly a hop, skip and a jump down the block from Midtown, so miles were logged on my already beaten car, which quickly filled to the brim with skate banter. Tricks were called out, old issues of Thrasher gawked at, windows rolled down while bumping Metallica’s Kill ’Em All as we bypassed the Interstate 80 morning traffic heading the opposite direction.
The smell of fresh Masonite hits you when you walk into Epic skate park. And it’s hot: at 10 in the morning, the summer heat has already soaked everyone’s back with sweat from the drive. But wait. That’s right: The park is fully air-conditioned.
The structure of the building allows for a unique course design that feels like a NASA testing site. Most of the ledges, ramps and obstacles are laid out parallel to each other for the entire length of the warehouse, creating an endless flow from wall to wall. A skater can throw down his board at the one end of the park and hit nearly every obstacle in the street course before changing directions.
If the size of the park doesn’t blow your mind, then the obstacles surely will. You have ledges and gaps of all sizes, bowls and ramps with—dare I say?—perfect transition (not too mellow, not too steep), handrails for the make-or-break dudes, plus an assortment of zany obstacles that resemble oversized sushi platters or circus toys.
“We wanted it to be very plaza-style. We wanted skaters to feel like they were skating spots that they get kicked out of every day,” owner Danielle explains of the thought process behind the park’s design. Their son, 18-year-old Shay Killingsworth, was instrumental to the design process. “Shay would point out things we needed, obstacles from videos or famous skate spots from San Francisco or L.A.”
Nothing is free, however, and one obvious disadvantage to having such a dreamy indoor skate park at your disposal is having to part ways with hard-earned cash. “Rent and insurance are the two biggest and most expensive factors we’re dealing with,” Dirk explains. “Anytime you have an operation this big, it costs you a lot of money to maintain.” The prices: $13 for a two-hour session, but for $71, you can become a member, bringing the price for a two-hour session down to $6.
Most skateboarders complain about wearing helmets—they cramp a skater’s style in the vanity department and also make them feel top-heavy and off-balance. Unfortunately, there is no way for Epic to get around the helmet grievance. “We know wearing a helmet sucks. We got the most grief about that from our own kids,” Danielle laughs. “We tried to get away with not having it be that way, have mandatory helmets only be for kids under 18, but California is such a sue-happy state, our insurance provider couldn’t let that happen.”
The guys got it together, though, and within a few minutes everyone was ripping.
Hyde and Julian tackled the street-oriented obstacles, such as the gaps and rails, as Darling and Don explored the transition. Photos were snagged, dudes got their tricks—it was ending up a great session. Despite my brief stint with unconsciousness, I was back on my board in minutes. Mandatory helmets win!
After a while, other skaters trickled in—and there were a few more dads rolling in with their kids, two generations ripping side by side. As the kids ran to the smaller street section of the park to practice ollies, the dads made their way over to the bowl on the other end, shark boards in hand, kneepads, leopard-print helmets.
Old school and new school under one roof.
Session completed, we stopped at the Galleria on our back to Midtown, where we scored four pretzels for the price of three. Epic skate session and free grub? We got it.