If geologists rated skateparks the West Hobart Bowl would be classified as Jurassic. It is a crusty, meandrous beast that will happily spit you (and your flesh) into the stratosphere if you hesitate or make an error in judgment. It is a lumpy 100m roller coaster ride that takes you from a shallow dish, through the belly of a snake, past the demonic ‘Thrasher’ corner into the actual bowl. The West Hobart Bowl, (which is actually more of a snake run) has been sessioned for thirty three years now.
In an era when there were only a handful of parks in the southern hemisphere and only one in Australia (Albany, WA) you can imagine that it was pretty hard to find any reliable inspiration for a skatepark design. Of course this is in a time which was pre-internet, pre-fax, pre-videocassette recorders and probably even pre-you! Without anything to really guide them by the West Hobart Bowl was actually designed by the Hobart Council’s architect and built by the city! No computer aided design and no specialized skatepark manufacturers involved what-so-ever. The inspiration for the plans were probably sent in an envelope from the other side of the globe, or sketched off a glimpse of a skatepark seen on TV.
West Hobart was actually cited by both Cardiel and Burnquist in their top fives hits a while back. Even the guy who is credited with inventing the frontside air (Tony Alva) had once a photo there published in TWS. A few months ago we contacted James James in relation to filming this piece and we were blown away when he sent back this edit containing legitimate 80’s, 90’s and current footage alongside an interview with Hobartian stalwart Jimmy McMacken. Now wrap your retinas around this…
Like what you see? Make sure you go and like the West Hobart Bowl facebook page.
The West Hobart Bowl is located in John Doggett Park in the block between Hamilton and Brown Streets in West Hobart. This is a must hit for every skateboarder in the country.
Wanna peep it on google maps?
Video: James James
Words: Morgan Campbell
Photos: Duncan Ewington