From start to finish, the evolution of the “jetty ramp” has been a volunteer effort. That continues to be true as skaters and their supporters work to refurbish the popular recreational spot.
Anyone driving by Surfer’s Beach in El Granada will notice a different yet familiar feature in the dirt parking lot. A new half-pipe, paid for by the Granada Community Services District and assembled by volunteers starting last week, is nearly ready for use.
On Aug. 15, the community services district board unanimously agreed to allow the ramp to be moved onto district property, 50 feet from its original Burnham Strip location, so long as the budget did not exceed $10,000. But upon inspection, the ramp was deemed too costly to fix and relocate. So, the district decided to use the money on materials, allowing volunteers to build a new half-pipe so long as it was the same size as the original.
Volunteers agreed and then got to work. They dismantled the old ramp and cleaned up the garbage in the surrounding area.
The construction is being organized by Scott Menary, of Brothers Builders, and Erik Upvall. They’ve worked 12-hour days in the lot to get the halfpipe operational. They did not get underway until the last week of October as they needed to organize their building plan.
The new structure rose out of months of speculation about the fate of the old skate facility. The first halfpipe was built on the Burnham Strip in 2011, on adjacent Caltrans property, by a group of local volunteers without a permit or permission. Earlier this year, community members heard the popular facility was at risk of being demolished by Caltrans if it was not removed from its property. They immediately reached out to the GCSD.
Board president Matthew Clark said the district’s May meeting, that drew more than 50 attendees, was likely its largest turnout ever for a GCSD meeting. Clark said the board was receptive to saving the half-pipe when the community came forward.
Steve Hawk, who sits on the Board of the Tony Hawk Foundation, which builds skateparks across the country, helped create savethejettyramp.com so others could join the movement online. Hawk said there were more than 150 people signed on, and while most were not skaters themselves, they still saw the ramp as a valuable part of the community.
“To me, that was an indication of a silent, not majority, but up till now relatively unknown, community of skateboarders and their families who really liked the idea of having a permanent skate facility in El Granada,” Hawk said.
Barbara Dye, the board’s vice president, said the local community and the board worked together to make sure the half-pipe was not lost for good.
“We wanted to make sure what ended up on our property was properly constructed and safe,” Dye said. “All that stuff that happened behind the scenes, the skateboarding community was pretty clear that they would make this happen if we supported moving it.”