SoCal Native Behind Tokyo Skatepark as Skateboarding Makes Olympic Debut – NBC Los Angeles
When the world stage focuses on this concrete space, history will be made.
But even the very first appearance of skateboarding at the Olympics shines in Tokyo: the light has started in our own backyard.
“I hope you are designing a skatepark to allow everyone to reach their best,” said Joe Ciaglia, Founder and President of California Skateparks.
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Ciaglia is the designer of the Tokyo Skatepark, where he says that every turn, every rail and ramp is designed to allow the skateboarder to create their masterpiece.
The Upland native has been designing concrete skateparks around the world for over a decade.
“We got X Games to do it right,” he said. “They’re making concrete bowls. That led to the Vans Park series where Vans said they wanted concrete, so we started making concrete for Vans.”
His work is in London, Israel and Shanghai, all of which have caught the attention of the International Olympic Committee.
Locally, there’s Stoner Skate Plaza in West LA, the Vans Huntington Beach Skatepark or the iconic Venice Beach Skatepark.
“There were no restrictions,” he said. “The Olympics didn’t say we didn’t have the funding, we didn’t have the size. They said, ‘Hey, tell us what you think works best to have the best event. Olympic possible. “”
The reaction of the American team is off the charts.
“These parks are crazy, larger than life,” said Mimi Knoop, coach of the United States women’s team. “It’s a dream skate park for the park and the street.”
Street skateboarder Jagger Eaton says the chance to skate in Tokyo is all he’s worked for.
“I like the size of the big section,” Eaton said. “I love the trails that I have already made. Sounds awesome, you know, the speed, the passion and the flow.”
Park skater Heimana Reynolds is also ready to rip.
“I think it’s really cool,” Reynolds said. “There are a lot of flows, a lot of different places that you can connect to.”
Like most of what California Skateparks build, Tokyo’s courses are permanent.
“It’s going to open it up to the world, which is so amazing,” Ciaglia said. “Seeing everyone have exposure to the whole world is the best part, expanding skateboarding and giving everyone a chance to be a part of it is the most important thing.”