Skateboard kicker ramps: one of the most versatile street skateboarding obstacles | Photo: Red Bull

The kicker ramp is one of the most shredded obstacles in skateparks and urban environments. Learn how to build this smooth, sloped structure with a simple DIY guide.

It's popular and allows skaters of all experience levels to have fun, practice, and progress their range of tricks.

If there's a versatile feature that any skateboarder would like to build and ride, it is the kicker ramp.

The great thing about this street skateboarding obstacle is that it helps skaters launch into the air, allowing them to perform various tricks and jumps.

Its smooth, sloped surface rises from the ground to a specific height, creating an incline that provides the necessary lift.

Kicker ramps are typically smaller and more portable than other types of ramps, making them ideal for beginners and seasoned skaters who want to get airborne.

Due to their manageable size, they can be easily moved and used in different locations, such as backyards, driveways, skateparks, or any flat city zone.

Another great thing is that these ramps can be used with other skate obstacles, like grind rails or funboxes, to create a creative and challenging setup.

But let's get to the fun part. Follow this in-depth guide to construct a simple yet rideable kicker ramp.

Kicker ramp: build your own structure for under $100 | Photo: Red Bull

Materials

  • Plywood (3/4 inch thick, 4x8 feet sheet);
  • 2x4 Lumber (6 pieces, each 8 feet long);
  • Masonite (1/4 inch thick, 4x8 feet sheet);
  • Deck screws (2.5 inches);
  • Wood screws (1.5 inches);
  • Wood glue;
  • Sandpaper or a power sander;
  • Paint or weatherproofing sealant (optional for finishing);

Tools

  • Circular saw or jigsaw;
  • Power drill;
  • Screwdriver bits;
  • Measuring tape;
  • Pencil;
  • Clamps;
  • Safety gear (gloves, goggles);

Kicker ramp: they can be up to six-foot tall | Photo: Red Bull

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Now that you've gathered the necessary tools and materials, it's time to build the kicker ramp.

Try to find a nine, open, and flat surface on where you start working.

Step 1: Design and Measurements

The first thing to do is decide on the height and incline of your kicker ramp. A common height for a beginner-friendly ramp is 12-16 inches.

Nevertheless, you can raise it up to six feet if you feel comfortable and safe.

Once you're sure about the height, draw the side profile of the ramp on the plywood.

A typical kicker has a 1:3 height-to-base ratio, meaning if your ramp is 12 inches high, the base should be about 36 inches long.

It's not a strict rule, just a guideline.

Step 2: Cutting the Sides

After planning, it's time to carefully cut out the side profile of the ramp from the plywood sheet using the circular saw or jigsaw.

Remember that you will need two identical panels for the left and right sides of the kicker.

Step 3: Building the Frame

1. Cut the Frame Pieces

The next phase is cutting the 2x4 lumber into the following lengths:

  • Two pieces with the same length as the base of the ramp (for example, 36 inches);
  • 5-6 pieces with the width of your ramp (typically 24-36 inches, depending on your preference);

These pieces will be the bones of the structure, so try to cut them as precisely as you can.

2. Assemble the Frame

Now that the kicker ramp's infrastructure is cut, it's time to attach the base pieces (36 inches long) to the bottom of the side panels using wood screws and wood glue.

The bottom of the frame is done.

Then, evenly space the shorter crosspieces between the side panels, securing them with screws and glue.

These crosspieces add stability to the structure.

Kicker ramp: the frame before attaching the surface | Illustration: DIYSkate.com

Step 4: Attaching the Surface

1. Prepare the Plywood Surface

Now that the kicker has gained shape, it's time to cover it.

To do so, cut a piece of 3/4 inch plywood to fit the top surface of your ramp.

During the process, ensure the plywood piece covers the frame snugly. Ideally, you won't see fissures.

2. Attach the Surface

Ready? Time to secure the plywood to the frame using deck screws.

Place screws every 6-8 inches along the edges and into the crosspieces to ensure a firm attachment.

Push with your hand around the connecting areas to confirm sturdiness and overall integrity.

Apply wood glue between the plywood and the frame before screwing it down for added strength.

Step 5: Adding the Masonite Layer

1. Cut the Masonite

The kicker ramp is getting shape.

Now, cut a piece of masonite to the same dimensions as the plywood surface.

2. Attach the Masonite

Spread wood glue evenly on the plywood surface, lay the masonite sheet on top, and clamp it down.

Once the glue is in place, secure the masonite with wood screws, placing them about 6 inches apart around the edges and into the crosspieces.

You can also add a metal sheet to allow for a smooth transition between the plywood and the ground.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Your DIY kicker ramp is almost finished and ready to shred.

1. Smooth the Edges

Use sandpaper or a power sander to smooth any rough edges, especially where the plywood and masonite meet.

Make sure there are no sharp edges or protruding screws. You don't want to hurt yourself if you eventually fall on them.

2. Optional Finishing

Paint the ramp or apply a weatherproofing sealant to protect the wood from the elements and make it last longer.

Allow the finish to dry completely before using the ramp.

Step 7: Safety Check

Inspect the ramp and check all screws to ensure they are tight.

Also, see if it's stable and if all surfaces are smooth.

Tips for Use and Maintenance

Now that the kicker ramp is ready to use, take note of the following suggestions.

Always use it on a flat, stable surface to prevent tipping.

Regularly inspect the ramp for any wear and tear, tightening screws, and reapplying sealant as needed.

Lastly, consider attaching rubber feet to the bottom of the ramp for added stability.

By following these steps, you'll have a sturdy, reliable skateboard kicker ramp that you can use to practice and perfect your tricks.

Enjoy your new kicker ramp, and skate safely.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com

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