GMP Skatepark, Guangzhou, China: 168,000 square feet of skateboarding features and obstacles | Photo: Sk8scapes

It was supposed to be the most ambitious skatepark on the planet, but the massive facility fell into ghost mode.

Located in the heart of Guangzhou, China, the GMP Skatepark reigns as the world's biggest skateboarding facility.

You can immediately glimpse its size when you get near it. It's bold and impressive.

The park spreads over an expansive 168,000 square feet (16,900 square meters) area, the equivalent of four football fields, and showcases various riding features.

Guinness World Records even lists it as the world's largest skatepark.

The dream began to take shape in 2013, and the construction project was finally completed in 2015.

The city of Guangzhou partnered with renowned skatepark designer Brad Shaw, founder of Sk8scapes, and Eddie Liao of B&E Actionsports, blending their deep understanding of skateboard culture with local construction techniques to create a world-class facility.

GMP Skatepark quickly became the go-to spot for Chinese skateboarders and foreign riders. But the hope poured into the mega sports arena would not last long.

GMP Skatepark: designed and built by Brad Shaw and Eddie Liao | Photo: Sk8scapes

Partially Closed

The skatepark resides in the district of Panyu, a bustling area renowned for its cultural history and rapid modern development.

The structure is 30 minutes from the city center, making it accessible to local and international visitors.

The facility is surrounded by ten universities, with a combined attendance of more than 160,000 students and 20,000 staff.

The concept for the Guangzhou University City Mega Skatepark arose from the city's dynamic vision of becoming a global hub for extreme sports.

The GMP Skatepark is surprisingly large, but its maintenance levels are far from perfect.

Part of this mega project was closed down around 2017 after two people fell in the 12-foot concrete bowl and got injured.

GMP Skatepark: featuring several elements for beginner riders | Photo: Sk8scape

Features for All Level Riders

The park has been designed to cater to all skill levels, from novices to advanced skaters.

It showcases a variety of features, including street, transition, and vert, ensuring that every rider's preference is catered to.

The street section is a concrete jungle of urban-inspired elements featuring a combination of stairs, plazas, handrails, ledges, and benches.

It mirrors real-world street environments, allowing skateboarders to perfect their skills in a controlled setting.

The transition section houses a myriad of ramps, mini ramps, snake runs, and bowls, ranging from shallow to deep ends, providing a smooth and fluid skating experience.

The standout feature is the cradle, a giant bowl with over-vertical walls allowing skaters to perform gravity-defying tricks.

The vert section is home to a massive full-pipe and a vert ramp that is both thrilling and challenging.

GMP Skatepark: the world's largest skateboarding facility features five bowls and a massive cradle | Photo: Sk8scapes

Boosting China Skateboarding

These features push the boundaries of vertical skateboarding, making the GMP Skatepark a must-visit destination for skateboarders seeking an adrenaline-fuelled experience.

The skatepark also houses a beginners' area, thoughtfully designed with smaller ramps and rails, allowing novice skateboarders to learn and gradually improve their skills.

This section embodies the inclusive spirit of the famous Guangzhou skatepark, ensuring everyone can enjoy the facility regardless of their experience.

In addition to the skateboarding features, the GMP Skatepark also includes a set of facilities to support its visitors.

Since its opening, the GMP Skatepark has hosted several skateboarding competitions, attracting professional athletes from all continents.

It has also played a pivotal role in promoting skateboarding in China, encouraging the youth to take up the sport.

With its scale, diversity, and impeccable design, the GMP Skatepark has revolutionized skateboarding in China.

It stands as a testament to Guangzhou's commitment to fostering extreme sports and inspires future skatepark designs worldwide.

GMP Skatepark: the facility has obstacles for all riding levels | Photo: Sk8scapes

Guizhou Skatepark Will Be Bigger

The impact of the GMP Skatepark in international media also sparked a conversation about urban space design and community engagement.

It has shown how a skatepark can become a hub for community activity, promoting fitness, creativity, and social interaction.

The park's unique format that mirrors real-world street environments adds a layer of authenticity that resonates with the skateboarding community.

This authenticity, combined with the park's facilities, truly sets Guangzhou's sidewalk surfing structure apart.

But it needs to be revived and taken care of. Otherwise, it will quickly transform into yet another post-industrial nightmare.

The GMP Skatepark could serve as a shining example of how a skatepark can be more than just a place to skate - it can be a place to connect, grow, and thrive.

Paradoxically, China is planning the construction of an even bigger outdoor skateboarding facility at 323,000 square feet (30,000 square meters) in Guizhou.

Hopefully, it will follow the newly-created skatepark certification and open a new era in concrete wave-riding spaces.

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