The first skatepark to be built in Spain was in the mountain region of Arenys de Munt. It was built during 1979 by businessman Joaquim Roig. Roig was Influenced by the boom of skateboarding that was happening in the US at the time, and he decided to travel throughout France to do research on skateparks that had been modelled off those in the US. Roig first founded Spain’s official skate organisation, Skate Club Catalunya in 1978. He then followed with the construction of Skatepark Arenys that spanned over nearly one acre.
The opportunity came to arrises when the land was given up by a Canadian man who used to spend the summers in Arenys de Munt. The park was officially opened on July 7th 1979. It included a freestyle section for beginners, snakerun, two connected bowls, halfpipe and slalom track. The skatepark became a hub for skateboarding with a number of sports fairs, exhibitions and tournaments held there. It was also the first skatepark in the country to hold an international tournament during 1979. There also were special charter buses that would take kids to the venue, as it brought in many people from all over the country.
So if we dive into a bit more detail about the skatepark, the first thing that grabs your eye is the freestyle section, and surrounding the flat space are walled banks. So it almost looks like a giant bowl, or reservoir, that is in the formation of a square. Next to the freestyle section there are two bowls that are placed side by side and are connected via a roll in section, there is a third bowl section that is at the end or a Snakerun that runs downhill. You also have a half-pipe that sits in between the Snakerun and slalom section that runs down the entire side of the skatepark. From old footage we have seen, it looks like you can roll into the snakerun from either end of the half-pipe. There was also a reception and bar on the property. You can check out the flyer below that has a map of the place.
So the park's popularity continued until the early 80’s, until there was a large decrease in skateboarding popularity. During this time the residents in the area started complaining that the skatepark was attracting homeless people and drug use, which is when the owners of the facility decided to close the park and bury it in 1984, leaving no trace.
During the 90’s and 2000’s there were rumours circulating about Spain's lost skatepark and interest grew. Yet there was very little information about the place. It was not until 2010 that some skaters started to think if it would be possible to recover the spot. It started to become an obsession as they gathered as much information on this place as possible. They finally decided to break out the shovels and picks and start excavating the site.
The crew began working on the freestyle track and cleared what was left and then gained more motivation to start trying to recover the bowls. They used the map that was on the flyer for the park to give them an understanding of where to start digging. After taking a rod and testing the grounds on where they thought the bowls were located they finally hit what they thought was cement, after clearing a small area, they realised that they had found the radius of the coping from one of the bowls.
The motivation increased as did the number of volunteers to help dig. It was however a painstaking task that did take several years. They encountered metal, scrap, blocks of concrete, old 80’s coke cans, stickers and even parts of the old bar that was located on the skatepark. Not having heavy machinery, it is really impressive that they actually managed to excavate the two connecting bowls. After they had been dugout some repairs were done on the coping, yet it was all pretty well intact. I can just imagine the amount of anticipation once they got to the final stages of excavation, it must have been amazing.
The skatepark was finally reopened during March 7th 2012. They also managed to excavate parts of the old snakerun, yet it is still in pretty bad shape, with a lot of sections still covered with sand and only standing less than half as deep from its original depth. The bowl section at the end is in the same shape, with only a small resemblance of what it once was.The half-pipe however is not visible and may have been totally destroyed when buried. This entire excavation process is captured in a short documentary called “Digging”. They also managed to get Nike SB onboard with the project which was impressive.
So if you are ever in this part of the world, Skatepark Arenys de Munt is a must to check out, it also looks like it is in a really beautiful place, with a lot of scenery. The skatepark still looks super fun to skate and amazing the amount of work that was put in to get this place resurrected!