Manual Magazine

Park Ranger: Upland Road Bowl

Posted by Connor Hill on Saturday June 30 2012

Photography by Jake Mein

First published in Manual #39, September 2010.

Beach Thurlow-Meyer, Backside Smith Grind. Upland Road Bowl. Photo Jake Mein.

Just like its namesake volcano, Rangitoto Reserve (AKA Upland Road) bowl has lain dormant for many years. The old bowl had been battered by the weather and although its slopes were rugged as an old gumboot, it had good foundations and great potential so a small facelift could bring the old lady back to her former glory.

A few months ago, Jason Parkes at Premium Skate Park Designs got the go-ahead from the council to fix up the bowl with the goal of bringing it into the 2000s. Budget was limited as usual, so he concentrated on making the whole bowl, top and bottom, more user friendly. Upland consisted of a big top dish bowl, a mellow snake run (that would have been killer for rollerskating in the 70s) and a steep, tight and kinked round bottom bowl.

Jason and his team ground the top bowl and snake run back to a super smooth finish, so it’s fast and rad to hoon around. At the bottom of the top dish, a tombstone-style extension was added in. Carve in and out to get your grind on, or straight up and down to get your lip trick on. It’s not a perfect transition so it makes it more of a challenge than your normal skate park quarter pipe. A fun little manual pad / grinder box has been added in where the snake run meets the dish.

In the bottom bowl, all the kinks have been taken out so it’s way easier to keep your speed up and avoid going down the plughole. The new pool coping that has been installed is super fast and barks back at you when you grind it. This bowl is pretty much the closest thing to a USA-style backyard pool that I have seen in New Zealand. Tight and fast, when you skate this you have to have your wits about you.

All in all these alterations make this bowl a must-visit when you’re in the Auckland area, and it’s in a big park so it’s a perfect place to kick back on a sunny Sunday afternoon. There are always young kids cruising around there, so keep your eyes open and don’t get angry at them; we were all young once. Have at! | Rhys Campbell

Photo Jake Mein.

How to get there
From Auckland City central, get on the Southern Motorway. Take the Green Lane East exit, hang a right at Remuera Road then the first left onto Upland Road. Rangitoto Reserve is on the right.

Closest skate shop
Feel like bro’ing down at the nearest skate shop? Head to Cheapskates Khyber Pass. Get onto Remuera Road heading towards the city, turn right at Newmarket onto Broadway, then left onto Khyber Pass.

Parks nearby
If you’re wanting a ledge fix then head to Owairaka. Get your carcass onto Green Lane East, keep following it until it magically becomes Balmoral Road, hang a left onto Sandringham Road, right onto Mount Albert Road, then one more mellow left onto Owairaka Road.

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Image Gallery (2 Photos)

  1. Beach Thurlow-Meyer, Backside Smith Grind. Upland Road Bowl. Photo Jake Mein.
  2. Photo Jake Mein.