The World's Largest Skatepark is Coming to China

We’ve seen some incredible skateparks pop up over the past decade, but nothing compared to what is brewing in Guizhou, China. BMX legend Nate Wessel teamed up with Chinese BMX boss Kane Wang and honorary China resident Catfish to create something massive. Read this, get informed, and start filling out your visa paperwork…

First and foremost, how did you fall into the whole Chinese skatepark gig?

Well, I guess it all started with Big Kane (Wang) talking about a lifelong dream that he wanted to do for action sports in his country. He happened to be talking to Catfish about this dream and Catfish told him to talk to me about designing it. Kane hit me up a year or so ago and we kind of went back-and-forth, thinking it was a pipe dream. Later on, he called me up for real and this whole thing is becoming a reality. And, knowing Kane and his desire to build action sports in China, I was 100% on board because I believe in what he is doing and how he is doing it.

Where exactly is it going to be?

I could be wrong, but I think it’s considered a province in China called Guizhou. The area where the park is going is a little town outside of the city. It’s a newer area that is being fully built out with newer-age activities for younger families. It’s actually super badass. Once all of these really cool fun centers are up-and-running, there’s going to be a ton of stuff for families to do that is totally out of the norm.

I’m not familiar with Guizhou. Is it a major area? Is it difficult to get there?

I’m not sure what the population is, but Kane told me they have a lot of very spicy food there and it makes everyone’s skin complexion much nicer than the rest of China. He said this is where the most beautiful girls in China come from because of this. I basically just shrugged my shoulders and went with it because I thought it was awesome and funny at the same time. There has to be something to the food, though. They don’t have any overweight people over there and it seems like people live forever and are always active. As far as getting there, I flew eighteen hours from the United States to Shanghai, had a two hour layover, and then took another three hour flight to Guizhou. From there, it was a few hours in a car to get to the area where the fun is going to happen.

Word on the street is this will be the “biggest skatepark in the word.” Is there any truth to that?

Kane tells me the Guinness Book of World Records will be involved in this somehow. And, from the square footage I have already designed, yes. 

It is the largest thing I’ve ever heard about or seen. I actually can’t even believe it’s real when I’m looking at the design.

How big will it actually be?

Roughly it’s 626’ by 386’, but that doesn’t include the 229’ x 229’ park that is on the roof of the other park that is inside. So, if this actually all goes through and they do what I designed exactly, it will be just under 300,000 square feet.

What guidelines were you given for the design of this place? Was there much creative freedom?

It was pretty much fair game, but that being said, it’s never fair game. I talked a lot with Kane and what we decided to do is what I think is the best gameplan for something so new in China. It’s not that they don’t have skateparks in China - it’s the ones that the kids have access to are not that great or are way too large - like SMP. Don’t get me wrong - SMP is rad, but when kids are trying to learn how to ride BMX or skateboard, a fifteen foot deep bowl just isn’t cutting it. That is what is so great about the size of this park. You just never have the opportunity to put every level and genre of riding and skating in one place and we do here. 

Kane has been pushing to grow BMX very big in his country. He even currently puts on push bike events that have over 200 kids attending. If that’s not a sign for what’s to come, I don’t know what is. 

In respect to the guidelines, I wanted to create something that kids and adults could have fun on, but also progress and take it as far as they want. Of course I want to design crazy shit all day long, but that will have to wait for something else down the road. I did draw a few wild things in the pro-style areas, though…

Would you say this design leans more to a street or park-based layout?

I really think the design covers most of the bases. There’s definitely quite a bit of street, but I add a lot of flow stuff around the edges of a lot of my street designs. I just don’t like seeing dead ends. There are beginner, intermediate, advanced, and pro-level stuff wrapped up in pump tracks, street areas, flow riding areas, and bowls. Oh, and a beginner vert ramp and a full-size vert ramp. There are also all of the training tools - a drop into an airbag and an airbag lander. There’s a venue for a street contest setup that is all indoors. I’d say it’s 65% or 70% street elements, but it’s hard to tell with all of the flowy elements mixed in. 

Any wood ramps or 100% concrete?

As of now, half of the indoor building is going to be wood, but that could change a little bit because it is cheaper to build stuff out of concrete in China. Hopefully the indoor bowl gets to stay wood - it would be awesome to have pretty much every kind of element and texture in this facility. 

Is this project funded by the Chinese government?

That is a question I can’t properly answer. I have no clue. I think some of the funding is coming from the government, but there is also a construction company that is involved.

Is this place going to be open to the public?

I’ve had this conversation but my 40-concussion memory does not help me remember. I know there are going to be schools that bring kids there to session and learn. It is in a gated area that already has a bunch of other things on the property - like mental zip lines, rope courses, and mazes through a forest. I’m guessing it might cost something, but I think it will be relatively inexpensive for what they will receive out of the facility. They are definitely going to have instruction and training programs for all action sports.

Have they broken ground yet?

No, but it will be happening relatively soon. 

When do they expect to have it all wrapped up?

I’m not certain, but they want to have a contest there this summer. 

Who is shaping and pouring the concrete?

This is the only questionable thing to me that I have asked about. The large construction company involved with the park actually builds tunnels and all sorts of really gnarly stuff. I guess they are the ones who will be doing the work.

Will you be over there to oversee that process?

The big problem is my schedule with other jobs. I really don’t have the time to be over there for the whole project, but I do hope I get to consult a bit with that to make sure that it is coming out right. 

Any details on the opening festivities?

The contest that is supposed to happen this summer should be a yearly thing. Whatever happens is going to be seriously insane.

Is it time for everyone to start getting their China visas prepared?

Yes. This would be a good idea. It’s going to be a blast.

Any final thoughts?

Just want to thank Catfish and Kane for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this project. Hopefully this project keeps moving full speed ahead we all get over there to celebrate and make some memories!

Follow Nate, Catfish, and Big Kane on social media to stay informed!

Create New Tag
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment