December 6th, 2011
Free Parking: Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark — Welcome to the Jungle
Houston is packed with plenty of places to wreck your deck, but none packs the punch of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark at 103 Sabine Street, just outside of downtown. While it isn’t the only free park to get your grind on in Houston, it is by far the best designed and most diverse. It’s 30,000 square-feet of concrete jungle with sweat pounding ramps, bowls, quarter-pipes, half-pipes and all sorts of other delicious features to carve into. The obstacles range from beginner to heavily scarred veteran and are solely open to skaters. This means zero chance of getting blindsided by a BMX… probably. A stones throw from Buffalo Bayou, this chunk of unlevel ground features the most state-of-the-art skatepark design in Houston.
When PUSH came to shovel in the fall of 2007, the end result was the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark. Thanks to the organization Public Use Skateparks for Houston (PUSH), generous donations by the Jamail family, and contributions from other donors—the city has the only in-ground, state-of-the-art skate facilities in the region. It finally opened in the summer of 2008. The skatepark ushered in a new era for the teens and drunken man-boys who love this edgy sport.
While the city has several public and private skateparks to loiter at, none offers the variety and level of amenities in place at Jamail. The park boasts courses for beginners, all the way to the most bruised back-of-the-class seasoned pros. I’m talking the type of ramps that will earn any noob a red badge of courage. If you’re looking to get some scars of your own, the Houston parks board offers beginner, intermediate and advanced courses at the Jamail Skatepark.
And ladies, if you’re looking for a tattooed boyfriend with bad credit and a maturity problem, there’s plenty of room for a cheering section.
HOURS: Monday through Saturday, 8:00AM to 10:00PM; and on Sunday from 1:00PM to 10:00PM
HOW TO GET THERE: Monday through Saturday, 8:00AM to 10:00PM; and on Sunday from 1:00PM to 10:00PM
So what does the Jamail Skatepark dish out?
PRO: Skateboards only. The park caught a lot of heat from the BMX set, after park coordinators decided to ban bicycles from the course.
CON: Location, location, location. Downtown makes a nice backdrop when filming your bootleg YouTube video. But the central locale and distance between it and other parks, make it a crowded spot.
PRO: Diversity. From quarter pipes to a full bowl, this course spreads it out. The varied levels of difficulty make it a great place to learn if you have the balls to try something that will definitely get you hurt. It also gives Houston skaters a crack at ramps and rails only seen by professionals.
CON: CONCRETE. The paved ramps and runways make for smooth sailing and hard landing. The blood factor certainly goes up when skin meets ground at 10-15 mph.
PRO: CONCRETE. Most parks in Houston offer metal ramps, which makes for a quick park assembly and burned flesh. It’s not easy to climb a ramp in the middle of a Houston summer. Even though
the hard pavement get’s hot, it won’t peel your flesh off when you lean against a ramp.
CON:Popularity. Jamail is the crown jewel of Houston skating. So, everyone-and-their-spoiled-brats comes here. Add to it a park supervisor, and you have narc central. Definitely not the safest place for members of this sub-culture to enjoy a 40 oz., or any of the other liberties taken at public parks. On that note, I bid you pleasant bleeding. See you next time when I define the science between skateboarding and glaucoma meds.
PRO: The most stunning feature of the course is the backdrop of downtown. Located just off of the Sabine Street Bridge in Eleanor Tinsley Park the cities looming giants stand watch over the backside 360s, indi-flips, ollies, and, of course, face plants.