Preston Shaw of Lawrenceville arrived early with birthday cash in hand.
The newly minted 14-year-old inline skater was ready to shred Friday afternoon after plunking down $300 for a six-month all-access ‘Platinum’ skate pass.
“I’ve got Preston who skates and another son who swims; the ultimate in spectator sports,” said Preston’s mom Suzanne, who helped her son complete a mandatory waiver before he took to the floor.
And with that, the Moorestown,NJ-based Black Diamond Skatepark was open for business in the A-T-L.
The Shaws were among about 200 other skater-fashion clad teens that jammed the skatepark’s entranceways inside and outside Discover Mills Mall following a 3 p.m. grand opening May 31.
After months of delays from deferred building inspections to lease negotiations, metro Atlanta thrill-seekers finally have a space to call their own.
The spartan, climate controlled 40,000 square-foot quasi-industrial space -- former home to X-Games skatepark and more recently Woodward -- spans the mall’s entire northwest corner.
Chain link fence barriers and concrete partitions offer little visual or physical comfort for the uninitiated. But for skateboarder Mike Donnaly, 19, of Marietta, it’s the perfect setting to session the day away and spend time with friends who share a common interest in action sports culture.
“This is a great option if it’s raining or when it gets cold out,” Donnaly said. “And they’ve got good lines so you link different ramps together without stopping.”
Ramps and rails reign supreme here, offering skateboarders, scooter riders, inline skaters, BMX and mountain bike freestyle riders an array of physical and mental challenges.
Box jumps and a full half pipe with two-foot transitions and PVC pipe lined coping is ripe for lip tricks. And there’s ample ceiling clearance for blasting big air.
Session times are staggered between conveyance and convenience.
For example, early Sunday afternoons is reserved for skateboards, roller blades and scooters while bikes are banned. Then from 3 to 6 p.m. bicycles are allowed. This helps prevent collisions between riders and their varying styles.
Minors must be accompanied by a parent to sign a waiver or have one notarized prior to admittance. Helmets are mandatory, and other protective gear is highly recommended.
“We had our eyes on this space for quite some time,” said Black Diamond Skatepark President Dan McCollister. “And now that we’re here we’re really going to take it to the next level for metro Atlanta’s skateboarding scene.”
McCollister plans to expand Black Diamond’s pro shop and retail offerings, he said. And he hopes private party rentals will add to the company’s revenue stream having lost his Moorestown, NJ skatepark location from a mall expansion there.
The Atlanta skatepark is the fourth addition to Black Diamond’s portfolio, following two retail skate shops in Moorestown and Long Beach Island, NJ, and a sister skatepark in Philadelphia. The company was founded in 2005.
For more information, including session schedules, pricing, hours of operation, and to download a mandatory waiver, visit www.bdsk8.com.