Northbrook skate park features California-style 'bowl'
A deep "California-style" bowl that even experienced skateboarders may find intimidating lurks in a corner of the Techny Prairie Park and Fields skate park in Northbrook.
Designed for all skill levels, the 115-by-180-foot park incorporates features accessible to both novice and experienced skaters.
But on the more daunting end of the spectrum is the 15-by-15-foot bowl at the park's northwest corner. Sporting nearly vertical sides, the six-and-a-half-foot-deep bowl looks much like a swimming pool without water when viewed from above.
Northbrook Park District Recreation Supervisor Cameron Edelman said the design of the feature is unique to the Midwest and is similar to what one might find at a California skate park.
"We have the 'California bowl.' You don't see that much in the Midwest," Edelman said. "It's a little deeper than your normal Midwest skate bowl."
Skateboarder Rob Chatterton of Northbrook, who was using the park along with two of his friends, all in their early 20s, said the skate park is one of the best in the area. He describes the park as a "vert park," as in vertical, in comparison to a park in nearby Deerfield that features more ramps in more of a "street park" style.
Chatterton said he generally doesn't skate on the deepest bowl, though.
"We've got one of our buddies who shreds that. He's straight like 'California,' he loves to skate the pools," Chatterton said, in reference to the bowls. "I usually stick to the rails and the boxes."
A rail is a length of raised metal skateboarders slide on with their boards, while a box is raised concrete used for various skating maneuvers.
In addition to skateboarders, people use scooters and inline skates at the park.
Nick Auberger of Elkhorn, Wis., visited the park with his scooter while his family shopped for a vehicle fender at a nearby auto body shop.
Starting near the entrance, Auberger's typical routine was to rapidly gain speed on a downward angle, go airborne on a ramp, then continue through either of the three bowls before landing on a flat surface at the top.
Chatterton stressed the importance of etiquette since older and younger skaters are using the skate park together, and a collision could cause injury. Skaters should pay attention, take turns, and avoid lingering at the bottom of features.
Edelman said he likes to see people of different ages come together at the skate park, and it makes him happy to see more experienced skaters helping the beginners.
"It's for everyone," Edelman said.