Photographer:Austen Sweetin
Camera:Olympus OM-1
Film:Kodak Tri-X 400

Escape to Orcas Island Skatepark

North of Seattle, deep in the San Juans, hides the Holy Grail of concrete skateparks

After a winter with record rainfall and an unusually warm spring, summer has hit the PNW. To take advantage of the region's finest weather on a recent Friday, we grabbed our skateboards and some friends, and jumped on the early evening ferry heading north from Seattle.

Located some 65 miles north of WA's most populous city lies Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juans and home to barren shorelines, beautiful lakes, and the Holy Grail of Northwest skateparks. Getting there isn’t easy, but that’s part of the fun.

After a few hours of sight seeing we made landfall around dusk, leaving just enough time to hit the local general store for some cold beers and hot snacks before heading to skatepark and setting up camp in and around the bowl. With sleeping mats scattered throughout the snake run, the noise of beers being cracked gave way to anxious chatter of the following day’s dream lines.

The sun is bright and arrives early in the Northwest, offering ample time each morning to start with a barefoot session before heading into town for breakfast and coffee. After a quick meal we were off to the water for a swim to cool down before a heated day at the park, which happens to be the magical brainchild of Grindline and Dreamland. When two of the best skatepark creators in the world come together to build their dream park, you going to get something much more than the average cookie cutter design.

Skating this park with your friends brings out the best in everyone—feeding off each other’s lines and energy, you’re bound to step out of your comfort zone. The whole park is essentially one big tranny mass surrounded by a whole lot of other little trannies, creating one endless line that will make your legs burn and leave your mouth frothing for more. With deep bowls, pool coping galore, and some of the gnarliest death boxes you’ll ever see, Orcas Island is well worth a pilgrimage if any park ever was.

Grab some friends, pack a bag, and head out for an impromptu skate trip. And make that coping scream!

Born and bred in Seattle, Austen is a professional snowboarder, emerging photographer, and all around purveyor of good vibes.
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