Skateboarders do test run at Lynch Family Skatepark
CAMBRIDGE — A few things stood out immediately for Kanten Russell after he emerged from the depths of the "pro bowl" at the Lynch Family Skatepark.
"It's got a nice mellow, shallow section so when you're carving in there, you have a good setup to the middle and deeper pockets," Russell opined on the experience, sounding like the former professional skateboarder that he is. "And the pool tile really makes it feel authentic, like a real backyard pool. It feels really good going around it and hearing the clicks — the clicks of the tiles."
Russell, who now works for the engineering and consulting company Stantec, was instrumental in the design of the park in East Cambridge beneath the highway ramps near the Leonard P. Zakim Bridge.
On Wednesday, he was one of the first people to experiment with the various elements of the skateboarders' haven.
After more than a decade of fund-raising and planning, the Charles River Conservancy, the nonprofit group that led the project, will open the 40,000-square-foot space to the public Nov. 14. The park is one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast.
Named after the Lynch Foundation, which donated $800,000, the concrete playground features the pro bowl and two other bowls of lesser difficulty; hard ledges; and angled railings. One unique obstacle is a small "volcano" of brick, modeled after what was once a popular spot for skateboarders outside a Boston hospital.
"It really kind of tries to simulate or emulate something that is not here anymore," Russell said.
The pro bowl, which hits depths of 11½ feet, is one of the gems of the skateboarder paradise, Russell said.
"It's super-fun," he said. "It's kind of like riding a roller coaster. You kind of go down the waterfalls, and there's kind of curves and dips and you push back up and it really gives you that cool exhilaration of a roller coaster factor."
But don't let the word "pro" fool you, he said.
"Anyone can ride it," Russell said.
Watch as Russell rides through the park: