Jungle Skatepark Malaysia
The lost jungle skatepark of Malaysia. In the forests of Shah Alam lies a lost skatepark called Bukit Cerakah. Built in late 1989 and completed in 1990, this park was the first concrete park built in Malaysia.
All images and videos can be found here
Tony Alva Mystery
We have a bit of a skate mystery to tell you about today and this involves Tony Alva and the story begins during 1978 as he undertook his first European tour.
Confusion Skateboarding Article
Tony Alva Mystery Video on The Skateboarding Crucible
Banana Bowl Video on The Skateboarding Crucible
In the forests of Shah Alam lies a lost skatepark called Bukit Cerakah. Built in late 1989 and completed in 1990, this park was the first concrete park ever built in Malaysia. It looks like some type of ancient mayan structure and in these jungle conditions nature takes command and the result is pretty crazy. We have run a video on our YT channel at The skateboarding Crucible about this place, which includes some images and videos so be sure to check that out, the link is in the description below.
So if we look into the setup of the park, you have two half pipes that run side by side, the first is smaller, around the size of a mini halfpipe, with these curved steps leading up both sides, giving it this ancient mayan look. The second is a wider vert ramp. One of the platforms is split by a roll in a section that runs straight down the centre. Both half pipes are connected side by side which almost looks like it has been carved out of the rock into the hillside. Then at the back you have a mini bowl. The bowl is pretty well covered in dirt and green moss. There are some old newspaper clippings from when this place opened and you can clearly see a transition in the centre of the bowl but from modern photos it’s one entire bowl so the transition has been removed. Most of the footage from this place is taken from the larger vert ramp which has been cleared as best it can be, considering its condition. Running around the platforms of the vert ramp are rusted, bent out metal rails.
The earliest documentation of the skatepark, apart from the archive newspaper clipping, was in 2016 when Sidewalk magazine ran an article on the place after they had been sent photos from a friend while trekking through the forest of Selangor. Selangor rainforest is a 544 hectare national park consisting of man-made tropical rainforest with waterfalls and botanic gardens and is a major tourist attraction for travellers. So this guy was apparently just doing a treck and stumbled across this place, without knowing the year it was built you would be thinking that the ancients were skating way back since the dawn of time. There is also some footage on this article of a local skateboarder Arina Rahman who is digging in pretty hard on the vert ramp. Since 2016 it has appeared in a few vlogs on YOUTUBE and some clean up attempts have been made by the local skateboarding community during 2019 which can be seen on the Skate Malaysia Facebook page.
There is some decent film also shot in 2017, when pro BMX rider Daniel Dhers makes a trip to the park with some locals, they shoot a video called Riders of the Lost Ramp. It is clear that the humidity was a major challenge, and the environment in general is probably the main factor that led to the park now being consumed by the jungle. Being built in such a remote location is one of the factors that lead to the park to be abandoned and engulfed by the dense forest during the past 32 years.
The history of this place is still really hazy, I could neve get concrete information on why it was left abandoned, yet based on its remote location and the harsh climate I would say these two elements were not in favour of the park. I was also told that skateboarding was not supported by the government in Malaysia at the time the park was built so this would have also played a part in the lack of maintenance on the place. It seems like the 2016 article in Sidewalk Magazine kicked off a rebirth in interest and attention on the place, which is great.
Okay so as mentioned we have a bit of a skate mystery to tell you about today and this involves Tony Alva. So the story begins during 1978 as he undertook his first European tour. That tour marked a monumental time in skate history as he stopped in Sweden. Now this was arranged by a clothing company that still exists today here in Sweden, and they are called blue and gold, and they were specialised at the time in denim jeans. They sponsored the visit for Alva to do some demos in Stockholm and some areas further North of Stockholm. So he completed these demos, which were documented in a number of iconic photos and videos, yet it was not the only areas of Sweden that he visited. He also made his way down further south to Sweden's second largest city called Gothenburg. During his time here, he skated at an iconic Swedish skate spot called the Banana Bowl. Now we have a video on this place on our YT channel so please check that out and it dives into the history of this place. At any rate he skates the Banana Bowl in Gothenburg and was not really impressed with it, he actually spray painted “this place sucks” on the bowl, which is kind of funny.
Yet one location that Tony Alva visited in Sweden however, has been clouded in mystery for decades. At some point in July of 1978 he stopped in a town on the Swedish South west coast called Falkenberg. The Location was a privately built skate park called Automobilen. Our first episode actually covers the history of this place so please also check that out. His visit to the park was very low key as witnesses have explained that they were casually skating the skatepark on a regular day and all of a sudden Tony Alva appears. Yet no evidence has ever been documented of his visit that day. It’s only been hearsay of stories passed down for generations.
Yet one image has been circulating that can tie Tony Alva to that skate session at Automobilen. The following image has always been credited to been taken outside Paris yet this is incorrect. The image is of the old slalom run that was located on the grounds of the Automobilen skate park. The Iconic shot, taken by Wynn Miller, is the only piece of evidence of Tony Alva and his trip to the park that day. The shot was taken at the start of the old slalom run. To the left of the image you can see a traditional Swedish cottage, the tree line and slalom run are still present on the property today, so is the cottage. The fact that this photo has not been credited to Automobilen sums up the history of the skate park. The park has never got the recognition it deserves locally in Sweden or internationally and has laid in a state of disrepair for decades.
Many wonder how Tony Alva ended up at automobile on that day, the park is situated in quite a rule area, is off the beaten track. On theory is that because the skate park is located on what was the old highway linking the biggest cities from Gothenburg to Malmö, their attention was grabbed as they passed by the old u-ramp which was situated at the entrance to the park and 10m away from the main highway.