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The Snake Run, Albany

162/172 Hare St, Mount Clarence Western Australia 6330

The Snake Run skate park in Hare Street, which was opened in February 1976 by American skateboarding legend Russ Howell, is thought to be the world’s oldest skate park in continuous use.

Its origins date back to 1975, when a group of Albany Senior High School students formed a committee with the intention of constructing a skateboard track.

With the help of their parents, the boys, aged between 13 and 17, began fundraising and in three months had accumulated $3,000. Albany Town Council was so impressed by the enterprise that it contributed three acres of land (the site of an old gravel quarry) near the school and a further $10,000.

The Snake Run’s track is a one-way downhill ride with sloping walls on each side and three sharp bends, the outside wall of each curve upwards to the vertical. Its banked walls were designed for skaters to simulate surfboard riding on ocean waves. The vertically banked bends enable skaters to get vertical on fast rides or to attempt a variety of tricks.

Other important features are a modest slope down the track’s centre line so beginners can’t travel too fast and a steeper section at the start to provide extra speed for the more experienced.

Russ Howell took photographs and movie film of the Snake Run back to America for reference and much of the track’s design was incorporated in early US skateboard parks.