TransWorld Business is taking a long-overdue in-depth look at a wide cross-section of skatepark builders in the United States and internationally as part of a weekly series exploring how each got their start, how the business has grown and evolved over the years, and where the future of skatepark building is headed.
“First time I stepped on a board was 1975,” says Oxenham. ” I was six-years old and obsessed with ramps ever since.”
After building several backyard ramps in the ’80s and then getting involved with friends who built ramps for local government, the young 20-something spent the next six years working and lobbying with an active community group to get a local skatepark built. It wasn’t until 1999 that he was able to create his own building company, Convic, and from that point on Oxenham has been blessed with several large-scale projects, including Australia’s Port Augusta and Cairns Regional skateparks, as well as Singapore National Extreme Sports Park, that have garnered him international attention for park construction.
We caught up with Oxenham to find out what inspires him to keep building, how he has seen the business grow, and what he foresees for future projects.
What’s the timeline from when you got started through today, with some major milestones that you are particularly proud of?
Convic’s first park was in a remote Australian town in 1999..
It kind of took off from there as the next town wanted one, then the next town , then the next, then before I knew it I was in Shanghai in charge of 300 men building the largest skatepark in the world. Seeing the faces of all the worlds top riders as they walked into the park for the first time.. EPIC. It was a crazy ride!
One of my favortite parks is still my first. Every time I go back to that town I see the impact it has had and continues to have on the local community.
Also, the Geelong Youth Activities Area, for which we won Australia’s top award for Urban design. The park has changed the face and perception of what skateparks are and can be.
For Singapore, it just looks incredible. Also the conditions which we built under were so difficult 110 degrees and 100% humidity. It was insane. Getting to meet the Prime Minister of Singapore was a highlight.
We have since designed over 600 parks and built 400.
In what specific ways have you seen the skate park landscape evolve and change over the years?
Parks have developed to suit the more all-around skaters today.
They have also evolved to be more creative and sympathetic to their surrounding environment. They don’t just have to be grey blobs. Making parks aesthetically pleasing reduces community angst and it is much more pleasing to be shredding in a well though out and considered space.