Annotated Skate Spots of America: Southside, Houston

Annotated by: Southside Staff

Houston’s Southside Skatepark is one of the rare private indoor skateparks that managed to stay in business for over two decades. It is a stop on almost every US demo tour and the site of the annual Make-A Wish Skateathon, which draws pro skaters from almost every brand for a good cause.

The Bubble

Once you make it into our parking lot you’re in what we commonly refer to as “the bubble.” Essentially, people get away with way too much in the Southside parking lot. We don’t really know why law enforcement doesn’t routinely cruise through and question or even give the usual suspects a second thought, but they don’t. We generally just see things the next day after the occasional very large parking lot party that might have gone a little too late and possibly a little too far. Trash cans topped up with empty cans, Backwoods guts, and wrappers scattered just inches from trash cans and right in front of the door are just some of what we see. Luckily, Southside staff get to the office early and can make all of this disappear so that the kid that begged his not-so-supportive mom or dad to come skate the skatepark has at least a chance of ever making it back.

The Park Door

When you come inside you’ll notice a skateshop entrance door to your left and a skatepark entrance door to your right, with a small check-in window. While both doors have seen their fair share of household-name skateboarders, you’ll immediately notice how worn the skatepark entrance door itself has become. It’s covered in stickers, tags, and anything else anyone can think of adhering to it. It’s the old in-and-out that has really beat this door down, but to us this door has become an icon. We maintain it just enough to keep it around and hang on to its tireless aesthetic.


As you pass through that legendary door, take note of the lockers on your right. Feel free to put anything in them you want. Bring your own lock, but even if you don’t your $100,000 will be safe as no one, and I mean no one, ever looks in or opens the lockers.

1994 Prices in 2016

At the check-in window just stop for a second and pay the same rate as you did in 1994: $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Once you’ve completed this, run the wrist band on your left arm with pride and feel free to come and go as you please until we close, at 9 pm most days. Outside food and drink are welcome, just please find any one of our six interior trash cans. If you just didn’t have time to stop for food and drink, don’t worry: hit us up for some snack bar, we have you covered.

Twice-A-Year Paint

Indoor skateparks are either a notoriously slick, or b you just don’t really have that trick like you think you do. Our ramp surfaces are painted at least twice a year. We also keep up with daily usage by sweeping often and occasionally vacuuming as well. From time to time if we notice a certain area begin to get caked we’ll use a diluted vinegar with water to break down the waxy grip dust build up. Anyone is welcome to join the fight and give the mini ramp a quick mopping, just alert staff of your intentions and we will help supply you with what you need.

Chomp On Texas

Chomp On This premiered to the world at the Texas Skate Jam and we were all blown away by how good the video turned out. In fact, at that time I can not really remember any videos coming out that were all about having fun on a board and putting the focus on those behind the camera. After Chomp On This dropped, Atiba, Gee, Ty, and so on became household names that you looked for in the mags and videos.

P-Rod’s First Nikes

The very first event that Paul Rodriguez did after signing with Nike SB was the Texas Skate Jam. He wore the Sea Crystal Dunk Highs, and everyone was pretty much seeing the emergence of Nike SB for the first time in this territory.

The Discovery Of Ben Raybourn

Ben Raybourn was literally discovered at a Texas Skate Jam, here on the eight-foot extension that was at the end of our perfect six-foot broken capsule bowl years ago. He may not know this, but he can thank Mike Vallely for essentially stomping a massive dent in the upper of the warehouse itself at the Texas Skate Jam the year before. Upon the conclusion of the year, Vallely literally put his foot through the wall, ownership erected the eight-foot vertical extension to cover/protect the building, and that became the focal point for the Texas Skate Jam year that Ben Raybourn literally annihilated it in such a way that the industry took notice.

Verticle Future

Due to the rise of the ATV skateboarder, we are considering building a small ten-and-a-half-foot vert ramp, a smaller version of the Skatepark of Houston’s Hurricane, with the extensions and elevated rolling. We might call it the “Southside Slurricane.”

411 Opener

Tom Penny did have the coveted opener to 411VM with the kickflip the pyramid to backside tailslide the hubba here at Southside around 1994-95. What you didn’t see was the first ever frontside 360 kickflip with his body over the much larger pyramid, frontside heelflip the same pyramid and kickflip from the speed bank across a massive gap into the quarter pipe. He was on fire that day and that Flip Demo could literally go down now 22 years later and anyone in attendance would be hyped to see it, which is pretty crazy to think about.

See more Annotated Skate Parks of America.

To celebrate this year’s DEW Tour, in Long Beach, California, we’ll be premiering our documentary on the Brazilian “gift to skateboarding” and WE ARE BLOOD breakout star Tiago Lemos.

Shot on location in Jaguariúna, São Paulo, Los Angeles and Long Beach, the film contains never-before-seen archival footage, and shows how at just 25 years old, Tiago has already made a mark on skateboarding, bigger than even he realizes.

Check out more at


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