We don't know exactly when launch ramps became more or less obsolete. They probably fell victim to the popularity of skateboarding and the rise of city and town sponsored skate parks. Launch ramps were a product of having very little access to skateable terrain at a time when the closest skate park might have been hours away from your hometown. They were usually made with scrap wood or in many cases, things from the local construction site.
Launch ramps were relatively easy to build and could turn out to be the center of a skate scene in even the most remote suburban towns. You could drag it around to the places you dorked around at all day, and in your mind that space was completely transformed. It was not uncommon for 20 or 30 kids to skate one ramp with another 10 or 20 friends or girlfriends hanging around on a Friday night. All it took was smooth ground and a street light and you had the makings of a legitimate session.
We have a healthy respect for the DIY nature of building and skating launch ramps and wanted to remind people of just how fun it can be. If you're out there and have nothing to skate, find some wood, a dead end and take matters into your own hands.
Our launch ramp heroes: Tommy Guerrero, Lance Mountain, Jesse Martinez, Christian Hosoi, Jim Theibaud
Video - Alex Greenberg
Photography - Sam McKenna & Austin Perrotta
Ramp - Chris Zack