Build a Kick Ass North Shore

Posted on 19/10/2009 by Blair N

This is the north shore Francis and I built, we call it 'The Wharf'. 

It's 1 metre wide, 5 metres long and 1.7 metres high but don’t let its height fool you, you’ll be landing 3 metres plus down the hill. Here is a little video of us riding it:

We didn’t take pictures as we built it but it’s not that hard, I’m gonna run though how to build one yourself.

First thing you have to consider is what do you want it for?

Do you want one big ass drop that scares softer riders, do you want a medium size drops for  tricks and spins or a small drop to practice on before you step up to the big ones?

We wanted a big ass drop so we needed a big steep hill. For this you want to have a hill at about a 45 degree angle, give or take. Give yourself an easy roll in to 3-5 metres of flat ramp, then you want to be landing on a reasonably steep hill to absorb as much energy as you can. There is almost no such thing as too steep for the landing but if it’s too shallow you’re gonna wreck your knees and possible your board. Same goes for a medium drop of between 1-2 metres. For a small drop 1 metre or less it isn’t such a problem but it is always good to land on a slope.

So now you have found a hill with a nice roll in, room for your ramp, and a nice steep landing, don’t forget stopping room, or room to ride away. What do you need next?

Materials

  • Posts – We used two long posts and two short posts, if your ramps shorter you might not need 4.
  • Sides - We started with two 4.8 meter lengths of H4 treated, 50mm by 200m lengths. Later we had to get another for the centre as the covering wood bowed too much. We used H4 so we could dig the ends into the ground and it would last forever but H3 would do the trick too.
  • Supports – We used two 1 metre lengths to support our sides (and centre).
  • Covering – We used H3 decking wood cut to one metre wide, you could use ply or any other wood you have laying around so long as it’s nice to ride and won’t put you off.
  • Nails – lots and lots of nails.

Costs

Our total build cost was $220 and we got the posts for free, you could do it for a lot cheaper if you can track down some free wood, but remember if you're gonna join wood, support it - you don’t want it breaking as you come into a 3+ metre drop off.

Now it’s time to build...

Mark out your roll-in and starting point of your ramp then measure out how long it will be, ours was 4.8 metres. Check that you like the landing. If you can get a string line and level for this it will be great, or use your eye-ometer.  We came back about half a metre from the end of our ramp for our posts. This gave us a nice overhang. Dig these posts into the ground to the height you want. The posts should be set in strong so they don’t wobble. Remember to make sure your sides aren’t wider than the covering you want to use.

The back two posts should be set in to sit at the same height or just a hair higher that your front two, so that you ramp is flat of has a slight downhill. Set these back about 2-3 metres from your front two, you might have to cut them down so your hole doesn’t have to be over 1 metre deep.

Now that your 4 posts are in the ground and in the right place it’s time for the sides. Hold these up against the posts and have someone eye it all up for you. The ramp should start with a good roll in; run flat or slightly downhill leading to a drop off of the correct height with a nice landing. If something’s not right this is the time to fix it. Nail these on making sure they are level with one another, you don’t want a crooked ramp into 3 metre drop. Add your supports underneath these and the base is all done. If your base is a bit unstable or you a little worried it will hold up you can add some supports running from the sides to the bottom of your posts.

It’s time to cover your ramp. Our sides were just less than 1 metre apart so our decking timber was cut to 1 metre wide and all we had to do was nail it down. We left gaps of about 10mm between each piece of timber to let water drain and let the wood dry. It also save a bit off money to leave gaps. As you ride the ramp you don’t even feel the gap so it's not a problem there.

You should now have a kick-ass north shore ready to ride.
Please see the how to survive a large drop section.