From high jumping hockey sticks on garbage cans to “borrowing” lumber from a nearby construction site and building one of North America’s best backyard half-pipes.
Those are just a few memories of a ‘70s childhood spent growing up on Maple Road, a relatively quiet, residential street, off of No. 2 Road between Francis and Woodward.
The memories belong to a small, but tight band of skateboarding Richmond natives; Kevin Harris (who went on to become Canada’s first pro skateboarder), Lyle Chippeway, Doug Hasslett, Mike Blake (who become a legendary photographer) and Glen Billwiller, most of whom either lived or skated on Maple Road.
The early years of Maple Road consisted of learning the skateboarding basics outside Harris's house by flipping through Skateboarder Magazine and recreating the moves, to skating make shift ramps under their car port. It wasn't until the late 70s when things really started taking shape. The Maple Road crew built their first ramp in Kevin's backyard late 1976, but it didn't last long. Needless to say none of them had any construction experience at the time, and a death trap was erected instead of a half-pipe. But in 1977, the crew learnt a few important skills and built an 8' wide half-pipe which was 9' tall. The ramp had a roll-in on the backside which led to a 13' high quarter pipe with a 6' plexiglass insert so you could watch from the backside. In 1978, the ramp was fully rebuilt to a 12' wide vert ramp which still had no flat bottom, no platforms and was equipped with 2x4 copping. In 1979, they had heard from Shogo Kubo about a revolutionary idea called "flat bottom", and the 3rd generation 16' wide vert ramp was born. That last version of the ramp was monumental at the time, towering 10.5' high with a foot of vert and pool copping.
It wasn't just the Maple Road crew who skated these ramps. Sessions consisted of skaters like Carlos Longo and Cory Campbell with The Jaks, The Ripping Squad, Shogo Kubo, Steve Cathey and Frank Blood. People would come from all over North America to skate the backyard giant.