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Building a Backyard Skate Ramp 

click to enlarge Fiona and her dad, Nate Beaman, navigate the ramp while Adam Lukens look on.matthew thorsen
  • Fiona and her dad, Nate Beaman, navigate the ramp while Adam Lukens look on.matthew thorsen

Filmmaker Nate Beaman couldn't wait to introduce his kids — Fiona, 7, and Shamus, 6 — to skateboarding. When they showed a glimmer of interest, the single dad jumped on the opportunity to encourage the sport. He built a skate ramp from scratch in their Shelburne backyard, with help from his college buddy and colleague, Adam Lukens.

The friends had experience: They once constructed a skate ramp in Lukens' Brooklyn apartment. And their work behind the scenes in the film industry has made them good at figuring out how to build things on the fly, Beaman says.

The pair took design inspiration from the ramp behind Burton Snowboards' headquarters in Burlington and photos on the internet. But ultimately, Beaman admits, "We kinda winged it a little bit." The "three-day project" took more than a month to finish.

Both Fiona and Shamus have taken lessons at Talent Skatepark in Williston, but they're still apprehensive navigating the ramp standing up on their skateboards. They prefer to sit on their boards — or use scooters and bikes — while sliding down the curves. On a recent hot day, they draped a tarp over the ramp, turned on a hose and transformed it into a deluxe Slip'N Slide.

  • Beaman and Lukens bought about 150 pressure-treated 2-by-4s for the ramp's frame and two layers of plywood for the top.
  • To create the curve, they wet the wood, then walked on it to bend it.
  • They used a deck sealer to protect the ramp from the elements.

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