“16 solid years.”
That’s how long Encinitas native and professional skateboarder Ronson Lambert has been waiting for a skate park that the thriving local scene could call its own.
“We’ve been going to City Council meetings for years on end, pushing it,” said Lambert. “Finally, they were able to get the funds and loans for it.”
It’s the latest coup for the thriving Encinitas skate scene, which has a rich history in the sport and plenty of talent that has populated it for the past 30 years.
The community’s labor bore fruit earlier this month with the grand opening of the new Encinitas Skate Plaza, dubbed Poods Park. The result, Lambert said, is “a blessing for the city. You usually go to a new park and start taking things out. But with this one, there’s not a flaw in it. It’s perfect.”
Lambert should know. A skater his entire life, he moved to Encinitas from Washington in 1989 and quickly became a regular on the scene.
“I grew up skating every day,” he said. “That was pretty much my lifeline; I put my being into it.”
As a result, he’s seen the popularity of skating, in Encinitas and on a cultural level, ebb and flow. “I think it’s at a happy medium in popularity right now. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but now that the park is open, there’s a structure in the city. It used to be you’d have to explore outside; the YMCA here just wasn’t cutting it.”
From his humble beginnings as a teenager shredding in the area, Lambert has parlayed his talents into a variety of ventures meant to support and promote the culture that surrounds skating. As a partner in New Jersey-based Lockdown Skateboards, a start-up that sells skate apparel and boards, Lambert said he needed “something to invest all of my knowledge that I learned over the years in. So far, it’s been growing slowly but surely.”
He’s also a major presence on social media, bringing the Encinitas skate scene to a global audience with almost 9,000 followers on Instagram and a YouTube page that’s constantly updated with clips of tricks and jumps.
Lambert originally became interested in social media after working for brands that “weren’t skater-owned. They didn’t realize how important social media is,” he explained. “I had to step in there and start doing it myself.”
These days, when Lambert isn’t traveling back and forth from Lockdown’s New Jersey headquarters, he plans his week so half of his time is spent doing work and the other half is on a board.
“I used to skate a lot more, but then you get older and have to live life as well,” he said. “I’ll work one day and the next day I’ll skate. Today I worked, and tomorrow I’ll try to get six to eight hours in.”
Luckily, thanks to Poods Park, he doesn’t have to travel far for an exemplary skate experience.
“I grew up with kids who skated, and as time went on, they got jaded and left,” he said, looking back on his multiple decades as a skate advocate. “It all comes down to the individual.”
Check out Lambert on Instagram through his username @RonsonLambert, or on YouTube: @RonsonLambert247.