11 November 2015
A unique new initiative to take the sport of Squash to the masses in the USA is being supported by one of the world’s leading court manufacturers ASB.
“Squash is an extremely healthy, fun, sport that is growing in popularity, yet remains one of the most inaccessible sports in the United States,” said Alex Wakefield Wessner, co-founder of Public Squash, a non-profit foundation. “We are determined to change that by building public outdoor courts in NYC Parks, to meet a growing demand at lower costs and promote healthier communities.
“Public Squash was founded to accomplish a single goal; make squash more accessible and visible to the public. We came up with a simple idea to build outdoor courts on underutilized park grounds. Squash can be played on multiple surfaces. Focusing on playability, durability and safety, the courts will offer a professional outdoor experience.
“Fast forward to today, we are now working with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to build the very first public outdoor squash courts. Through search engine data analysis, we showed the Parks Department that New Yorkers are searching for squash courts four times more often than handball courts, encouraging them to donate several locations. Not to mention there are 2009 handball courts, and not one squash court!”
The first ASB PublicSquashCourt will be unveiled in East River Park in New York City next spring. The all-glass court is modelled on the German company’s ASB ShowGlassCourt, the court which has become the byword for court excellence at World Squash Federation World Championships and the leading Professional Squash Association World Tour events around the globe.
“I really enjoy the work we do with Public Squash,” said ASB Managing Director Christof Babinsky. “The guys are brave enough to bring disruption to the market and make a big impact. We have therefore set out to create the ASB PublicSquashCourt to meet the requirements of the public outdoor environment Public Squash imagines.
“We have created several outdoor ASB Courts so far, including three on cruise ships. The experience is there. The challenge was to develop a product that meets a tight budget and can withstand all environmental and civil impacts,” added Babinsky.
“Thus the ASB PublicSquashCourt is extremely durable, requires no maintenance and is protected against medium to high forms of vandalism.
“The Public Squash initiative makes squash accessible to all – the hope being that local clubs will then benefit from those who want to take it further,” continued Babinsky. “NYC can be a role model for cities all over the world. In joint collaborations between clubs and city councils, it would be great to have courts like this in parks in Paris, Los Angeles, London, Rio, Tokyo, Moscow, Sydney, etc.
“This could be one of the biggest squash initiatives to massively increase the number of squash players and fans worldwide.”
Public Squash is fully backed by US Squash, whose number one player and former national champion Christopher Gordon is a fervent supporter of the Public Squash initiative: “Public Squash is a very important project for both the Sport as a whole and the city of NYC. It is an amazing avenue to expose a whole new demographic of people to our sport, and in return, the City is able to offer easy access to one of the healthiest sports out there.”
ASB has built more than 15 outdoor glass squash courts to date. Outdoor squash courts are a relatively untouched area – in which ASB is the only company developing facilities. The brand’s breadth of experience and willingness to innovate is ultimately what led to the partnership with Public Squash.
ASB has developed a new type of glass surface especially for the public squash court, using ceramic print like the ASB ShowGlassCourt but in a new and refreshing method. All glass surfaces and etches are protected against vandalism, and the outdoor courts feature a new durable and sprung outdoor floor.
The courts can be retrofitted with a lighting rig. Furthermore, as an optional extra for certain installations, ASB also offers a solar floor that can charge batteries to operate lighting at night.
The new glass surface also allows for customization with the Public Squash logo and the responsible authorities and sponsors in mind.
For more details of the project, go to: www.publicsquash.org