FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3RD JUNE 2019
‘DOWNHILL SKATEBOARDING – THE ADRENALIN RUSH’
Elissa Mah describes downhill skateboarding as the most exhilarating experience you can have on four wheels – you only need to watch vision from a recent practice run on the Sumner Road near Lyttelton to understand why.
“You get a huge adrenaline rush feeling the wind gusting past you, seeing the scenery flash by, and at the same time your mind is cleared from all else going on in your life as you focus solely on what is in front and around you at that moment.”
Ms Mah is part of an eight-strong team who’ll be representing New Zealand at the World Roller Games starting in Barcelona next month. It’s the first-time downhill skateboarding has been included as an event and highlights the sports growing international status.
There’s been enormous progress in recent years developing professional safety standards and equipment with hopes that downhill skateboarding will become a recognised Olympic event.
The sport combines strength, balance, and smart racing tactics and techniques and while “I’m biased it deserves far greater recognition than it currently gets” says Ms Mah. The team leaves for Barcelona at the end of the week.
World Roller Games 2019 – https://www.wrg2019.com/
Downhill event – 4-7th July
First time downhill skateboarding has been included at the world event. Our eventual aim is to get our sport into the Olympics, most likely in 2024. Street and park skating is already in the Olympics for 2020, so why not downhill? It’s a great sport not just for participants, but also for spectators as well as it’s easy to understand (first to cross the finish line = winner), but has a lot of depth to it if you get into racing tactics and technique, and is super exciting!
What is downhill skateboarding?
Simply put, making it down a hill as fast as you can. The skateboards are specially designed for going fast – we utilise bigger wheels, coarser grip tape, wider boards and different truck mechanics (the axles that the wheels are connected to). In terms of safety, a full-face helmet and gloves with high-density polyurethane pucks are the bare minimum, but a leather suit is required for almost all races, and many DH skaters will wear kneepads and elbow pads as well.
We have several methods of slowing down – air braking (standing tall and spreading your arms out to create a greater surface area for wind resistance), carving, sliding/drifting, and foot braking (taking one foot off your board and applying it to the ground like a brake pad). Sliding is the most effective of these methods for coming to an abrupt stop, with a stopping range comparable to using brakes on a push bike!
The IDF and the World Tour:
The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is our governing body, and the organisation which coordinates the world tour. The IDF is run entirely by volunteers, who pull together race organisers from four regions (Asia-Pacific, North America, South America, and Europe) to make up the international and regional circuits. They are working with the WRG this year to sanction the WRG race as part of the European circuit.
WRG2019 NZ Team:
• Elissa Mah (Christchurch)
• Callum Mathieson (Christchurch)
• Stephen Davis (Auckland)
• Dan Waterhouse (Nelson)
• Fabian Krebs (Auckland, living in Liechtenstein, born in Germany)
• James Robertson (Auckland, living in Melbourne)
• Josh Evans (Auckland, living in Brisbane)
• Lance Evans (riding Luge. Auckland, living in Brisbane)