by Jenna Hauck, Black Press
Chilliwack hosts a group of longboarders this weekend as they gather for a day of downhill riding and safety demos.
The Yardwaste Downhill Memorial Race and Safety Education Event takes place Saturday, Aug. 27 along a stretch of Elk View Road, from Lindell to Ryder Lake roads.
It will be a friendly competition where longboarders participate in “free rides” where the emphasis is on safe riding without prizes or money to be won. It is hosted by Yardwaste Downhill (a team of longboard competitors), Abbotsford Community Services, and Chilliwack Community Services.
The event started last year in memory of 14-year-old Marcus Larabie of Abbotsford, who died while longboarding. Marcus was hit by an off-duty police officer in an Abbotsford intersection on the evening of Dec. 26, 2014.
One of his friends, who participates in programs at Abbotsford Community Services, came up with the idea to hold the event.
“A big part of this is remembering fallen longboarders,” says event organizer Alison Gutrath with Abbotsford Community Services.
There will be riders from Chilliwack, Abbotsford and beyond participating.
Last year about 60 longboarders registered and the event was held on a section of Discovery Trail in Abbotsford. The route included some sharp hairpin turns, making it a more difficult race compared to what it will be like on Elk View Road, says Gutrath.
The course will be like a “mid-point starting point and therefore (less experienced) riders will not feel as intimidated,” she adds.
All riders will be required to wear safety gear, including helmets, gloves, appropriate shoes, and long pants.
There will be an hour’s worth of safety demos by professional longboarders from Yardwaste, Coast Longboarding, and Replay Board Shop. Participants will learn how to stop, turn and slow down safely, as well as various other longboarding skills and techniques like how to crouch down properly.
Following the demos will be four hours of downhill riding. There are no classes of competitors, rather each heat is open to all levels which will give beginners a chance to watch and learn from the pros.
Spectators are welcome to come and watch.
The Yardwaste Downhill Memorial Race and Safety Education Event runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is 9:30 to 11 a.m., safety demos from 10 to 11 a.m., and free riding from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.