As many of you may know (skateboarder or not) that the downhill skateboarding scene here on the Hawaiian islands is blowing up bigger then ever. Not only does Oahu have an epic scene, but the other island skaters have been raging!
Because of this, the sport that we all enjoy and love is getting attention state wide... some good and some bad.
Some people love it! They encourage it. Embrace it as a part of our culture here on the islands. After all skateboarding roots from Surfing... which comes from the Pa'pa'Holua sleds that ancient Hawaiians used to use to bomb down mountains to pay respect to Pele. (A Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightening, wind and volcanoes)
Others rant "Skaters have a death wish! Skateboarders are so reckless! They are in the road! They have no respect!".
But we can't get mad. Most people out there have ZERO knowledge of the sport ( or even believe that is is a sport), so can we blame them?
I know as a skateboarder i want to be able to skate again tomorrow, and for many days to come... If i was really as reckless as some may think... my skate career wouldn't last longer then a week. Trust me, my $500 full face helmet, $1200 leather suite, $100 full pad set and $600 skateboard aren't for looks or cool points. Is it for crash landing to stop myself at the bottom? NO.
I want to make sure I'm protected no matter what happens, and i want the comfort of knowing my skateboard and safety equipment can handle whatever conditions i am riding in or come across.
" THEY CANT STOP" is a popular one... but little do they know there are SEVERAL methods we use and practice daily that can stop us at any speed... at any given point.
Im a avid cyclist and i trust that i can stop my skateboard quicker then my board!
But theres no way of me finding this out with out experiencing both... Which many people won't do in their lifetime.
So what else can you do to help peoples outlook on downhill skateboarders?
Heres a few little things to keep in mind while turning your wheels
- We all love and respect the mountains that we ride. SHOW respect. Keep the hill clean. Even if its not your trash... pick it up.
- Respect the residents on the hill. If a car encounters you, pull over and let them pass. Keep the noise down before sun rise and sun down... keep residents in mind when sliding or clapping your gloves.
- SKATE SAFE. Wear all protective gear anytime rolling downhill. STAY IN YOUR LANE. No Matter what! Yellow is LAVA. If a hill is beyond your abilities, practice else where, then come back once you KNOW you can make it down with no problems.
- Educate those willing to listen. If someone asks a question about our skateboards or techniques... don't ignore them or give a vague/ rushed answer. Explain our boards and safety equipment along with safety techniques ( slowing down, stopping, spotting, ect).
Inform them that there is an INTERNATIONAL GOVERNING BODY for our sport. Many have no idea the sport really exists.
- Express to concerned people why we are in the roads... There is NO legal spot in Hawaii for us to practice our sport. Telling us to go to a skatepark is like telling a road cyclist to go do some big bmx jumps in the x games. Or like getting a boogie boarder to only ride a surfboard.
Though we are both on skateboards, they are two totally different disciplines.
We aren't asking for full legal road use... but maybe a set time or place where we can skate and excercize without constantly being worried about receiving a ticket for it.
- SMILE AND SHAKA. ALWAYS
I could go on and on forever on what you should and shouldn't do while riding your board.... but just be wise.
Our state has a HUGE potential to be one of the best Downhill skateboarding venues in the world.
Lets keep the sport growing for the better in Hawaii.
Here are some photos of the Downhill Skateboarders of Hawaii helping clean one of our favorite mountains at a recent community clean up.
Some of the Hawaiian downhill skateboarding crew clearing out california grass from some of the bottom hairpins. It also makes for great visibility!
The samurai chop.
Planning out which zone is next.
Unko Darryl Freeman is the MAN. He's been sugaring wheels and spreading positive vibes since i was a young one... and he's still rallying up the crew. Teaching others to spread the positivity.
Almost as stoked on cutting and cleaning as they are skating.
Tantalus resident and skate supporter Mike McFarlane and his son hung out with the skate crew at the clean up.
This mountain is a GEM, anyone who steps foot on it feels the magic.
The Tantalus community holds a Tantalus Clean Up every few months... Times like this are a GREAT way to give back to the mountain.
Lets keep it magical.