Longboarders ride for good cause
The first annual Tahoe Longboards competition went off without a hitch this past Saturday at Alpine Meadows. All of the money raised from the event’s $10 entree fee was donated to the Tahoe Adaptive Ski School, a division of Disabled Sports.
The Tahoe Adaptive Ski School depends on events like this to fund programs, buy equipment and give out scholarships.
“Only certain people ride longboards,” said owner of Tahoe Longboards Chuck Buckley. “Well a lot of people ride them, but not like we ride them up here (Tahoe).”
“It’s a special privilege to be able to ride. It makes you realize everyday is special so you should do it while you can.”
Beyond donating to a good cause, the event was set up to give longboarders a chance to compete.
“I want people to remember the history of skating, what it was and what it came from,” Buckley said. “I know I’ll never forget that,” he added.
The field of competitors raced and competed in a few different events.
The first event was the slalom course. In this event riders could push into the course 25 feet before committing to the down hill course. The entire course reflected two giant letter S’s with slalom cones connecting each S. The boarders had to ride between the cones the length of the S and then turn in and out of a set of cones.
The next event was the giant slalom. In this event the cones were spread out to create larger turns for the boarders.
The freestyle event was next with all of the boarders riding down the parking lot showing off their best longboard tricks.
In the hang 10 competition riders must get the back wheels of the board off the ground while ridding with both feet on the front of the board. Dane Leonard was the only rider able to get the back wheels off the ground as he rode the hang 10 the length of the cones.
The day brought out all levels and ages of longboarders. Doug Delano, 45 of Reno, came out to compete in his first ever longboard competition.
Delano started longboarding just six months ago. When asked what encouraged him to start longboarding at 45-years-of-age he responded, “watching too many surf movies and living too far away from the ocean.” So how long has Delano surfed? “I’ve never surfed,” Delano said. So what is it about longboarding that has him hooked? “It’s the freedom riding gives you,” he said. “And as of today, the comrodery of the other boarders.”
“I wear wrists guards because I’ve to go to work, I’ve got bills to pay,” Delano said. “But this is an absolute blast, I enjoyed and absolutely loved it.”
Maddie Racoosin, 12, was the youngest girl to compete in the competition. Racoosin got into longboarding due to snowboarding.
“I’m a competitive snowboarder and I’m a friend of Chuck’s (Buckley),” Racoosin said. “It’s really fun and challenging,” she added. Not only is Racoosin a friend of Chuck’s, but she is also sponcored by him. Racoosin won prizes for style in the competition.
The youngest boy to compete, Zed Chance, 11, has only been longboarding a month and a half.
Zed likes longboard because, “It’s fun training for other sports.” Chance won first place in the 12-17 age group winning $50.
Johnny Herliky, 28, came out to the competition riding a short board. By the end of the day he was riding different models of longboards down the road from Alpine Meadows. But skateboards weren’t the reason Johnny showed up to the event.
“I’m not here for the contest I came to give to a good foundation (Tahoe Adaptive Ski School). That’s why I entered,” Herliky said.
When it was all said and done winners were picked for each age group. In the 18 and up age group Dane Leonard walked away with first place getting the fastest times in both events, Chris Knolls took second and Johnny Herliky placed third.
The competition proved to be the definition of grass roots. Friends of Buckley’s came out to show their support and lend their services. Jonathan Chapin of We Ain’t Saints Karaoke and Music came out to provide the skaters with some background noise. The Thunder Ridge Cafe served food and offered free beverages to the group of longboarders riding down to the bottom of Alpine Meadows at the end of the day.
The competition started a little late and wrapped up past 4 p.m. But the moment the competition was over boarder’s rode down to the bottom of Alpine Meadows in groups. The scene looked like something out of an old Z-Town movie as packs of longboarders carved down the road.
At the Thunder Ridge Cafe riders compared battle wounds and stories as they talked about the event. Plans were already underway for next years competition.
By 7 p.m. the longboarders were done making laps from the bottom and then jumping into the back of a truck to get shuttled back up to the top of Alpine Meadows. Everyone called it a day, except for Buckley. He took one last pull up to the top of the parking lot, and headed down to his apartment on his longboard.
“I just need some time to make some big turns by myself,” Buckley said.
“It was great to have a group of friends having a fun time while raising money for a good cause,” he added.
For one day it seems longboarders had their day of glory, and from the talk following the event, it will surly not be their last.
This was the first event Buckley put on, but he plans to ride his longboard around Lake Tahoe to raise money for breast cancer this fall. Buckley has called the event Boarding for Breast Cancer and aims to do it in late September. For those interested in donating money, call Tahoe Longboards at 583-0877 or visit http://www.tahoelongboards.com.
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