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Niche sport of the day - slalom skateboarding

By driptray in Culture
Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 08:04:51 PM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

Never heard of slalom skateboarding? That's not surprising - despite skateboarding being one of the most popular participation sports in the US, slalom skateboarding is almost unknown, even within the skateboarding world. Yet it has a rich history, with roots in the 60s, and a heyday in the 70s when slalom skating was as mainstream as today's kickflips and railslides.

Read on for a brief introduction to a sport that for a couple of decades appeared dead, but was then resuscitated via the internet, and may now be poised on the verge of a major comeback.


What is slalom skateboarding?

The concept of slalom skateboarding is simple. Each skater takes it in turns to skate through a slalom course by turning around the gates (usually small plastic cones). The skater with the fastest time wins.

So what's exciting about that?

The secret of slalom skateboarding is a technique called pumping. Put simply, pumping allows the skater to accelerate with every turn. Unlike ski or snowboard racing, a slalom skateboarder doesn't have to rely solely on gravity to create speed - you can even pump your board up a shallow hill! If a race course is set on perfectly flat ground it is typical to see racers accelerating as they progress through the course, leaving it much faster than they entered it.

Pumping is almost a forgotten skill in the skateboarding world. It's not easy to master, but everybody who learns it becomes hooked on the magical feeling of accelerating through a turn.

What about the internet?

At the end of the 20th century, slalom's glory days of the 70s had been forgotten by almost everybody but the original participants. But those participants now had internet access, and had begun to re-establish communication with each other on skateboarding forums.

And so a slalom scene quickly re-emerged, with a healthy race schedule throughout the US and Europe, and old and new manufacturers quickly moving in to take advantage of the renewed demand for specialty slalom equipment. The top US pros travel throughout the country to go to each race, and often travel to Europe for the big European races. There is also an established race scene in Japan, and an emerging scene in Australia.

Who's the fastest racer in the world?

Check the world rankings!

Can I use any skateboard?

No, not really. The main differences from a regular shortboard are the wheels - slalom wheels are tall, wide, and soft. The extra height and weight gives them greater roll-speed, and the softness gives them the grip needed for hard turns. If you try and slalom on the small, hard wheels of a regular shortboard you'll slide out as soon as you pick up any speed.

As in any form of racing, slalomers constantly strive to get a competitive edge on their rivals by using high-tech equipment. Precision-machined titanium trucks and superlight carbon-wrapped foam-core boards are standard equipment amongst the top racers.

How fast do you go?

It depends. Speeds will usually be about 20 km/h on a flat course, but may go as high as 30 km/h. On a hill you're more likely to be travelling at about 30 km/h, but can go as high as 60 km/h for a Super-G course.

Is it dangerous?

Not particularly. Most racers wear knee and elbow pads, wrist-guards, and helmets, thus minimizing the most common form of injury - road rash. Although there are no reliable injury statistics it would seem that slalom skateboarding is no more dangerous than sports like skiing, snowboarding, and soccer/football.

What does slalom skateboarding look like?

Check out some videos!

Where can I find out more?

Forums:

Web sites:

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Poll
Slalom skateboarding?
o Sounds like fun! 42%
o Sounds lame! 12%
o I hate sport/physical exertion 18%
o I really don't care 27%

Votes: 33
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o slalom course
o small plastic cones
o pumping
o world rankings
o videos
o Northern California Downhill Skateboarding Association
o Internatio nal Slalom Skateboard Association
o Silverfish Longboarding
o Slalom!
o Grass Roots Slalom
o Sk8 San Jose Slalom
o Also by driptray


Display: Sort:
Niche sport of the day - slalom skateboarding | 43 comments (27 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Please re-post at husi (1.75 / 4) (#5)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 01:56:05 PM EST

thye love this kind of thing over there: informative, link-heavy and boring.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

stop thinking inside the bizzox (none / 1) (#11)
by Delirium on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 03:43:14 AM EST

At kuro5hin dot org, we are jacks of all trades.

[ Parent ]
We are? Seriously? (none / 1) (#17)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 09:13:05 AM EST

Have you posted here lately?

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Skiiers and snowboarders... (none / 1) (#7)
by The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy on Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 05:38:23 PM EST

... don't rely solely on gravity to create speed. The flexing of the ski/snowboard creates speed coming out of the turn.

___
I'm a pompous windbag, I take myself far too seriously, and I single-handedly messed up K5 by causing the fiction section to be created. --localroger

I also race snowboards... (none / 0) (#8)
by driptray on Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 07:16:29 PM EST

...and I don't think the flex of the snowboard allows you to create speed. It stores some energy throughout the turn that you can then get back at the end of the turn, but it's not adding anything.

I've never seen a skier or snowboarder propel themselves along the flat simply by turning.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

The explanation of what this is (none / 0) (#9)
by The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy on Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 07:48:41 PM EST

... and how it works sucks, but you don't get something for nothing. You're not just "simply turning" you start off with speed, and you're putting energy into it. You can propel yourself across flat ground on skis by skating, or by moving your skis in a <><><><> motion, or any number of ways.

___
I'm a pompous windbag, I take myself far too seriously, and I single-handedly messed up K5 by causing the fiction section to be created. --localroger

[ Parent ]
Not simply turning (none / 0) (#12)
by driptray on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 06:03:34 AM EST

Of course you have to put energy in to propel yourself on a skateboard. The point is that it can be done without the wheels leaving the ground or your feet touching the ground.

There is no equivalent in skiing or snowboarding, without lifting your skis off the snow.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

I confirm (none / 0) (#41)
by bluebird on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 11:28:34 AM EST

To make it clear because it is not obvious for people who have never seen it, you can even go upwards.

1. you start still
2. you put your two feet on the board
3. the feet never leave the board
4. you can gain some speed, enough to go upwards

you can not do that with snowboarding, or at least I have never seen it.


[ Parent ]

I can (none / 0) (#28)
by dimaq on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 03:27:22 AM EST

propel myself by "turning" the snowboard. don't get very fast though - about walking speed when pumping as hard as my frail body allows.

[ Parent ]
Did anyone ever play Sk8 or die on the NES (none / 1) (#16)
by lonelyhobo on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 08:49:25 AM EST

they had some sort of downhill slalom if I remember right

The only Real skate or die was for the C64. $ (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by ksandstr on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 09:39:05 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Arcade version left Crap64 for Dead! (none / 0) (#25)
by gruntydatsun on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 10:21:27 PM EST

:)
GRUNTY DATSUN ============== "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." --George Washington
[ Parent ]
True, but arcade means coins (none / 0) (#30)
by ksandstr on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 04:29:20 AM EST

Which were better spent on, oh I don't know, those crappy yet cheap QuickShot II joysticks. I must have had several boxes' worth of parts for them before some overzealous family member tossed the lot out.

Fin.
[ Parent ]
Try SK8 or Die on MAME (none / 0) (#36)
by gruntydatsun on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:33:59 PM EST

LOL, back in the day, very true. The C64 was a big deal at the time with that awesome 16 colour display.

Have you tried SOD on MAME?
GRUNTY DATSUN ============== "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." --George Washington
[ Parent ]
WIPO: (1.00 / 3) (#20)
by bitch dog on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 12:31:05 PM EST

I could never afford such a ridiculously expensive "sport" and therefore I resent you

-1, you probably pronounced 'niche' wrong [nt]. (1.42 / 7) (#22)
by daveybaby on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 12:35:21 PM EST



Heh... I thought he said... (2.00 / 5) (#23)
by israfil on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 01:44:51 PM EST

"Shalom Skateboarding"
i. - this sig provided by /dev/arandom and an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards.
Hmm,skateboarders (1.00 / 2) (#24)
by Quentin C Farquhar on Wed Sep 14, 2005 at 07:47:36 PM EST

These skateboard-people are the sort who were bullied at school. They have poor dress sense, limited social skills and they know they stand little chance of making much of a headway in the world, so they want it changed.

SkateBOREding (2.00 / 4) (#32)
by AnonymizedAgain on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 05:03:50 PM EST

JUST KIDDING! +1fp

hehehe (none / 0) (#35)
by D Jade on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 08:05:39 PM EST

I liked how you put the "just kidding" in there to cover your ass...

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Sounds a bit like MY sport. (3.00 / 8) (#34)
by A Bore on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 06:37:23 PM EST

SOFA BOARDING.

I arrange to have a 3-piece delivered halfway up a slope and then discard the cushions. I strap the sofa onto each foot using high technology 3-dinitrous-polyester stretchy ties then shift my weight a bit to get the fucker moving.

By leaning into the turn, I can get my settee to move even faster because of PHYSICS. Best of all, when I reach the bottom, I have semi-comfy seat to wait on until my next delivery is set upslope, and if it's a futon, I even have a BED to sleep in.

Professionals go for titanium or aluminium reinforced aluminium frames, and some of the tricks you can do with these babies - if you've never seen a overweight badly sprung beige monstrosity land with a sickening crunch on some erstwile boarders spine whilst he attempts a huey...man, you haven't LIVED!

We should swap notes.

Sigged $ (none / 0) (#39)
by LilDebbies Wife on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:29:13 PM EST



Things would be much easier to say up to the microphone like a boss DJ.
[ Parent ]
I'm not really very easily amused... (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous #n on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 09:08:57 PM EST

...but this had me laughing in a lovely and uproarious kind of way-the kind of laughter that cynical types stop experiencing when their around age eleven. Thanks.

[ Parent ]
Skateboard kids (1.66 / 6) (#37)
by Friedrich Dionysus on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:26:00 PM EST

One thing skateboard kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little skateboard kid to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.

Bah! (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by gavri on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:38:58 AM EST

Jack Handey.

--
Blog Of A Socially Well Adjusted Human Being

[ Parent ]
Pumping a skateboard uphill (none / 0) (#40)
by driptray on Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 03:39:20 AM EST

In the story I mentioned that it was possible to pump a skateboard up hill. Here's a video of a guy doing exactly that.

He's going reasonably quickly, and although the hill doesn't look steep at first, at the end of the video you get a better idea of the pitch.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

for me, it's all about carveboarding (none / 0) (#43)
by Fuzzwah on Fri Sep 23, 2005 at 02:08:06 AM EST

http://www.fuzzyslogic.com/blerk/carveboard.jpg

More info: http://www.carveboard.com/

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris

Niche sport of the day - slalom skateboarding | 43 comments (27 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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