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Updated: May 9, 2014 19:23 IST

Get, set, skate!

Nivedita Ganguly
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The growing tribe of skateboarders and longboarders: A longboarder cruising downhill in Visakhapatnam.
Special Arrangement The growing tribe of skateboarders and longboarders: A longboarder cruising downhill in Visakhapatnam.

Vizag gears up to host the first national level longboarding competition

Every time they pass a street, it turns into a thrilling performance stage. Twisting, turning, effortlessly gliding with some incredible moves, nothing can stop these enthusiastic skateboarders and longboarders from doing what they love best.

Bringing the exciting action-packed sport of skateboarding to Vizag, a team of youngsters from Vizag have come together to host the city’s first skateboarding event on May 24 and 25.

Organised by Vizag Surf Spirit in collaboration with Mumbai-based Longboard Crew India and Surfing Yogis of Odisha, the event tagged ‘Skateboarding for a cause’ will see a skateboarding workshop and a national level downhill longboarding competition, claimed to be the first one in the country.

On the first day, the event will be held at RK Beach opposite YMCA where a mini skate ramp will be placed for demo skateboarding performances and a workshop will be hosted by skateboarders and longboarders from different cities. “This event is a first of its kind where more than 25 participants from different cities will display their passion for the sport,” says Hari Babu of Vizag Surf Spirit, the group that claims to be the first in Vizag to introduce this extreme sport.

The three-feet-high mini skate ramp is being made as per standard international dimensions. The organisers plan to use it as a training ground for skateboaders and tie-up with schools in Vizag to conduct short workshops.

Day two promises to be full of thrill and excitement wherein longboarders will cruise down the hill from the IT Park during the national level downhill race.

Skateboarding Vs Longboarding

The culture of skateboarding originated in California, somewhere in the 1950s, and later gained momentum in other parts of the world. Longboarding is a form of skateboarding performed with a longer variant of a skateboard. While a skateboarder performs tricks on the ramp, longboards are longer and have bigger wheels which make it more like an option of transport.

“When you are longboarding the biggest high is that you feel like you are on your own. Especially on downhill when you pick up speed it feels like you are going with the forces of nature. Downhill thrills can be amazingly addictive. While in skateboarding, each time you practice a new trick, you set up your own next goal,” says Hari, who has been practicing the sport since 2009.

The team of Vizag Surf Spirit feel that longboarding can also be an eco-friendly alternative of transport especially for short distances and it is this idea that they want to popularise in Vizag. But it’s the fun and thrill of coming down a hill with zipping speed that has made longboarding increasingly popular in many cities in India, according to Nikhil Bhosale of Mumbai’s Longboard Crew India. Nikhil’s 15-member team also includes three girls.

The longboards itself are a small canvas of creative artwork. “But the dimensions and designs have to be aerodynamically perfect and the wood has to have a bounce and strength to hold the weight of a person,” says Nikhil Bhosale of Longboard Crew India. The 30-year-old quit a job with a leading skateboarding brand to start his own firm to promote longboarding in Mumbai five months ago. He has recently set up a longboard production workshop called Nightrain which manufactures handcrafted longboards made of maple wood. “We get the maximum orders from Northeast. But now cities like Vizag and Bangalore are also warming up to the culture of longboarding and we have got orders from groups there,” he adds. The Longboard Crew India team will also participate in the two-day event in the city later this month .

One challenge as of now is that Vizag does not have a skate ramp. To redress this, The team of Vizag Surf plans to approach VUDA to set up a permanent ramp in a place like VUDA Park. “Our goal is to make Vizag a hub of skateboarding and longboarding activities,” Hari says.

Adventure lovers can check out Vizag Surf Spirit’s Facebook page to know more about the event. The event starts at 4 p.m. on May 24 opposite YMCA at the Beach Road.

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