As long as I’ve been bombing hills and going to events the main form of competition has been classic downhill racing. It’s only in the last couple of years that slide jams, slope style, and boardercross have started to attract more attention and bigger prizes. As I write this, two of my teammates and good friends Tyler Howell and Brandon Tissen are in Australia racing boardercross, having a rad time, and winning a good amount of cash at each event. Even with rad events like Giant’s Head, the San Pedro Shred, or Cathlamet (events with a mix of different kinds of downhill skateboarding), it’s the good-old leather and full face type races that still attract the most sponsors, the highest paid riders, and some of the most coverage.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m stoked to rage down a hill with my homies and see who gets to the bottom first, but when it comes to putting on a bulky leather suit and a full face helmet, 9 times out of 10, you can pretty much count me out. That said, in no way do I intend to discredit the current form of downhill racing. Contrarily, I have a huge respect for my race homies like Byron, James and many other rippers. All’s I’m saying is that I think it would be super rad to push the limits farther and into new types of downhill racing.
Ever since I started skating standup-slide only on a lot of my hometown runs in Berkeley and Oakland, I’ve thought about throwing a strictly “standup only” downhill race. The idea is that any contact to the ground—foot, hand, or otherwise—would result in disqualification. No need for leather suits or aero lids, just a helmet and some gloves, this to me also makes racing more accessible to people without a bunch of equipment. I can’t stop thinking about how gnarly the finals in one of these races would be in person—four guys entering a chunky, 180 degree, right-hand turn, and having to bust standup slides right next to each other! Heavy shit!!!
I speak as though I’m brainstorming of course, and to all the traditional downhillers, please don’t get your panties bunched. Again, these are just some ideas I’ve been thinking about lately. But who knows, maybe if I can get a couple of my friends and sponsors behind something like this—shit, I know Wheelbase is down for the cause—then you might end up seeing some standup-only races on a hill near you sooner than later.
GENERAL DISCLIAMER: The statements, comments, and opinions expressed by Liam Morgan through Notes of a Greasy Young Man are those of “Mr. Greasy” himself, who is solely responsible for them, and they do not necessarily represent the views of Wheelbase LLC. Questions or comments regarding any information listed in this particular column can be addressed by contacting aliens, or channeling the spirit of Isaac Hayes.