Bombing hills is fun, racing your friends down hills is super fun too; doing both on a racetrack that skaters, cars, motorcycles, and bicycles have been rolling on since 1957 (skateboards since 1980) is extremely, super, and doubly badass!
Our friend Conner Welles and the dudes over at NHS revived the Laguna Seca race back in 2012 by inviting the world’s best downhill skateboarders to ride the legendary course near beautiful Montery, California. The idea was simple: have some fun on skateboards and pay homage to one of the OG courses and downhill skateboarding eras that started it all. Thumbs way up!
This year, Connor, Kyle Wester, and the NHS boys decided to spice things up a bit by making Laguna Seca a Spec Race—further tribute to the old school downhillers and their equipment. Also, we’re fairly certain that it was also just a fun excuse to cut some wood and make unique downhill boards with friends. Again, thumbs up!
The specs for boards were as follows: “Your board must not exceed a maximum length of 30″, (nose to tail) and your trucks must be standard kingpin and cast, NO precisions. No restrictions on wheels—anything goes.”
Laguna Seca is something else! Having to ride 30 inch boards with standard Indys brings back the racing history, and on a legendary track— that doesn’t happen everyday! -Hayden Conroy
I drove up to the raceway a 4AM from Long Beach, CA, and met up with my homies Andrew Mercado and Scooter at a camp site perched just above the fast corner where the race was being held. We arrived just in time to catch the first run of the day (check our Instagram account for that pic: Wheelbasemag). All the riders were looking fast, but some were a little sketchy on the first couple of runs. 2012’s top speed was 47mph and acheived by Graham Buska of Rayne. As I watched the riders speed down in packs, those first couple of runs, I couldn’t help but wonder if the spec boards could get going as fast as they did in 2012? Who knows—I never heard a top speed for this year? Regardless, these dudes were bookin it and cooking’ it!
That said, once all the racers had a few practice runs under their belts the race commenced and ran it’s course fairly quickly. I rode to the top a couple times in the U haul with the riders and tried my best to capture some rad shots. But before I could really settle in and feel comfortable with my sweet dutch-angles, oh-so-killer depth-of-field shots, and other camera-guy nerdiness; the race was over and I caught the ear-buzzing that Byron Essert was the winner.
Your board must not exceed a maximum length of 30″, (nose to tail) and your trucks must be standard kingpin and cast, NO precisions. No restrictions on wheels—anything goes. -Connor Welles
Spec racing is where its at! Little board, standard trucks, and a lot of fun. Stoked to see all the OG dudes out skating—never thought I would take a run with Mike Goldman! -Kyle Wester
I soon made my way down to the bottom of the hill and found out that, in fact, Byron had won it, and also, that birthday boy, Jonny Miller, had won the Master’s division. Those two were real stoked, the other racers were stoked too, and the epic scenery with warm and sunny weather was the perfect backdrop for a radical race day. All in all, the 2014 Laguna Seca Invitaional was a hoot and hollerable downhill skateboarding event. I really like the spec race idea and would like to see more of it–sanctioned or not. It’s always fun to mix things up now and again. Anyway, Thanks to all who came out and put on a rad show. See you all again real soon. Stay shreddy!
1. Byron Essert
2. Kyle Wester
3. Max Capps
4. Graham Buska
1. Jonny Miller
2. Geoff Treadwell
3. Rick Kludy
4. Marty Radan
Peep our coverage of the race back in 2012: