Sunday, March 11, 2007

Slalom Skateboard Racing is Fun

Slalom skateboarding is not exactly a common sport, most people have never even heard of it. It is hard to find safe locations to skate since you have to set up cones and use one lane of a road. The road has to be smooth, steep and have a good run out, so you can stop safely without the danger of getting hit by a car or crashing at high speeds. You have to know how to stop by foot braking or sliding stopping which ruins your wheels and even worse your body if not done correctly. In addition it takes special skateboard equipment. You don’t use your typical wood kicktail skateboard to race. You need a board that is designed specifically for the sport. I recommend having a quiver of boards for specific each different kind of slalom course that is set at slalom races. Some races have a tight course, which requires a shorter quick response board, a giant slalom for faster courses with wide offsets and the hybrid course that is in between. Slalom racing is very challenging and exciting to watch as well as do. For the tight course I use a shorter RoeRacing carbon fiber board that is stiff and has a great response when turning quickly through the course that has cones closer together. I use Radikal trucks that have a specific front and rear truck. The front truck is super responsive and turns quickly and rear truck tracks so you are able to go around cones quickly. Wheels are an important factor depending upon the road surface incline of the hill, slalom course and temperature of the pavement. In the morning you maybe running a soft wheel since it is colder out and you get less traction, by the afternoon if the road warms up you may change to a harder wheel. My favorite wheels of choice are Chris Chaput's Retro wheels which come in different wheel sizes (heights) and durometers (hardnesses). At a competition you will see two racecourses that are the same on each side of the road with two start ramps. And yes besides making the course and stopping the start can make or break a race. You have to time yourself perfectly so you get out of the gate on time. Going early can cost you time penalties, going late can cost you the race.

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