OCEANSIDE — The best in sanctioned slalom skateboarding took off down Loretta Street in head-to-head and solo races July 23 and July 24. The closed street, with a steep section and long run out, made it an ideal location for world-class competition and race speeds reaching 30 mph.
Tight slalom, hybrid slalom and giant slalom courses were laid out for competitors to race during the event. Race categories included juniors under age 17, masters over age 45, women and two open divisions based on skill level.
The object of the sport is to get through the set course as fast as possible without hitting a cone. Time penalties are added to racers’ scores for each cone hit.
“We try to make it through that course as quickly as we can hitting as few cones as possible,” Lynn Kramer, member of La Costa Boys Racing club and eight time world slalom skateboarding champion, said.
Equipment is key in having an edge on the competition. A short longboard style skateboard with big wheels and ceramic bearings is used.
“My first slalom board was a cut down GNS fiber flex,” Kramer said. “Equipment is super specialized. A lot of racers tend to be engineering types. We cut our wheels and make our own boards with aircraft materials.”
The two-day competition was hosted by La Costa Boys Racing club, which began team racing in the 1970s.
“We started racing slalom in La Costa subdivisions that were created, but where the houses were never built,” Kramer said.
Team members compete well past the age of 40 and new members as young as 7 continue to join the club. Kramer said an up-and-comer to watch is 7-year-old Asia Brickner.
“He says he’s going to beat me by the time he’s 12,” Kramer said.
International Slalom Skateboarding Association clubs across the United States host one race annually during the March to September race season. The sport is also practiced in Europe where racers compete on flat courses.
“The races are all over the U.S.,” said Pat Brickner, racer, event sponsor and owner of Grind Skate Shop. “There are outlaw and sanctioned races. It’s awesome. Come out, learn how to do it and have some fun.”