The Coast News Group
Keli Benko, of San Francisco, and Judi Oyama, of Santa Cruz, near the finish line. Photo by Promise Yee

Skateboarders go slalom at event

OCEANSIDE — Men and women took to the steep pitch 1,000-foot racecourse on North Loretta Street for the U.S. Open Slalom Skateboard Race on July 14 and July 15. 

Slalom competition is about speed and accuracy. Racers must weave through a tight pattern of cones at top speeds.

“It’s who can get to bottom of the course the fastest and cleanest,” Lynn Kramer, race organizer and nine-time Women’s World Champion of Slalom Skateboarding, said. “There is an automatic timer on the course. For each cone you hit there is a penalty time added to your time.”

Skateboarders raced three competitive courses.

In the tight slalom cones are spaced 5.5 to 7 feet apart with race speeds reaching 25 mph. The tight slalom demands the most discipline and accuracy from racers.

“You have to practice on a regular basis to do well in it,” Kramer said.

For the hybrid slalom, cones are spread 7 to 15 feet apart with race speeds of 25 mph.

In the giant slalom, cones are spaced 15 to 30 feet apart with race speeds increasing to 40 mph.

“A lot of bravery is involved,” Kramer said.

On July 14, racers competed head to head in dual lane slalom races. Back-to-back races gave competitors minutes to hike back up to the top of the course and face their next opponent.

“I did OK,” Judi Oyama, a 52-year-old skateboarding legend from Santa Cruz, said. “I haven’t been training as much. Third or fourth is OK with me. I came out to have fun.”

On July 15, racers competed against the clock in single-lane slalom races.

Over the two-day event, 40 competitors from ages 18 to 45 and older masters competed.

There were also junior races for kids ages 12 to 17 on a modified shorter course.

“We had a great turnout,” Kramer said. “There were celebrity skateboarders in attendance and celebrity skateboard manufactures.”

La Costa Boys Racing sponsored the event. The club was established in the 1970s with about 20 members. Kramer and Henry Hester, eight-time World Champion of Slalom Skateboarding and race emcee, are original members of the club. Chris Yandall, 1975 Word Champion and competitor in the masters division July 14, is also an original member.

“It’s a small group,” Kramer said. “You never get kicked out. You’re always a La Costa Boy.”

The event awarded a total prize purse of $2,000. Cash prizes were given to the A division, masters’ division and women’s division winners. Complete race results are posted at