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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Downhill Dash

    Colin Prenger
    Colin Prenger / Daily Wildcat Raymond Robinson (left), co-founder of AZ Push longboarding club, holds his tuck behind another contestant during a downhill heat last Saturday. AZ Push is a longboarding club for those who seek high speed boarding, or those who simply want to improve their skills.

    There are hundreds of longboarders on campus. Some just ride for transportation, others seek a thrill. And 120 thrill-seekers have found their outlet by joining AZ Push, a longboarding club on campus.

    The club consists of riders of all skill levels, from the casual campus-cruiser to sponsored longboard powerhouses like Josh “Munkae” Rolf. This past weekend, Rolf took first place in Downhill Dash, a safety demonstration for downhill longboarding.

    “It’s wonderful that everyone has congregated to enjoy downhill skateboarding,” Rolf said of the race. Every one of the longboarders were equally as enthusiastic, cheering and joking the entire time.

    They had every reason to feel great, as the club has seen a surge in members, sponsorship and more funds than expected in the two semesters since its inception.

    “We planned it over the last summer, put in all the groundwork and got our best friends to skate too,” said Raymond Robinson, treasurer of AZ Push and a communication senior. Last summer, Robinson co-founded the club with friends like club president Andrew Alejandre, a linguistics junior.

    AZ Push was a response to an unofficial club that “got lazy and didn’t do their paperwork,” Robinson said. After a 130-mile longboard run through California, the friends decided to put together a legit crew.

    “Before we knew it, we had a thriving club that (now) has 120 members,” Robinson said. “We’re just having a blast. … We’ve got sponsors from all over the place, and we’ve been really hooked up.”

    That’s no exaggeration — the club really is hooked up, and it showed at Downhill Dash. With several company sponsors through Starr Skates, a local skateboard shop, there was a pile of prizes awaiting the four winners of the contest. They had brand new wheels, T-shirts, videos and bearings, to name a few items.

    And the only requirements for this club are paid dues, a board to ride on and a helmet.

    Believe it or not, longboarding is an extremely dangerous sport. In a KAMP radio interview last summer, Rolf said it isn’t rare to see a hospital-worthy injury during competitions — and even on a run-of-the-mill cruise down the road. With a helmet on, the worst most longboarders see is some really bad road rash.

    To minimize injuries at Downhill Dash, AZ Push officials stood on different parts of the course in order to warn riders of cars and other potential hazards. Each official had a walkie-talkie to communicate with people posted at the top, middle and bottom of the course. And of course, “You’re required to wear a helmet,” Robinson told riders before the event.

    As a result of their precautions, and despite riders flying down the hill at 20 to 30 mph — and sliding around at those speeds — there wasn’t a single injury the whole time.

    At the winner’s circle, Rolf took first place. His answer for what he’d do after pulling another big win seemed indicative of both his personality and that of the club’s: “I’m going to Disneyland.”

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