Greetings fellow longboarders!
Welcome to 2011 and another year of exciting things happening here with ASRA.
Looking back over the past year there has been a tremendous growth in this sport we all love and do - longboarding. When I first moved to Australia nearly eight years ago you would rarely see anyone with a longboard. Nowadays they are everywhere. I've skated my local haunt in Manly for the past three years without seeing a single other person there skating. The other day there were six dudes there cruising around and catching bush barrels - just another indicator of the growth our sport is experiencing.
A really positive development we are seeing is that all aspects of skating are being pursued under this banner of longboarding. Everything from hardcore downhill, freeriding, sliding, soulcarving, slalom racing, long-distance skating to that simplest of skating joys, just cruising down the sidewalk. We are extending to all types of terrain - mountain roads, local roads, highways (the Adelaide boys specialise in this!), bike paths, ditches, you name it. If there's a rideable surface to be found, we're there. It's exciting for an old-timer like to me to sit back and see all this develop all over the country. And I say old-timer because there is a whole new generation of young guys and gals who are out there ripping and doing stuff I never imagined possible a few years ago.
On the downhill front, the year kicked off in fine form with MotH III, which is rapidly gaining legendary status. It is a terrific venue that is friendly enough for beginners yet provides enough thrills and spills for the veterans to have fun as well. As we all know, Ben Hay continued his winning form, shoring up an early lead in the rankings.
Speaking of rankings, most of you probably noticed we launched the ASRA Rankings for downhill races. This is a perpetual rankings, meaning that going forward it is intended to capture the last 12 months of results on an ongoing basis. The rankings are an incentive for people to organise events and for competitors to travel to races. It already seems to be working, with lots of interstate travelers in attendance at MotH and people already planning to go to events hungry for points. Those who were at MotH already have a ranking. If you weren't there, get an event up and running in your neighbourhood and you'll get points!
Next on the calendar is a small race at Kongwak, Melbourne, followed by Bomb the Snowies, which should be a great deal of fun. RiffRaff has been working hard to put on a quality event, and I can't wait to get down there. If you haven't signed up yet, do it!
In terms of what we are up to in ASRA, we have some exciting news. We are proud to announce we have just invested in a very significant piece of infrastructure - a superduper Tag Heuer timing system. This is the same equipment the IGSA uses, and it means we now have the ability to provide events with proper and reliable timing services. It also means we can offer cool features such as split timing and create speed traps to see how fast people are riding. Most importantly, it means we now avoid having to lug hundreds and hundreds of meters of cable around to every event we go to!
Of course, we continue to be able to provide public liability insurance to event organisers. Please contact any of us here at ASRA for information on this. The pace of events taking place is increasing, and it's great to see people across the country putting stuff on for their local rider community.
I know 2011 is going to be a huge year for longboarding and look forward to being part of it.
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