Riley Sibbet longboards down a hill in Balmoral Heights east of Red Deer on Sunday. Local enthusiasts of the burgeoning sport prefer the hills outside of Red Deer for their rides

Longboarding no longer niche pursuit

The long and short of longboarding is that it need not be any more dangerous than any other athletic pursuit.

The long and short of longboarding is that it need not be any more dangerous than any other athletic pursuit. But it certainly is faster than a lot of them.

Longboards, like skateboards, were likely first created by surfers bummed out on waveless days in mid-20th century America. Whereas its shorter cousin rose to prominence with youth in the 90s and now every reasonably-sized community has a skate park or two, longboarding has long been a much more niche pursuit.

That is changing.

Longboards have become a preferred method of transportation for masses of youths; many may just use their one-to-1.5 metre long boards to get around town.

Others, like Riley Sibbet, take to the hills inside or outside of Red Deer where they can reach the posted speed limits in a hurry.

“We wait for a good gap in cars and we usually go about the same speed as them,” said Sibbet, 18, of when he and fellow riders head down the hill near Rotary Recreation Park.

Last week, it was a ride down a municipal road in Sylvan Lake that spelled trouble for a group of riders. After hitting some gravel at high speed, two 22 year olds wiped out, with one hitting his head on the pavement. He was not wearing a helmet, and ended up in the intensive care unit at a Calgary hospital.

Sylvan Lake RCMP had no update on the man’s condition over the weekend, which was last listed as stable.

That accident, said Riley Stoiberg at Allrose Skateboards & Snowboards in Red Deer, has spurred a number of boarders to come into the store over the last week to buy helmets.

Sibbet said all the people he rides with wear helmets when boarding, save for perhaps the odd short trip to the store. As it is for motorbikers, this time of year when melting snow leaves gravel and other detritus on roads can be particularly dangerous.

“We just have to be cautious and make sure we look at the hill before we go to it, and if we see gravel to stop,” said Sibbet.

Mom Sandra, who has come to love watching the sport, said she realizes it can be a dangerous pursuit, but so can anything.

“You still want them to have fun and push the edge a little bit,” she said.

Calum Anderson with the Allrose skate shop said more and more, parents are coming in to get longboards for their kids. Whereas doing tricks on a skateboard is more technically challenging, with longboarding a person can just push around and work one’s way up to hills. A few years ago, the store sold a dozen boards; this year it is ordering in 10 times that many.

“It’s like having a bicycle for kids now,” said Anderson.

Riding on city roads is illegal in hilly West Vancouver, but most municipalities do not have formal regulations for longboard use. In Red Deer, most sidewalks can be used by boarders, but in some areas they would have to ride on the street.

Sibbet will travel to races in B.C. this summer, where speed is the name of the game. There is an international circuit for riders with races on different continents, with Sibbet hoping his talents will one day earn him some stamps in his passport.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month