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Skateboarding in its roots

Photo by Adam Lapierre

World champion Jason Mitchell shows his Radikal slalom board on the downtown Hood River course Sunday afternoon.

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

July 13, 2005

"This is skateboarding in its roots… it's sidewalk surfing,” said reigning World Slalom Skateboarding Champion Jason Mitchell. “We're doing this for the love of skating and camaraderie, not for the money.”

Mitchell and about 45 other skaters from around the U.S. and Canada were in Hood River over the weekend for the 2005 West Coast Skateboarding Championships. The two-day event brought skaters to the scenic Twin Tunnels Historic Highway and to Columbia Street, in front of Full Sail Brewery. Skaters braved road-rash, charged the streets, and hurled themselves downhill for thrills, bragging rights, series points, and, don't forget, big money.

First place finishers walked away with a cool $100.

On Saturday, the Giant Slalom (GS) was held on the Mosier side of the Twin tunnels Historic Highway. The half-mile course consisted of about 95 cones, which the racers negotiated through at high speeds. Last year's winner, Kenny Mollica, posted a winning time of 76.223 seconds. This year Mitchell won the GS race.

On Sunday, the competition moved downtown, for slalom action. Racers started two at a time from an elevated ramp at the intersection of Columbia and Seventh Streets, ripping through a dual tight slalom format course with 50 to 60 cones, set from about five-and-a-half to eight feet apart. The course had several different sections, consisting of straight cones, offsets and step-overs. Scoring was fastest time wins, with half-second increments added to each cone knocked over.

“This is a challenging course,” Mitchell said. “It's really fun and it's just beautiful. We're all just here to do the best we can and enjoy the sport together. Skateboarding is a great sport that really opens doors. This kind of racing is making a comeback. This is the fourth year of solid racing in a row. Some big races have decent prize money but we're doing it for the love of skate, not for the cash.”

“Hood River's race has become one of the favorites for many of the world-class competitors,” local racer and organizer Brian Carlstrom commented. “I've heard of racers coming out of retirement when they heard Hood River was on the circuit.”

As of press time results were not available but more on the West Coast Skateboarding Championships can be found at: www.ncdsa.com

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