Downhill Disco 2014 part 1
What started out as a slide jam on the most mediocre of slalom hills has become the forefront of obstacle informed downhill racing, but not overnight. This is the 5th annual Muirskate Downhill Disco, and in that time many other events have popped up with more and more people becoming disillusioned with the effort it takes to compete in downhill longboard races.
The costs of racing are huge - leathers, full face helmet, fresh wheels, gas money and time to practice their craft, and only for a few minutes at a time before the long drive back up the hill; of course, all this ambition is highly predicated upon having local hills to rally in the first place. Boardercross and freeriding, however require only a semi-steep patch of asphalt and some homemade features, or maybe a flowy skatepark (which tend to be easier to get to than downhill runs, these days), making it much more accessible to the wallet of the industry: groms.
The average downhill race turns out 150-250 racers, requiring four 26’ Uhauls to tirelessly climb and descend the hill all day to make sure everyone gets their runs in. The race organization its self tends to be smooth, as most organizers are racers themselves, but communication to the spectators tends to be poor, so nobody knows what’s going on and whether these are the semi’s or if we’re still in repechage.
At the Disco, it doesn’t really matter. With 500+ skateboarders on the hill and at least as many in attendance spectating, there’s always going to be cool shit to watch, regardless of what competition may or may not be happening at that moment. Like it or not, this is the future of downhill skateboarding. The features are getting better, bigger and more safe, and most of these skaters are well beyond the learning curve. For every skater that wants to just go fast and do slides - yes. Do that; however freeriding is not a spectator sport, and neither is Downhill Racing, under the current paradigm. But if you have been scratching your head for about a decade, wondering when “street skating” and “longboarding” were going to come back together as simply “skateboarding”, it happened at the Downhill Disco.