For longboard racers, the Attack of Danger Bay is mecca.
The race was the first anywhere in the world, beginning 13 years ago and organized by Pender Harbour’s Bricin Lyons. Since that time the sport has spread across Canada and the United States to Mexico, all over Europe and South America. There are two international longboard racing associations, a world championship and a world cup.
And it all started here.
Lyons and his fellow school mates became the infamous Team Green: Sandy Charlton, Mike Roosen, Rylan English and Scott Smith. They are literally known around the world for their green hair and no-holds-barred style. Now that they have grown up and out, Team Irene has become the local representative.
Attack of Danger Bay used to feature untrained, eager racers bombing the course in make-shift gear on scrounged boards, crashing more often than reaching the finish line.
Times have changed. Riders sport custom made full body leathers and safety helmets, custom or off the rack boards, racing wheels and trucks from a dozen different North American manufacturers, all selected by each for their feel. And these riders have trained. The result is an incredible day of races by super groms and groms (kids aged 12 to 16 and classed by size), a women’s class, an open class and a master class for over 30s.
This year, the open was set to be a contest between 2013 world champion Adam Persson of Sweden, Jackson Schapiera of Australia and Kevin Reimer of the U.S.
Reimer took many firsts on the World Cup circuit in the past two years. He also won Danger Bay in ‘08, ‘11 and ‘13.
“My feelings about a fourth win [at Danger Bay] are those of nervousness and excitement,” said Reimer before last Sunday’s competition. “It’s always a huge deal to win Danger Bay, and doing so more than once is super challenging. I’ve been putting in lots of time training this year, so I hope that it pays off on the track.”
Team Green Member Smith also came to win. He has won the world championship and the World Cup, but the home podium has eluded him so far.
The course is on local roads closed for the day by the good graces of the neighbourhood. Lyons visits every homeowner on the course every year, making sure they are happy. To prevent vehicles from choking the area, school buses run all day between Madeira Park and the course. Bales of hay line the corners three deep and high for safety, and ambulances are on site. Lyons remains as excited about organizing Danger Bay as he was 13 years ago.
“My longboard has taken me all over the world and this is my time to give back to my home town,” he said.
Sunday’s races proved to be some of the best and most competitive yet.
In super groms, Charlie McMillan was first, followed by Nick Hurley in second and Team Irene’s Warner Endert in third. In groms, Clayton Ronanuk was first, Shaun Ketchum was second, and Kenan McMillan was third, with Team Irene’s Cypher Clerx fourth. In women’s, Elena Corrigall of Calgary was first, Victoria Waddington of Kelowna was second, and Katie Neilson of Vancouver in third. In masters, Landyachtz owner Tom Estrand was first, Abec 11 owner Chris Chaput of California came in second, and Jody Wilcox of Kimberley was third. And in the open division, Reimer pulled off a four-peat, with Persson in second and Schapiera in third.
© Coast Reporter