News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Akron Children's Hospital

Wayside Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


Rolling with Akron's gravity
First Rubber City Gravity Games brings longboarding, luge to Derby Downs
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Derby Downs helped train the longboarders, who compete this weekend on the twisty turny access road nearby
Courtesy of Ohio Gravity Series
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
The Rubber City Gravity Games are happening today at Derby Downs. It’s the first time that competitive street luging and long skateboarding are coming to Akron, and about a hundred athletes from around the world are expected to converge on the home of the Soap Box Derby. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Defying Akron's gravity

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:32)


That supersonic sound is actually a swarm of rain-slicked skateboarders at Derby Downs last spring. They came out for the first of several workshops to learn more about longboarding and luging, which are similar except for the body position. 

“Street luge you lay down. Stand-up skateboard you stand, you get in a little bit of a lower position where you’re kind of tucked forward for aerodynamics. So it’s a little different from the normal street skating that you might picture.”

That’s 2005 professional street luge champion David Dean, from Columbus. He demoed the sport during last year’s Soap Box Derby, and audiences were impressed enough that the race administrators formed an alliance, The International Downhill Racing Association, to sanction competitions at Derby Downs and seven other tracks in North America.

Bringing people to the hill
Bob Cohen is Chairman of the association, and says it’s one more way to bring people to Akron. 

“The Derby Hill, up until recently, was only used really once or twice a year. Of course, the Derby’s using it more often now for community activities. But it still, in my opinion, was an under-utilized asset. And Rick Marrolla, who’s director of city services, leaned over to me and said, ‘The mayor just wants us to use the hill to run more things down it.’ So I took his recommendation to heart, and that’s how we came up with this gravity series games.”

Whizzing down the track
Area skateboarders and snowboarders, like fifth-grader Robert Biddle from Cuyahoga Falls, are happy to whiz down the imposing hill.

“It’s fast, it’s fun and really, you don’t have to peddle… it’s not really using that much energy. So you can just go and have fun.”

Trucking
Biddle has never tried a luge or longboard, which look like longer, beefed-up variations on a skateboard. He’s at least one step ahead of skier and bicyclist Larry Bell from Peninsula. The truck driver is pushing 70.

“Everybody should try things. It makes your life a lot more interesting. I’ve scuba-dived, I’ve sky dived, I play tennis right now. It’s living your life. There’s a lot of people that I meet that are 68-years-old, and they do nothing. And I can’t do that. I want to feel things anew. And that’s why I do it. I like speed. And I’m nuts.”

Winners from this weekend’s competition in Akron will be nationally ranked through the International Gravity Sports Association, which is co-sponsoring the event.

Big turnout expected
Derby Downs is providing administrative support for the race, and the events will actually take place on the nearby, newly-paved access road, because it offers more twists and turns than the actual hill. About 5,000 people are expected to come out and see gravity defied in Akron.

A live stream of the events is available here.
Listener Comments:

PLEASE don't say that these people are defying gravity! They are USING gravity or EXPLOITING gravity but not DEFYING gravity. They are not floating in the air...


Posted by: Sally Lewis (Wadsworth) on September 22, 2012 7:09AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University