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.

Don Drumm Studios


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

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Copyright © 2014 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