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    Hopkin Skate Blog — IGSA World Championships

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    IDF is the future, it will not be on TV, it's online

    I suppose I have been warming up for this blog post. A lot has happened since we all poured our souls online, crashed my server, and talked about IGSA World Championships and the future of our sport. I'm not going to focus on negatives here. I'm not going to talk about the past. This is about the future.  This about moving forward and the best thing for the sport of Downhill. IDF has been formed because of the need for openness and the right structure to take this sport forward and to continue to grow. From behind the scenes, I have watched this come together. What I have seen has amazed me. One morning, in the Hopshop, I saw a Skype call between 4 people, in 4 different countries on 3 different continents. Sharing, collaborating, and working together. No politics. No egos. One goal. It affirms my belief that the future of this sport resides with you the skateboarders, not a single company or person. As a group we can change the world. We can create the sport we want. It's success or failure will be determined by our resolve and our community collaboration. Few sports get the chance to redesign themselves from the ground up. We respect our past but we are not beholden to it in a way it will stifle our future. The IDF is democratic. It is run by the skaters for the skaters. It will reflect you: the skateboarder, the competitor, the event organiser, the skateboard industry. Whether you agree or disagree there is one thing that is resolute. The IDF is a structure that allows it's members to create amazing work and be part of a global community. We skate as individuals. We compete as individuals but collectively we are part of one group, one community and one journey. I like to think what we do today will effect future generations. I want to be apart of something that will amaze everyone, not just fellow competitors on top of the hill. I want to be part of something that changes the way the world sees international sporting federations. In no other time in history have a group of strangers from around the world, related only by a sport, have been so closely connected by technology. It is time to use what we have to create what we need. The first step is the launch of the new IDF website.

    There are sections that you find on every website. Frequently Asked Questions and About Us. The fun parts are designed to inspire and let you participate. These are the groups. Not all these groups are for the general public. The IDF Surf Board is for board members. Event Organisers: Is an area for IDF and aspiring IDF event organisers to collaborate and share. Club Lounge: Is a group for national associations to get IDF help and also for sporting bodies to affiliate with the IDF. Industry Corner: is for the skateboard industry to communicate with the IDF about opportunities and concerns. Rider's Garage: Gives riders a way to talk to the IDF via their riders rep. A few of these groups can be read without signing up. However, if you want to collaborate, share, build the downhill community, you need to be a member. As you can see from the badge below, I have signed up and paid for my membership. I'll see you online, because... the IDF website is now live. Visit IDF - International Downhill Federation

    It's the end of the world IGSA and do I feel fine?

    Sorry this looks like it will be a long blog post. First to Jacko words from Calgary: Such a boring day, everything took so long to happen. Things got a little bit out of hand at the end of the day when it was 4.30 pm and they haven't even started the downhill skateboarding finals. The riders were in an up-roar. Things were running so slowly for no reason. In the end the skaters took over. We rallied together and ran our own heats. I was at the top ready to walk down the track filming the finals but as nothing was happening, I was lurking at the top for a good 2 hours waiting for something to happen and watching all the skaters start to get a little anxious as to why everything was running so slowly. In the end the crew had enough, Kevin was stepping up and telling the guy on the start line to pull his shit together and start acting like the guy at the top, get the heats ready and prompt the rest of the track to get ready for racing. There were too many chiefs, not enough indians. Everyone wanted things to happen but it just slowed things down and no one was really focusing on getting things done quick. Kevin and I got our loud voices together and rallied all the skaters up in their heats and put them on the start line and then just started running the heats ourselves. They were running coloured arm bands to distinguish which rider was which (which was kind of pointless as every rider had numbers on their helmets) but there were not enough bands to go around. The general consensus was the honor system - if you did not come 3rd or higher, just go sit down. If you crashed in your heat and you're going to lose, get off the track. All the riders agreed on these terms and racing got under way. Because of the lack of arm bands I guess the IGSA wigged out and couldn't get it together. James Kelly was getting through rounds and was put down as out within the first few heats, when someone called Roger Jones was getting through. Riders were just sick of the fuck-arounds and just worked together to make sure everyone knew what heat they were in and who was in the next round. Once things got under way it all ran well like a machine, until 5.30 came along (about half way through round 2) and the chairlift was shut down for the day. DEEEERRRP. No we are back to shuttles, how fun. In the end the race got run and crew raced hard, James won the race and is now world champ, as you would have read in previous blogs, but right here I'm just describing the f around all the riders had to pay over $200 for. Here is what Kevin said on his Facebook page Hop's words: Watching the video from Australia, it was clear there was a problem. We were saw the skaters organizing themselves, Kevin standing up in front announcing something. Without any words to go with the pictures, I was joking, Kevin was asking if there was anyone here not on Aera flow?  We didn't realize it was a complete break down in race organisation, we just assumed it was an IGSA race organisation slow down, not melt down. I'm not an IGSA apologist but if a race organizer has problems, it is unfair to blame IGSA. Essentially IGSA is an umbrella organisation for a group of race promoters. I don't personally know all of them but I am assuming some are businessman, some are fellow racers and some are non profit organisations. The goal for all of them is to make money or to make a profit. Losing money is not a good business model, it has no future. Some promoters might say we aim to break even but there is always a small profit built in for those cost over runs. The biggest myth in this sport is the one that race organizers or IGSA are making lots of money. In Australia, ASRA closes a road down for three days, the budget is way over the $50,000 rider fees that can potentially be collected. If you start reducing budgets to increase prize money then it is the safety of competitors that will be compromised in the long term. It is not just poor organizers that lose money on events. ASRA was looking down the barrel of huge money loss at Mt. Keira this year but four sponsors stepped up and saved the day: Landyachtz, Loaded and JHS Distribution. Oh and the fourth sponsor was that place you will buy your next longboard at :-) I would like to say that Marcus Rietema is in my top 10 longboarding heroes. Our community and world would be a far different place without his dedication. Skaters say they would do this sport without getting paid, but guaranteed the top racers in the world would look very different if no one got prize money, no one got sponsor paid or flowed gear for the last 5 years. Marcus has essentially worked for a decade and not got paid. Yet he still smiling at every IGSA race, he does not dummy spit that media companies outside of our community don't see the value in what we do or if his organisation gets let down by amateur race promoters. Lets get real here. This is an amateur sport, run by volunteers. Aren't we all just faking it until we make it? You are not a professional sports person unless you can make enough money in your career to retire. Making money to pay the month's expenses is not my definition of pro. That is a job like working in a skateshop. How come IGSA gets the blame when an event is run poorly but the event organizer gets praised when it goes right? ASRA is sometimes held up as an excellent race organizer but IGSA never gets any credit. Double standards? Here is the problem. This sport can not rely on its own industry to support all the aspects for a world wide downhill competition. Brands such as Landyachtz are paying for racers equipment, travel expenses, then they are asked to pay for event sponsorship! There are plenty of other soft costs that never get accounted for, such as closing down a business so the staff can go volunteer or race at an event. This sport does not have a "boardshorts" product like the surfing industry, that is high margin and can be sold to the mainstream. Skateboarding does, it's called skate shoes but the skateboard brands ain't going to let longboarders or racers into that feeding trough unless they can dress the longboarder up as a street skater and leverage off something they are not involved in. Be careful for what you wish for. Going independent, and to be successful would mean no prize money for a few years. The reason ASRA is so successful is it is run by volunteers that don't get paid and who DON'T compete. ASRA essentially is a group of people from all parts of the community with a passion for skateboard racing. They bring those diverse skills together to make something happen. They also have thick skins that can tolerate abuse. They work stupid long hours, and give up a lot of personal time to make shit happen. Why kill something like IGSA that has so much history and goodwill behind it? If you design some trucks, make them and the axles keep bending do you kill the whole project, start a new company with a new name and try again? No, you do the evaluation and then redesign. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. If riders are not happy, they should get more involved in IGSA not start a new version of IGSA. IGSA and Marcus needs to be more flexible. This sport has evolved, it needs to change and make itself more relevant. It appears IGSA is designed around the notation of creating content for TV. There is no TV deal coming, what our community represents is everything TV is fighting against. Free online content. Our community and sport is like no other in the world. They have grown up on the internet, they consume more internet than anyone else because what they want to watch is not on TV so they use the internet to create the TV they want to watch. The genie is out of the bottle, it is not going back in. As a community, are we going to watch TV to see our sport? Think about where you were, what you were doing when Newtons was broadcast on Youtube or Calgary was broadcast on Ustream. We like content creators like Brian and Push Culture because we can consume our sport whenever we want. TV only works if we are willing to tune in at 7.30 pm on a Friday night to watch the sport. I don't care how cool you think you are, the audience for downhill is the million plus longboarders out there not Joe and Betty mainstream. It should be broadcast online, there should be mainstream sponsors like food, drink, and apparel because those million longboarders do consume. Race organizers need to understand when they are in over their head, they need to ask for help. What is so bad about competitors stepping it up and helping organize an event? Be the change you want to be. Competitors should stop expecting that their money buys them 24 hour concierge service at an event. There should be a riders representative at every event not to complain to but to organize some riders to help out. Riders should take more responsibility. At Newtons there was two volunteers dedicated to finding downhill riders for their race. How ridiculous is that! This blog post is not about blame. It is about pointing out that there are a lot of reasons why things go bad. I am not opposed to an independent tour. I actually think it is a good idea, something that is needed to give IGSA some competition and improve the overall scene. Destroying IGSA will only set the sport back 5 years of development. If the riders feel frustrated, I'm sorry to break the bad news to you, the pain will only get worse. As this sport grows, the grommets you laugh at will be the ones that reap the benefit of all this early pioneering. Rod Laver one of the greatest tennis players of all time made 1.5 million in prize money during his whole career, he was one of the first of the reap the benefit of the "open" or professional era. Over a decade later Borg was the first to win a million dollars in a season (1979). Fast forward 34 years: whoever wins the Australian Open next year will win over 2.3 million dollars, but it is all relative, sometimes even that is not enough.

    Interview with Walter Ribeiro the 2011 IGSA Street Luge World Champion

    Hop: Can you tell us about your street luge set up and who are your sponsors? Que nos pode dizer sobre o seu "street luge" e quem são seus financiadores? Baresi: Venho a dois anos trabalhando na aerodinâmica do meu luge, mais tenho algumas peça que tenho que mudar ainda, como a chapa aonde enconto as costas. Hoje trabalho com o patrocinio das empresas Seismic skate Systems, Riptide Bushings, Prefeitura municipal de Curitiba, Elff ELetroerosão a Fio e Usinagem. I have been working on the aerodynamics of my luge for almost two years now, and I still have some parts that need to be changed, such as the plate where I place the back supports. Currently, I am sponsored by the companies Seismic Skate Systems, Riptide Bushings, the municipal government of Curitiba, and Elff Eletroerosão a Fio e Usinagem Ltda. Hop: Are you part of a team? Or part of a specific community in Brazil? Você faz parte de uma equipe? Ou parte de uma comunidade específica no Brasil? Baresi: FAço parte da Equipe Rapido e Rasteiro, com 9 atletas só do street luge, no qual fundamos a primeira associação de Street Luge do Brasil SLAC Associação Curitibana de Street Luge, uma organização sem fins lucrativos, construimos essa Associação para podermos perante ao governo, prefeitura solicitar mais infra-estrutura para nosso esporte. I am part of the team Rapido e Rasteiro, with only 9 street luge athletes. We founded the first Brazilian Street Luge association SLAC - The Street Luge Association of Curitiba is a non-profit organization that we built so we could face the municipal government and request additional infrastructure for our sport. Hop: Can you tell me about yourself, where do you live, how long have you luged, racing results? Que nos pode dizer sobre si mesmo, onde você mora, há quanto tempo você faz "luge", corridas e resultados? Baresi: Meu nome é Walter André WErbinski Ribeiro, meu apelido é Baresi, joguei 4 anos de futebol profissional, mais desisti por motivos pessoais, moro no Brasil no estado do parana Cidade de curitiba, sou casado, sou novo no esporte com apenas 1ano e 7 meses de pratica. My name is Walter André Werbinski Ribeiro. My nickname is Baresi. I played professional soccer for 4 years, but quit for personal reasons. I live in the city of Curitiba of state of Paraná, Brazil. I am married and new to the sport of luge, with only 1 year and 7 months of experience. corridas e resultados? races and results? 3º Colocado Malarrara Pro-teutonia 2010 Brasil 3rd Place in the Malarrara Pro-teutonia 2010 Brazil Recordista mundial de velocidade da IGSA 133,82km/h 2010 IGSA World Speed Record Holder 133.82 km/hr in 2010 2º colocado no Snake Skeleton San Luis Argentina 2011 2nd Place in Snake Skeleton San Luis Argentina 2011 2º Colocado FEstival de la bajada Bogota- Colombia 2011 2nd Place in the Festival de la bajada Bogota - Colombia 2011 1º colocado Copa de los andes- Tarma - Peru 2011 1st Place in the Copa de los andes - Tarma- Peru 2011 1º Colocado malarrara Pro-teutônia Brasil 2011 1st Place in the malarrara Pro-teutônia Brazil 2011 Hop: How do you and the Brazilian lugers train for Teutonia? Como é que você e os lugers brasileiros treinam para o Teutonia? Baresi: Graças a Deus aqui na região metropolitana de Curitiba aonde eu moro, temos vários circuitos para treinamento os principais são bocaiúva 3,7km com 29 curvas, circuito muito técnico que o top speed é 90km/h, mais quando esta chegando perto da competição em teutonia treinamos em uma cidade chamada cerro azul, o circuito tem 4km com o top speed de 125km/h, um circuito muito acelerado, com curvas de alta velocidade que nos fazemos a 100 e 110km/h. Thank goodness, here in the metropolitan region of Curitiba, where I live, we have several circuits for training. The main ones are bocaiúva 3.7 kilometers long with 29 turns; a very technical circuit with top speeds of 90km / hr. However, when the competition in Teutonia is getting closer, we train in Cerro Azul where the circuit is 4km long with top speeds of 125km / hr; a very fast circuit, with high speed turns which we do at 100 to 110km / hr. Hop: What is more important to win at Teutonia: equipment or training or courage? O que é mais importante ganhar em Teutonia: equipamento, treinamo ou coragem? Baresi: Já ouvi muitos atletas de outros países falar que os atletas brasileiros do andam bem em retas, que nao temos técnica, voce fazer ultrapassagem a mais de 130km/h, fazer a curva de teutonia sem dar foot break, foi como falei acima temos circuito de 29 curvas que fazemos voando, o treinamento e muito importante em teutonia e principalmente o psicológico , e os equipamentos de melhor qualidade são fundamentais rodas e rolamentos seismic. I have heard many athletes from other countries say that Brazilian athletes race well in straight lines, that we have no technique. You pass people at 130 km/hr, going around the curves at teutonia without pressing the brakes. It's like what I said before, the circuit has 29 curves that we take flying. The training is very important in Teutonia and principally the psychological training. Having the best quality equipment is critical: seismic wheels and bearings.   Hop: What was your secret for being a second faster than everyone else at the world championships? Qual foi o seu segredo para ser um segundo mais rápido de todo mundo no campeonato mundial? Baresi: Eu vim da semana passada do Peru aonde disputei a copa de los Andes, na altitude de 3900m de altura aonde fui campeão, circuito com muitas curvas fechadas, aonde tínhamos que freiar muito, foi no que eu me peguei e fazer a curva de teutonia sem freiar, já que ela nao é tão fechada , mais ela tem alta grau de dificuldade, por que chegamos muito rápido nela e ela te joga pra fora da pista com muita facilidade. I came back last week from Peru where I took part in the Copa de los Andes, at an altitude of 3900 m where I won. It was a circuit with many tight turns, where we had to brake a lot. It was there that I took hold of myself and went around the turns of Teutonia without braking, as it is not so tight, but it has a high degree of difficulty, because we get going really fast and it throws you out of the lane very easily. Hop: Do you know what your top speeds were at Teutonia? Você sabe quais suas velocidades máximas em Teutonia? Baresi: Ano passado quebrai o recorde mundial de velocidade da Igsa 133,82km/. Mais ainda acho que o radar nao esta No ponto mais rápido da pista ainda., tenho plena certeza que ja passamos dos 140km/h Facil. Last year I broke the IGSA world speed record with 133.82 Km/h. Moreover, I think the radar is not yet placed in the fastest lane. I am quite sure that we have gone beyond 140 km/hr, easily. Hop: Can you tell me what happened in the semi final and finals? Você pode me dizer o que aconteceu na semi-final e a final? Baresi: A semi final foi contra Leo Borton uns dos melhores lugres do Brasil, muito competitivo e técnico, no qual se enfrentamos ano passado tambem na final de consolação do ano passado em teutonia, saímos juntos na reta morta e chegamos juntos tambem na curva como eu estava por fora, resolvi freiar mais para nao ter a possibilidade de bater no feno, ele saiu da curva na minha frente, peguei o vácuo no ultima parte acelerada da pista quase na linha de chegada, consegui ultrapassar. Na final larguei em primeiro fiz toda reta morta na frente quando chegamos na curva dennis que já foi duas vezes campeão de teutonia encostou em mim, fiz a curva perfeita, sai acelerado para ultima parte da pista acelerada, quando vi já tinha passado a linha de chegada e vi meus amigos vindo comemorar junto comigo. The semi final was against Leo Borton, one of the best lugers in Brazil, very competitive and technical. We also competed last year at the consolation final in Teutonia. We started together at the straightaway and reached the curve at the same time. I was in the outer lane, and I decided to brake more so as to not crash into the hay. He then came out of the curve in front of me, and I took the vacuum in the latter part of the fast track almost at the finish line. I managed to overtake him. In the finals I started in first, and went all the way down the straightaway in first. When we got to the curve, Dennis, who has already won Teutonia twice, got closer to me. I rode the curve perfectly, and got out of it very fast to the last part of the fast track, when I realized that I had already crossed the finish line and I saw my friends coming to celebrate with me. Hop: How dangerous is Teutonia for lugers? Anything to say to Australian lugers to encourage them to travel to Teutonia next year? O quão perigoso é o Teutonia para os Lugers? Algo a dizer a Lugers australianos para incentivá-los a viajar para Teutonia no próximo ano? Baresi: O perigo de teutonia e a velocidade por ser muito grande, e uma pista que nao aceita erros, qualquer se torna um acidente muito grave, bater em um bloco de feno a 130km é a mesma coisa que bater e um bloco de concreto. Venham e que voces teram a melhor sensação do mundo andar em uma montanha russa a 140km/h que voce pode dirigir, as portas estao abertas para todos voces será um prazer ver voces no Brasil. Teutonia is dangerous because of the high speeds. It is a track that doesn't accept mistakes. Any mistake can turn into a very serious accident, because hitting a block of hay at 130 km is the same as hitting a block of concrete. Come and you will experience the best feeling in the world, riding a roller coaster that you can drive at 140 km/hr. The doors are open for you all and it would be a pleasure to see you in Brazil. Hop: Anyone you would like to thank or any special mentions? Alguém que você gostaria de agradecer ou quaisquer menções especiais? Baresi: Quero agradecer minha família pelo apoio, minha esposa Adriana pelo incentivo ao esporte, Apesar que nenhum nao vai assistir eu participar dos campeonatos porque acham muito perigoso, aos meus patrocinadores Seismic skate systems, riptide sports(bushing), prefeitura municipal de curitiba, Elff eletroerosao a fio e usinagem, minha equipe rápido e rasteiro, SLAC associação Curitibana de street Luge e principalmente a Deus pelo dom da vida. I would like to thank my family for the support, and my wife Adriana for encouraging me to practice the sport, despite the fact that none of them will watch me compete in the championships because they think it is very dangerous. Thank you to my sponsors Seismic skate systems, riptide sports (bushing), the municipal government of Curitiba, Elff eletroerosao a fio e usinagem, my team rápido e rasteiro (quick and dirty), SLAC - the Street Luge Association of Curitiba and especially God for the gift of life.  

    Mischo smokes Kevin's bacon - Teutonia race report

    Teutonia 2011 through Jackson Shapiera's eyes: The day is done and a Champion is born. Mischo Erban dominated the race and was crowned 2011 IGSA world champion. Riding the hill for the first time is a scary thing. Getting comfortable on it and trying to gain speed and control is the next step. But racing someone down the hill is a whole new level. Once you hit a certain speed, the power of a draft is amplified so much. Being able to sit in someone's slip stream and time it right means you can boost on past and take the lead, however passing too soon opens up the opportunity for your opponent to get into your draft and pass you back. Finding the right time to make a pass is key, but one of the most difficult things to do while racing on this hill. If you let your opponent get too far ahead at the start and you have no draft, game over. If you make a pass too soon and open up for your opponent down the straight at the end, game over. Its so hard to pick the right time to pass, you have to make decisions quickly and figure it out as you go. Having experience on this hill is important. It really showed that the people who have skated and raced here before are the ones who come out on top. It would be extremely hard for one to just show up for the first time and win (unless your name is Kevin Reimer). The Brazilians who know this hill train so hard to be strong for the race, once you go up against someone who is OG at Teutonia, your day is pretty much over. My first round I was lucky enough to have someone with not much experience on the hill, so I pretty much got a free ticket to round two. The next round I had an amazing race with a local Brazilian. Not sure how many times he has raced here before but he gave me a run for my money! The lead changed 3 times before hitting the sweeper, and I decided to open up coming into the turn to try get into a good position for the straight. After he passed me through the turn I got right back into the draft and as we hit over 100kph, it was like pressing the button for the nitrous, and boom away I went! Unfortunately for me, my qualifying position was not ideal, so the next round I was up against Kevin Reimer. It was so good be on the race track with Kevin again, physically he might not be 100%, but mentally he is in perfect form. This is key for racing this hill. I pretty much didn't stand a chance, his start was much better than mine and he was able to pick a quick line through the first drop to pull away and give me no draft at all. I was unable to keep up with him coming into the steep section so he pretty much just peaced out and owned the place. It was unfortunate that my day was over, but in a way it was good as I was able to sit on the track and watch some amazing racing unfold. Coming into the Semi Finals, it was the same 4 riders as last year: Kevin, Danky, Mischo and Dalua. However this year the positions had swapped. Mischo was facing Kevin, Danky was facing Dalua. Mischo had been in top form all day, he was happy with his ability and technique on the hill and after every run there was the biggest smile on his face. The one who is winning is usually the one having the most fun. Coming into the straight, Mischo had a solid lead on Kevin, he was able to carry his speed and distance all the way to the finish line and claim the first spot in the finals. In the 2nd round of the Semi Finals, Danky was leading Dalua down the final straight. Danky has lots of experience on this hill and knows how to hold a solid tuck. Dalua was so close behind that when he would get a speed boost from the draft, he did not have enough distance to build up momentum to get passed him. Unfortunately for Dalua, he was stuck behind Danky all the way to the finish line and did not make it into the finals. In the finals, Kevin and Dalua were swapping the lead into the final straight and ended up in a drag race, side by side. Kevin was forced onto the left lane and hit the same chunder patch Dalua hit last year in the finals, he broke tuck for a split second and allowed Dalua to take the lead and claim 3rd place. With Mischo against Danky, it was all over before it began. Mischo's skill on the hill was far superior than Danky's on this day, and he was charging way out in front all the way to the finish line. It was such an amazing race to watch, the demand for skill and precision on this track is something I was not expecting. Being a part of this race has really opened my eyes to a new form of racing and I feel privileged to experience it. The day before I rode the hill, I was shitting my pants and afraid of what was to come. The day after the race, I was already so excited to come back for more! Videos from Jackson's mobile Second Semi Final Teutonia 2011 Danky vs DaluaFinal of 2011 IGSA World Championships Teutonia Mischo vs Danky