Cathlamet will host professional races for longboards
Cathlamet will host a series of professional longboard races on August 28, 29, and 30 in partnership with southwest Washington longboarders.
The two-day event should draw hundreds of people from all over the world including top competitors, said Sandi Benbrook-Rieder of the local sponsor, the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce.
On Friday, August 28, some of professional boarders will conduct a clinic for area participants on longboard safety and techniques.
On Saturday, there will be a slalom race near the Wahkiakum High School.
The course will be set up by Skip Marcotte, 12th place in the world in tight slalom, Benbrook-Rieder said.
Later on the following Saturday, the push race will originate and end at the Stockhouse Farm on West Birnie Slough Road and cover seven miles on Puget Island.
The premier race will be on Sunday, a downhill through Cathlamet. Under initial plans, the course will start at the high school, come down South Third Street, turn left onto Spring, right onto Columbia, follow Main briefly to turn left down Broadway and terminate on Commerical Street. It will feature professional racers from Washington, Oregon and beyond, Benbrook-Rieder said, and there is $500 in prize money and custom designed longboards for event winners.
Longboarding is a relatively new sport and is very much like snowboarding only on wheels, Benbrook-Rieder said.
The races are similar to ski races, with the downhill and slalom being the most familiar formats. A push race is like a cross county or Nordic ski event and is on flatter land.
There will be opportunities for Wahkiakum County longboarders to race on the weekend and to learn from professional racers during the Friday clinic.
The town is planning for 300 visitors, Benbrook Rieder said.
Registration for the races is being conducted on-line by Rip City Skate in Portland (www.ripcityskate.com). The downhill is limited to 100 racers and the slalom to 30, but the push race is open to an unlimited number of participants.
Most of the racers will be camping at the Elochoman Slough Marina, she said, and the Chamber of Commerce is planning entertainment for the group on Saturday night.
Benbrook-Rieder said the idea for this event came from Judy Edmondson and her son Addison Fox, daughter and grandson of Ruth and Cameron Edmondson of Puget Island. They partnered with Billy Meiners and Casey Morrow to propose the idea to the Clinic Governing Board, the Town of Cathlamet and the Chamber of Commerce.
The proceeds from this event will be contributed to the Wahkiakum Family Practice Clinic.
Sponsors for the event include Rip City Skate, Subsonic Skateboards, Longboard Larry, Madrid, Venom, Seismic, Ladera, Eastside Longboards, Switchback Longboards, Crash and Build, and the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce.