Ideas for Improving Slalom

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Ideas for Improving Slalom

Postby Gary Fluitt » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:04 am

This thread started over on the Brixxleg cancelation announcement, so I moved it here to keep the ideas flowing.
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ideas for Improving Slalom

Postby Gary Fluitt » Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:22 am

Miguel Marco wrote:I'm sorry it didn't work out Donald. I definitely see the need to showcase the best of slalom to the media and general public.

Like Fatboy said, this might not be the right thread but since it started here... I don't see slalom dying just because the top guys travel less to the big, expensive to get to, events. No one I skate with in Canada can afford to fly to every Worlds/World Cup/Continental/National race in North America on their own dime. Flying to the US is sometimes as expensive as flying to Europe for us. And it seems there are more big races now then there are smaller ones.

To have a healthy "Pro" class you need a strong, healthy, and participative base that will help feed it with new talent and support it by buying decks, trucks, wheels and any product from the companies that will in turn financially help the top riders get to the big events. And it seems like I'm not seeing things the same way some of you are. I see a lot of interest shown, questions asked, and boards bought by new young riders. There's plenty of interest in slalom on local/regional forums and sites like Silverfish. It's those people in my opinion that need to be pleased and catered to first by the ISSA.

We need to get as much new blood into slalom as we can, either young or old. I see this being done by increasing the number of smaller local (oulaw or not) races and publicizing them worldwide on the net as much as the big events. We post all our weekly slalom sessions on our local longboard forum, as well as pics and vids from the previous ones. We get a bunch of kids involved that way. Newcomers need to know they can start locally (or fairly close to them) at very low cost (no $100 inscription fee and $600 plane ticket). Logically, there should be more cheap small local races then big expensive ones to get people into slalom. The way to get new people in is to get them hooked at a local session/race/clinic, then get them into the ISSA at their first "real" race, and so on. NESRA in New England, KHRT in Quebec, and MOSS in Spain are good examples.

Small single lane races are easy to put on at practically no cost at all. We had 34 racers at our last KHRT outlaw a few weeks ago. If it wasn't for the injured list and last minute "emergencies", we would have easily gotten over 45 racers. One third of the attendees were experienced racers, another third were on their second oulaw, and the last third were on their first race experience. It even was a very first try at slalom for a couple of them. They are all hooked now.

Pros should also get more involved in promoting slalom. Being a Pro doesn't only mean showing up at the race for the cash purse. They should be the firsts concerned by growing the fan base if they want to, at the very least, end up travelling for free at the races. Some of you are citing downhill as being popular now. Why is it so popular? Big parts of it is because the scene is flooded with cheap outlaw events, and some of the DH Pros are spamming the web with nicely done high quality videos and pictures showcasing it in an exciting manner. Let's face it, looking at a bunch of dudes tucking for 5 minutes touching and sniffing each others asses is as boring as looking at slalom. It just needs to be done in a way that makes it look exciting, like the DH vids. When is the last time a slalom Pro did that? From the top of my head, I can only remember Louis Ricard and Greg Fadell doing something like that in the last couple of years. Using sites like Silverfish, local forums, or Facebook to present exciting visuals gets more people exposed to it. Crossover from the popular DH/freeride scene is possible. Two thirds of the racers attending the oulaw I was speaking about are DHers/Freeriders first, but they all own a slalom setup now and show up at least once a week to run cones. They are ALL stoked on being able to do it all and now understand how slalom helps them become better skaters. They just needed to be exposed to slalom in a cool way.

Basically, what I'm saying is we need to grow the base first by making it look fun, exciting and accessible, and the rest will follow.


Mig, I couldn't agree more. The ISSA can really only focus on a handful of large events sort of like the IGSA does for downhill. But those large events are failing because there isn't a constant feed of new skaters to fill the ranks. Why is there not enough of a base of skaters to feed the 6 or 8 big events?

Its not for a lack of little races, or outlaws. There are more of those now then there ever was. In Colorado, there is a session every weekend! Problem is, no one new is coming to those sessions.

I think slalom is just not as appealing as other opportunities in skating (downhill for instance). Occasionally we hook a kid like Martin Reaves who becomes the phenom du jour, but that's happening less and less in slalom and our numbers appear to be on the decline.

I think we need to work on the format of the sport for one thing. We can't keep slalom in the 70's if we want skaters of this generation to embrace it. Chasing plastic cones around and calculating a winner after penalties, hasn't changed in over 30 years.

We need to make racing more fun, more simple, and more inviting. More fun would be a great start. I like Fatboy's comment about the actual racing format. a qualifying run and two elims. That sucks. The A/B/C brackets totally helps that be more competitive, but double elimination, or triple elimination, THAT would be fun. You get to race more people. Thats why we travel to races anyway right? So we can race someone new we don't see every other weekend. We can't get there (more racing) if we're spending the majority of our time finding, counting, replacing, and then rerunning because the cone was out.

We also can't get to the more fun more race format if we can't depend on the bloody timer to work every time. That's got to get fixed too.
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Postby Robert Gaisek » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:20 am

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Re: ideas for Improving Slalom

Postby Miguel Marco » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:56 am

Gary Fluitt wrote:Mig, I couldn't agree more. The ISSA can really only focus on a handful of large events sort of like the IGSA does for downhill. But those large events are failing because there isn't a constant feed of new skaters to fill the ranks. Why is there not enough of a base of skaters to feed the 6 or 8 big events?
I think I have addressed it in my previous post: money. If I was a top racer and given my geographic location, I would need an annual budget of $10,000, at the very least, to attend all the 6 or so big ISSA events and collect a maximum number of points (if that is why you race for, but that's another story...). How many racers can afford that, plus the time off from the real job to travel? And how many have good enough sponsors to pay for all of that? I have no idea what kind of help other sponsored riders get, but I know I'm doing all I can to help the Fullbag team get to those races. Including not going myself if it means more travel money for them.

Gary Fluitt wrote:Its not for a lack of little races, or outlaws. There are more of those now then there ever was. In Colorado, there is a session every weekend! Problem is, no one new is coming to those sessions.
But what is done locally to attract new people to those local races/sessions? I'm certainly not saying that you guys are not doing anything or are doing it wrong. I'm honestly asking. We have anywhere from 3 to 7 sessions a week that are posted on our local frenchie forum. Pics and vids from those sessions are posted, and this is important and in direct relation with the number of people who show up. The more media we post, the more people show up. We started with 3 skaters per session five years ago and now we're as many as 12 to 15 skaters at least once in the week. When we know noobs and less advance skaters are going to show, we don't go for the fastest spot and hardest courses to discourage them. "GNAR", "B.A.R.", "speed" and "tech" may sound cool and core on the forums and at the big races for more advanced riders, but I guaranty you it doesn't make a newbie come back for a second session when he can't make most of the course or see quick improvements after a few tries. Also having our local Pro and older experienced slalomers get totally involved with noobs and answering every single question about technique, gear adjustment, skate history, and more on the forums and at the sessions is primordial. Even if they repeat the same things a hundred times, they will do it again to help a new guy get hooked.

I've seen advice posted to newbies from a BOD member about beginning to slalom with 4' spacing. That's not the way to attract new people but the perfect one to turn them off.

Gary Fluitt wrote:I think slalom is just not as appealing as other opportunities in skating (downhill for instance). Occasionally we hook a kid like Martin Reaves who becomes the phenom du jour, but that's happening less and less in slalom and our numbers appear to be on the decline.
Like I posted before, making slalom look visually appealing can be done but practically no one takes the time to do it. And every newbie can't possibly turn into Martin! (On a side note: Man! Racing him at the 2007 Worlds was the best time I ever had!!! :D) Maybe the focus shouldn't be purely on winning and performance, but on improving yourself and, most of all, having fun. I know that's what we emphasize on around here.

Gary Fluitt wrote:I think we need to work on the format of the sport for one thing. We can't keep slalom in the 70's if we want skaters of this generation to embrace it. Chasing plastic cones around and calculating a winner after penalties, hasn't changed in over 30 years.

We need to make racing more fun, more simple, and more inviting. More fun would be a great start. I like Fatboy's comment about the actual racing format. a qualifying run and two elims. That sucks. The A/B/C brackets totally helps that be more competitive, but double elimination, or triple elimination, THAT would be fun. You get to race more people. Thats why we travel to races anyway right? So we can race someone new we don't see every other weekend. We can't get there (more racing) if we're spending the majority of our time finding, counting, replacing, and then rerunning because the cone was out.
Totally agree with most of that. But I don't see getting rid of the cones has happening soon. Snowboarders and skiers still have to deal with gates and flags that have to be re-attached. One way to make it simpler is eliminating the cone penalties and just use a somewhat low maximum number of cone hits for DQ. But then again, tech courses usually means more cone hits so more DQs, so a compromise has to be done somewhere.

Gary Fluitt wrote:We also can't get to the more fun more race format if we can't depend on the bloody timer to work every time. That's got to get fixed too.
Well, there's some ways to make that better. But next time I travel to a race to find out a timing system held with scotchtape, raw wire and stuff like this: Image I ASK FOR A F@CKIN REFUND!!! :(
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Postby Donald Campbell » Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:51 am

one point
too many races here in europe in a certain period of the year.
check july august
its way too much

maybe 4 important races and that's it
or.... country championships leading into euros next year here
give it some thought and find a structure.
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Postby Ramón Königshausen » Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:31 am

Donald Campbell wrote:one point
too many races here in europe in a certain period of the year.
check july august
its way too much

maybe 4 important races and that's it
or.... country championships leading into euros next year here
give it some thought and find a structure.



There's a simple reason where there are / shouldn't be any slalom races in July/August: the IGSA World Cup circuit.

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Postby Ron Barbagallo » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:16 pm

Mig's definitely got the right ideas

Joe I, Scooter, and myself made the trek to Quebec City to one of the Krispey Hill races and it was a blast - even WITH a timer mishap!

At least a third of the racers were kids trying it for the first time and it was amazing. Their parents were way stoked and happy to help out. Here's the perfect story from the race; a little girl, Gabrielle was her name i think, anyway - it's her first race. She can't quite make the course on a borrowed board. But Pierre would stop the line of skaters for her so she could start part of the way down and try harder and harder each time. No one complained and everyone was supportive. By the end of the day she was making the course every other cone. And she kept going allllll day. And then as we were all done and packing up she's still goin. And then.........she slams hard and snaps her collarbone. End of her "career" right? No f$%kin' way!! Mom takes her to the hospital, gets her fixed up and then brings her to the afterparty! She gets showered with all kinds of stuff - deck, wheels, even a truck from Joe I's personal stash. And a Fatboy t-shirt too - shameless plug, suck it!

Now that is someone who will stick with it I think. And there were other newbies too. They were all stoked to be there and most of 'em left with some kind of swag. They'll be back.

It made me proud just to be there. Well and second place didn't hurt - again, suck it. Point is, the Chubby Man in Black has the right formula. He gets asses in the seats at his races. And new asses too, not the same old tired asses. And at the afterparty we all watch a cool DH DVD and everyone enjoyed it. Because it's skateboarding. Not just slalom. Most of us got into skateboarding first and then gravitated to slalom. Why? Because when I started the slalom guys were so nice and accomodating. They helped me out and got me into it. So into it that I take time off from work and drive to other friggin' countries to do it. To come in last place most of the time!!!

Let's face it, there's no big money in slalom. Maybe Chappy and Danny G are making some money, SOME money. And Ritchie too. But that's about it. The rest of the "industry" is making enough to pay for the business, myself included. I'm happy if my company doesn't cost me twice what I take in. No one has money to fly pros to races all over the globe. I was stoked the one year when I was able to pay Wentzle's entry fees.

As much as we'd like glorify our sport, it's a small percentage of an even smaller sport. The thing we have in our favor is that it's a lot easier to do slalom when you're over 40 than it is to kickflip a 10 set. And if you can roll on a skateboard, you can slalom. That is attractive to youngins who are tired of trying to do ollies for 4 hours a day. You've all seen them at the skateparks and schoolyards - the kids who never make the trick, trying it a thousand times. They will get discouraged eventually and bounce.

Who should we be getting into our sport? Old skaters. Guys who skated in their teens that now have kids in college and have some spare time and wanna get back in shape. In the 70's Skateboarder magazine was the largest selling mag in 7/11 history as Stacy said. What happened to all those mag buyers? They grew up and are likely missing the fun of skating. Oh, and they happen to have a lot of disposable income. Who else? Those kids from the previous paragraph. They wanna skate, but they suck at tricks. And they don't have the money for leathers for DH or the other gear. Who else? Girls. Again, they have no desire for handrails, but skating looks fun as is pretty inexpensive comparitively. How about snowboarders? Same kinda movements, right?

My point is there are lots of people that could be attracted to the sport. But I think they would be more likely to get involved if it looks FUN. Does anyone remember laughte....uh, fun?
Last edited by Ron Barbagallo on Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Rick Floyd » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:13 pm

My experience has been that speed and big ramps will not turn off new riders - we had at least 4-5 "never raced" at our NESRA GS/SG/DH and they all killed it...SL/TS prob would have been more of a challenge for them, and maybe a turn off. Granted, they were all good skaters before the race, but that also may be a valid point - attracting good skaters looking for something new and gnar to do may not be a bad idea, I think that is kind of what Mig is saying.

A good example of this is a snowboard slalom I set for a USASA race this winter. I set a ski-style melded with skate hybrid style slalom that wandered all over the hill, had flushes and delays and offsets/stepovers, whereas the normal USASA slalom is just back and forth 10-12m apart. The coaches and parents all were saying stuff like "this doesn't look like a normal slalom, this will be TOO HARD for the kids" and "little johnny is going to fall and not qulify for the Nationals". Well, the kids ALL RIPPED IT! Not only that, after the race I heard more than afew kids say stuff like "if slalom was like that all the time I'd do it more often". We have to give the kids credit and not dumb down the events for them. A REAL beginner race on the side is a different story of course, but you see my point.

And effective smart promotion is key - locally and all higher levels. As long as we are speaking freely, and with no intention of criticizing current or former ISSA members, but only hoping to move things forward - I also heard one kid at our race say the ISSA site "looks like a place to make a dentist appointment" ... compare it to the IGSA site and it is obvious. Not anyone's fault - just fact.

More to think about anyway.

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Postby Miguel Marco » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:25 pm

NESRA's ramps are not "big ramps" in my book. At five feet high and with longboard friendly pumpable trannies, they are pretty much the perfect ramps for open events. Fast enough to make a slow spot fun for fast riders, not high and steep enough to scare away total noobs, and longboard compatible for crossover GS/SGS type courses like you did in Burlington. In fact, if there ever was a "standard" height and tranny shape for a ramp I would vote for that one...
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Postby Rick Floyd » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:33 am

Miguel Marco wrote:NESRA's ramps are not "big ramps" in my book. At five feet high and with longboard friendly pumpable trannies, they are pretty much the perfect ramps for open events. Fast enough to make a slow spot fun for fast riders, not high and steep enough to scare away total noobs, and longboard compatible for crossover GS/SGS type courses like you did in Burlington. In fact, if there ever was a "standard" height and tranny shape for a ramp I would vote for that one...


I agree, not BAR's...but to the "never evers" it was big, and it IS 2 feet taller than standard. That kid EJ ate it hard immediately his first time off it, dusted off, went back up, and did it right the second time. I was impressed. It actually all bolts apart and breaks down and goes on a small boat trailer easily. Top deck, than all the boards, then the tranny on top. I'm sure Tom would make another if someone wanted one. Or publish plans. I love taking the Elise off that thing. We'll be using the Antrim ramp next weekend though...hey, it has stairs. :-)

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Postby Chad Hegerty » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:52 am

As someone who just started this a few years ago and sit at the bottom/middle of the pack I will give my opinion.

I think that one big reason that new talent is not coming into the sport is because to enter and compete is expensive. It is very tough for young people to spend their money on a basic setup of deck, RTX/RTS and decent wheels and practice their butts off. They show up to a race and with get smoked by everyone with much better equipment. Not many young people can spend the funds on the higher tech stuff unless they are really stoked on it. They most likely will not spend the money in "hopes" of being able to compete.

I keep trying to get my 19 year old to try it but he has seen me invest in the front/rear trucks that cost more than most kids can afford. For him it is more fun to just hit the streets rather than pay a lot of money to register and travel to to be beaten in the beginner class by someone rolling on several hundred dollars of equipment which outclass him. No matter how good he is, the equipment can help a lot.

I don't want this to sound negative, I entered into this sport at 42 knowing full well what it was going to take to get better. I am slowly improving as time, practice and money allow. I would not trade any of the experiences that I have had at races and the people are amazing but for most young kids of today, who are not able to afford $600 or more for a board, that makes it difficult to enter the sport.

With regards to downhill; a long board, a set of Randal (cheap) and wheels and you can start and get the thrill of speed. The downhill technology does not seem near as extreme as slalom from what I have seen. When they get to the point they need leathers/helmet they are already committed.

Slalom is a great sport and I would not trade any of it. I entered the sport when I could afford the equipment but worked myself through the basic setups until maxed out what it could provide and upgraded as I needed to. I am trying to get some locals involved but they are hesitant to travel for some of the the reasons mentioned above. Too much money spent knowing they are going to get beaten.

The solution is much more difficult to come up with. Do you base class on equipment, I have no idea and think that would be chaos to try and classify if a deck/truck/wheel combo puts somebody in class A, B, etc...

I do not have an answer, just an observation. Thanks for listening. I will keep trying to spread the stoke and get more involved.
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Postby Rick Floyd » Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:21 pm

Chad - good stuff from a different perspective. I hear you, and I think the regional/local race series idea solves some of those problems. Race locally for less money against others with similar equipment and "get your feet we" (i.e. get hooked?) and maybe even beat a few people....keep going to series races and decide maybe it is for you, maybe not, maybe you really like it and ecide to spend a bit more money on it and travel or attend bigger races. In any case it can do nothing but grow the sport. Razor has offered cash prizes for kids rsaces - heck, win a few kids races and buy a Skandal or Skennet! Even for me, it's 5-6 more races to go to this year basically without leaving my area...all by car...just like I do with snowboard racing, which gets 1500+ people at Nationals. :-)

PS - with the rigs I see kids on snow riding, I'm hard-pressed to believe they can't afford to skateboard. I know some can't, but these guys certainly can. We should team with USASA snowboarding and make sure every racer in an alpine/bx event gets a flyer on skate races and local series if one exists.

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Postby Rick Floyd » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:13 pm

Miguel Marco wrote:NESRA's ramps are not "big ramps" in my book.


I forget who it was, but somebody dubbed it the "mini-bar"...LOL! :-)
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Postby Wesley Tucker » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:35 pm

The key to slalom skateboarding's future and universal worldwide appeal is six-wheelers.
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Postby Neil Orta » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:39 pm

I have been in the planning stages of events in the DC area for some time now and applications are in for the road closures, dates will be announced once they are approved. Attending races over the last few years I have compared what has been done at these races compared to how I run a DH race and will be implementing some of my Dh procedures in these slalom races. As mentioned above the structure of events has been lacking as well as the ability to run the races well. Having started as a racer who ran the races AND raced in them I quickly found you CANNOT do both and do them well. I gave up racing DH to run races and the events I ran quickly became quality races that racers wanted to attend.

Every race should be using a computer for time keeping AND add a printer to the set up so that the schedule can be printed and posted at the course before the start of the event. There should be a printout of the running order for each class and as the day moves on then the times should be posted so all competitors know how they are doing and can make adjustments if needed.

I got used to prize purses being for first, second and third and heard the suggestion made to carry it down further and subsequently changed that all my races went on to pay down to 8th place minimum. It does lower the money going to first place but spreads the love so that in the larger pots 8th place is still getting more than his entry back. Doesn't sound like a lot but I have seen the faces of guys who have spent better than a thoudsand dollars to get to and compete in an event being handed $75.00 and it said all that needed saying.

Again STRUCTURE of an event is the most important part- plan the event, announce what you have planned, STICK TO THE PLAN! We all know things go wrong and and are for the most part reasonable to accept when they do but to dwell on the fact and not step up to recover and move on blows the entire event.

Expense of equipment is not a good example of why expansion is not happening. Us DC guys try and ride at least once a week but we do nothing to let others know about it. We are all busy with our personal lives and just plain do not take the time, usually the decision to ride is made the day of so no time to announce and try to gain new people. I will try to change that, none the less as in any sport competition cost money and those that have it to spend will, those who do not won't. In every sport I have been involved there has always been the guy who comes along with "inferior" equipment and either smokes the field or places very high. Quality equipment helps but it is the rider-PERIOD The younger generations may be quick to complain that their board is not good enough to win on or even compete, if you let them believe that then they will.


The ISSA BOD need to stay focused on the decisions they have made and realize that changes take time. We all know that there is a need for more races and this is changing but they are needed at the Regional level, the National level, the Continental level AND the World Cup level. The front page of this site states that there will be TWO world cup races each year and merely a few months after that page was updated their are FOUR??? BOD should have awarded number three and four either as Nationals or one a Continental and one a National. So what if they are deserving of World Cup, the alotment was already filled for World Cup time to move on. My point here? This oversight shows no structure in the organization itself, if it cannot remain organized how can they expect the races to be??

It is obvious slalom is changing, go with it or make you own path either way the sport will survive, it has this long.
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Kids & $$$

Postby Claude Regnier » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:52 pm

The big thing with kids & $$$ on expensive sk8 equipment is that most parents ( it has changed a lot over the years) don't or won't back their kids in this sport like many other sports.

They do not get the funding like in other sports yet! As we showcase more slalom events big and small we will continue to grow the sport. TS is tough on a beginer. You need to practice lots and properly to do it well and get competitive. Slalom (hybrid) & GS is simpler for newbies to participate in.

If you are used to speed then GS is not so bad. If you are not then it will be tougher to relax and thus increase the possibilites of injury. If you look at street skating most of them are ridding flat stuff and banks at best. Kids still call a 3' transitined ramp VERT. A lot of people do rails, ledges, lanches and such but not all of them.

A lot of people started sk8'n because they were left alone to sk8. Stood back 20 or 30 deep and waited ti hit a curb or something. It isn't training. If you wanyt to be competive you need to train. Once you reach a certain level the amount of training can be reduced..

The quantity of races is not important as far as their being too many. Quality is! Affordability is! Clinics and teaching is! Spreading them out is nice but each country can and should have their own races and series. Parameters should be set for the bigger races along with dates way ahead of time so people know not to schedule conflicting events.

This way you will get more of the best at each and every BIG RACE for that calendar year. It has gotten so expenseive of late for the established racers let alone trying to attract newbies to big events.
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Postby Wesley Tucker » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:20 pm

And another thing . . .

. . . what keeps happening to LONGBOARD SLALOM?

In the few events where it's been run it always draws a good crowd. It's fun and makes big hills fun for big boards. And then it just fades away again.

I keep expecting it to really crank up on Silverfish but there's never any encouragement from the slalom crowd over there. And nothing about it here.

What's so strange is probably 90% of slalom skaters have a longboard(s). Just about all longboarders cruise downhills doing "S" patterns. I know we often hear how slalom racing is contrary to the "free flowing non-competitive spirit" of skateboarding but so what? If only 5% of longboarders ran cones with big boards it would be a LOT of slalomers.

Anyway, just another point to make.

And longboards with six wheels? LOOK OUT!
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Postby Ron Barbagallo » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:06 pm

Scooter and I had a thought when we were skating last Sunday. We were thinking about hosting like a skate jam kinda thing with many skate disciplines represented. Something low key, catering to beginners. Slalom of course, but some low speed DH, maybe some sliding (if someone shows me how!), catamaran races, longboard cruising, maybe a vintage thing a la The Farm.

Since neither of us has a timer, it would be real laid back and not intimidating. But it could be an opportunity to recruit some new racers. This might be an idea that the ISSA could support. Has anyone done this in the past that could offer ideas and recommendations?

Rob Herten did something similar last year and it was a lot of fun. He gave out Hot Pockets as prizes and we all had a lot of laughs and I think we inspired a coupla kids to take up slalom. They were longboarders, but they came along to check it out and maybe find some new people to skate with.

As I said before and I'll keep saying it, it's gotta be fun first or else why bother doing it? If a skater's first experience with slalom is how much fun it is as opposed to being intimidated, the chance that they will take it up and continue is high. That will boost race attendance, moreso than getting more prize money for the pros. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having pros at the races - the more the merrier. I think that's one of the coolest things about the sport, I might draw Richy or Keith or Jason in my heat. Sure I'll lose, but I lost to a PRO! That's kinda cool in a twisted way.

But will a beginner NOT go to a race because the pros aren't there? I don't think so. A beginner wants to come check it all out and see if they can make the course. My first YEAR of racing revolved around just trying to get a time! And to me there's nothing better than the look on someone's face when they make that course for the first time. It's like Christmas morning. And I love how most guys will not only give advice, but they'll pull stuff out of their personal gear bags to help a newbie. How many times have I loaned slow wheels to noobs to get a time? And Joe I has begged me to use his PVD's and Rads and he also throws gear at newbies to help them. That's just staggering in a sporting venue! And it's not just us doing it, many people do the same. I remember being in Ottawa and as usual getting my ass kicked, and Dave Pirnack was walking up the hill. I knew him from the magazines - pro skateboard racer. So I just blurted out, "How do you go SOOOOO much faster than me?" Picture asking Arod something like that at batting practice and imagine THAT outcome. But Dave chuckled and offered advice, and not just "Practice skating more and eating less, you fat pathetic loser!" He noticed that I was too far forward and that I should move back a bit and use my rear leg more for pumping. Who does this?

So anyway, yes pros are important for racing. They inspire lesser racers and they probably move some gear for manufacturers. "Gee those Pavels make Kat go fast, maybe I should check one out." That kinda stuff. But if you want to increase race attendance in my opinion, there's a big untapped market out there of skaters who have just never given it a try. We should go after them. They might have cute sisters. Or moms. Maybe the moms do some baking. Maybe they'll wear something slinky to the races. Maybe they'll be appreciative of some guys that help out their kid. "You know young Josh has been in some trouble since that miserable father of his left with that slut. It's so nice of you to give him a positive direction with this slalom stuff. You make a woman like me verrrrrrrry happy."

Yeah, you're welcome
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Postby Glenn Bukowsky » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:31 am

Fatty, gotta love ya! You're evil, but in a good way! HaHa



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Postby Robert Sydia » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:23 pm

Wes:

You really don't get it and hopefully you don't take this wrong - i respect you as a friend and fellow skater, but you need to take time and read what guys like Mig and Fatty are saying, instead of posting stupid comments about "six-wheelers".

Shit man - a few years back people filled page after page at NCDSA about absolute crap when a six wheeler appeared!! Everytime someone posts up an idea or something they created, usually more people critique and tell the person what they did wrong, instead of patting the guy on the back for his accomplishments - Christ - he or she is doing it because they love it, we all know nobody is making any money in the slalom world.

The ISSA has in many ways failed the slalom community, instead of creating a fun and interesting environment, we confuse it with way too many rules and create long discussions about the policies and procedures associated with them. To be honest, we have taken the fun out of it.

When I started slaloming - the greatest things were looking at the new boards, trucks and wheels people were coming up with or reading about a great race two people had and the final result. Being north of the border - almost everything felt out of reach, but great guys like Chicken and Gareth did everything possible to get you the board you wanted. But the best memories of a race was the new friends you met, share a passion and create lasting memories of the douchebage things you did. I am not remembered for winning a "B" Class race (proud yes), but more for trying to ride the Coca-Cola cooler on wheels down the Farm course and it collapses and I am on my ass covered in ice.

Where are we today - we cannot fill a World class race put on by someone who has put unbelievable effort into the slalom community world-wide. When I talk to Cat - I feel I am completely up to speed with what is going on in Germany. We have top-notch racers spread across the globe that are choosing not to come to a race. The ISSA needs to ask themselves the question - WHY???

We all know the economy sucks and things are tougher (add in a divorce and it is even more challenging), but I will be going to two races this summer - Dovercourt and The Farm - Claude got me into slalom and runs a great race and Joe/Tway put on an event that can't be missed - common thread - good friends and fun!!!

Jonny Miller throws outlaw races and people come from everywhere - his stoke of racing hard and the magic of Toyland were pictures in a magazine when I was a kid - never did I think I would get to experience it (thanks jonny) - brings people to race.

Posting who has paid there annual ISSA dues on web-sites that slalom is a almost non-existent thread, does nothing to draw new racers, instead it puts up obstacles and reasons not to participate - sorry Wes - wrong move.

I know I have rambled on and if I offended anyone - I am sorry, but we have to completely re-think what slalom is and where it is heading next, because if we stay on the current path it is dying a slow death. I don't have the anwsers, but it is really important to listen to the people who have spent their time to express their suggestions, for these might be the racers that you don't see again.

Enough said!
Last edited by Robert Sydia on Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Wesley Tucker » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:37 am

Rob,

It's a metaphor to being open to new ideas.
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Postby Neil Orta » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:43 am

"I am sorry, but we have to completely re-think what slalom is and where it is heading next, because if we stay on the current path it is dying a slow death."

Would that be slalom or the ISSA?
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Re: ideas for Improving Slalom

Postby James Peters » Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:09 pm

Gary Fluitt wrote:I think we need to work on the format of the sport for one thing. We can't keep slalom in the 70's if we want skaters of this generation to embrace it. Chasing plastic cones around and calculating a winner after penalties, hasn't changed in over 30 years.

We need to make racing more fun, more simple, and more inviting. More fun would be a great start.


At the Cathlamet Downhill Corral just a couple weekends ago, Skip Marcotte blew minds with his "Mystery Slalom" course --- it kept a lot of us wondering, and none disappointed.

The course begins off a starting ramp that shoots you UP the hill, to do a kickturn on another ramp, just to get around the first cone. Then after a couple mellow cones, squeeze by the sidewalk and zip across the street through a 3-cone stinger and up ON to the sidewalk on the other side! After a line of cones on the sidewalk, down the transition to street, and up onto the sidewalk of the next block! A few turns later, a jump off the curb, a couple tight cones, then over and off a specially-built 6"-8"? JUMP -- few more cones, then JUMP again, before a couple offsets to the finish line.

Everyone was stoked, spectators and skaters alike. The spills weren't as numerous as you might predict, it wasn't really a "death race" - it was just cool to see the adjustments to speed that a 3-D course and landing small airs threw into the game.

Lot of guys were rocking kicktail GS-sized poolboards or longboards with Randals, and I wish I'd just set up with an Indy-Bennett type board instead of my boutique Radikals which seemed way too delicate for the jumps.

Skip deserves huge applause for opening up wide the definition on the "format" of slalom and I hope there are more courses set up this creatively in the future!

Not to mention Judy Edmonson's / Addison's planning of the weekend event as a whole, with a mix of events that appealed to a much larger crowd: TS, slide comp, Push race, street-slalom, finishing off with a technical DH race through downtown.


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Postby Ron Barbagallo » Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:49 pm

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

That looks like soooooo much fun!
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Re: ideas for Improving Slalom

Postby James Peters » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:03 pm

It was a blast just to watch -- Skip's street slalom course was ground breaking and I'm surprised there isn't a little more yakking about it places online where slalom matters!!

In fact I think these guys are pointing out a huge part of what drives the grassroots, organic growth thing this thread is supposed to be about -- the DH scene has exploded in large part because the young guys are on there chattin it up and getting stoked for the next one.

Miguel Marco wrote:We have anywhere from 3 to 7 sessions a week that are posted on our local frenchie forum. Pics and vids from those sessions are posted, and this is important and in direct relation with the number of people who show up. The more media we post, the more people show up. We started with 3 skaters per session five years ago and now we're as many as 12 to 15 skaters at least once in the week.


Neil Orta wrote:Us DC guys try and ride at least once a week but we do nothing to let others know about it. We are all busy with our personal lives and just plain do not take the time, usually the decision to ride is made the day of so no time to announce and try to gain new people. I will try to change that,


In the past I've wondered if maybe guys here in the Northwest planning and then not even posting their event somewhere online was coming from some anachronistic Westcoast horse-n-buggy anti-internet, "refuse to blog cuz I'm too old for it" kind of sentiment? Because I know these guys and they're technical enough to know how to pop around to different sites to copy and paste stuff up.

But it's NOT just a Northwest thing, it's an old-guy slalom thing, maybe? I've tried augmenting this effort for years by posting more online AND I've noticed the immediate draw of maybe 2-3 noobs just checkin out the scene many times. I hope the old slalom codgers who say they care about the scene growing take more action on this kind of thing down the road. The internet is FREE, use it! New guys and girls particuarly the younger crowd don't show up to events they don't know about and they don't just naturally surf into the forums like this one.
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Postby Cat Young » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:45 pm

There was lots of feedback from the DH crowd on Facebook.
They all had a blast & loved the cones & jumps.
It sure looked fun to me. I'm going to try my hardest to attend next year!
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Postby James Peters » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:57 am

Cat Young wrote:There was lots of feedback from the DH crowd on Facebook.
They all had a blast & loved the cones & jumps.
It sure looked fun to me. I'm going to try my hardest to attend next year!

I hear that, Facebook has been a great play by play for DH and slalom esp. over the past couple years. I'm mostly thinking about how we could all reach out a bit more on local forums. Immediately I think of at least 5 "local" skate forums based in the Northwest (northwestlongboarding, Coastlongboarding, PDXDownhill, EastsideLongboarding, pavedwave) where any slalom event can be posted to reach out to a lot of new skaters who just wouldn't look for an event otherwise. And I'm sure most other regions can find the same, just Google city / state name + longboarding / skateboarding.

Hope you make Cathlamet next year too, it was sick!! And the community was 200% behind it.
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