Extreme longboard freeride down a mountain road

Anna and a friend undertake a breathtaking longboard freeride down a winding mountain road (possibly in Maryhill, Washington, home to a full-size Stonehenge replica). It's really something to watch, though my inner worrywart kept wanting to stop the proceedings and equip the riders with protective clothing for their bare skin. I was a little disappointed that we didn't see the dismount, because the whole way down, I kept wondering, how the hell do you stop?

Downhill Babes Maryhill Freeride 2012 (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


      1. knowing that didn’t stop the thought from popping into my head every time they headed for a blind curve, though.

          1. Indeed. This run was filmed during a weekend-long event at which they closed off the road, put hay bales and volunteer observers on all the corners, and kept EMTs at the ready in case of injuries.

  1. Great vid, but for the love of skin grafts wear something besides a bikini top and shorts!

    1. At the speeds they are going they would need cordura or leather, which will be ungainly hot for what they are doing. But elbow and knee armor would be a good thing. Props for the full face helmets though.

          1. At the lest, there is confidence of no rubble/pebble/etc.. on the road surface that may complicate navigation or post-accidental careening treatment by EMS of said road rash. 

  2. My guess for stopping, is that it might have something to do with the big blocks of plastic they seem to have on the palms of their gloves.

    1.  The blocks of plastic let you put your hands down on the pavement while sliding the wheels to slow down. Most people drag a shoe to stop at the bottom of Maryhill, as sliding to a stop wears out your wheels.

  3. “how the hell do you stop?”

    Notice the blocks on the palms of their gloves? Used for braking.

    You’ll notice them putting hands somewhat close to the pavement on the tight turns, (i.e. @ 1:48) one of them actually touches at 3:53. If they are going to understeer a corner they use inside braking to tighten their apex. They are also used for a total slowdown at run’s end.

    1. Yes, standing up will slow also them down quite a bit as well as slaloming. The pucks in the glove can be used to slow down but they’re also useful for sliding, IE quickly turning the board perpendicular to the slope, kind of like how you stop with a snowboard, but you distribute some of your weight on your hands. You can go from 50km/h to 0 in about 50m of meters that way, otherwise it’s hard to go from a medium speed to a complete stop.

    2. I have been obsessively watching longboard videos for a month.  They stop the same way snowboarders do, by turning sideways and sliding.  On turns they put a hand down, hence the slide gloves.  If they have to bail they slide on their knee pads and protected palms.  

    3.  The pucks themselves aren’t meant slow you down, they just let you put a hand down for better balance. If you want to slow down quickly, you lean back on the glove and pitch the board sideways into a powerslide.

      Most people just drag their shoe along the ground to stop at the bottom of Maryhill, as sliding wears your wheels out.

  4. Yes thats Maryhill Washington. Maryhill Loop Road in fact. http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/Visit/Do/loops.html

    I have been out there with the family to the museum but we didn’t see Stonehenge. I should go out on the bike next time I want a day out riding that road looks fun.

  5. It’s really something to watch, though my inner worrywart kept wanting to stop the proceedings and equip the riders with protective clothing for their bare skin.

    Nothing but a shill for Big Protective Clothing. I knew it all along! Next thing you’ll claim that helmets reduce injuries, or something similarly scurrilous. For shame!

  6. Reminds me of this video of Girls Crew, “Carving the Mountains” — which has an excellent soundtrack courtesy The Decemberists: http://vimeo.com/24195442

    That video shows how the stop BTW.

    1. I was impressed by the riding of the two girls until I realized the camera man/woman was doing the same thing and having to manage a camera and keep their attention on the road and the riders at the same time.

  7. Stonehenge in Maryhill is a trip.  The museum is as well – complete with Rodin sculptures, Native American pieces, and a wonderful collection of  Chess sets.

  8. The bikini lady is a part of the rebel alliance and a traitor! If you look from seconds 9-12, you can see her rebel tatoo, and also? Is that a tauntaun? Can’t really tell.

  9. The road also flattens out at the bottom, at which point speeds drop…

    Amazing camera work.   Also, the two women have the poise of Tally and Shay.   Who needs hoverboards anyway?

    1.  there is a story / myth about a woman awaiting a cornea transplant in london who was told by the surgeon,” sorry we dont actually have any at the moment but it shouldn’t be long as it’s raining quite badly”. …. meaning that motorcyclists would be getting killed in this weather.

  10. I was trying to get a sense of how fast they were going, and it looked overall quite safe and controlled to me. I’ve had a normal skateboard oscillate under my feet on steep hills a bunch of times… that feeling is really scary and yes I’ve lost it a few of those times.

  11. In addition to adding my praise for all involved, I just have to say how beautiful that was. It affected me more deeply than I expected; we really can be wonderful creatures when we’re not being obnoxious.

    1. I’m only a passable longboarder, but am always mesmerized by the incredibly beautiful videos of really excellent skaters in exotic locations floating around.  Both the suggestion links below are parts of series. 

      Switzerland – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07BmKlY6csc

      Hawaii – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw4ZYKf91Xo

  12. Sweet!

    …my inner worrywart kept wanting to stop the proceedings and equip the riders with protective clothing for their bare skin.

    Sorry Cory, but I have to take exception to that sentiment, since it’s precisely the attitude behind a whole bunch of laws that simply shouldn’t exist.

    Do you imagine these adults aren’t justified in their assurance? You’ve seen how awesomely good people can get at a zillion different things, and yet your impulse is to restrict these folks doing their thing just because it’s beyond the average person’s capacity?

    I can’t ride a skateboard to save myself, but as a keen cyclist I’d be confident enough in my ability to come off one at that speed equipped like those girls.

    They’re badass*, and they wager their skin to prove it.

    *emininently untrue in a literal sense

      1. So you’re wondering if I’d say the same for folks who imagine any amount of ability can protect them in leiu of a helmet from the physics of crashing a motorbike?

        No, I wouldn’t. There’s skill and daring, and then there’s Russian roullette.

        But ask me about bicycle helmets.

        1. Again, I wasn’t arguing with you, but as a competent mountain cyclist who through no particular lack of skill has slipped out on tarmac before, I look at the bare skin on display and cringe, especially on vehicles with no discernible means of stopping.

          1. As I understand it, shoes, gloves and even knee pads could be helpful in that regard.

            But yeah, more a matter of slowing, rather than stopping. Although I gather the road was closed.

          2. @Kimmoth:disqus Having gloves with hockey pucks or similar and experience will allow you to stop a longboard pretty quickly. I’ve only been able to find one video quickly, and the guy isn’t going down hill, nor going as fast as these girls, but the physics is the same. Turn sharply, put your hands down, get the board perpendicular to the hill. You’ll stop pretty fast.


          3. Believe it or not, at least one of these girls has a totally badd-ass custom leather racing suit. It was hot as hell on the hill last weekend, though, so almost everyone was riding in t-shirts by the end of the day.

  13. What an eerily perfect, almost CG landscape.  I do like the look of wind power, I must admit. I wonder if it’d look anywhere near as perfect if it went to 4-bladed designs.

    Kind of reminded me of Goldfrapp’s lovely “Caravan Girl” video.

    1. I love the look of the new massive windmills.  They remind me that I’m living in a William Gibson novel.

      1.  We really are. Sitting in my car with a pocket-sized device connected to GPS, with hours and hours of music and hands-free phone and voice recognition really is beyond the future I envisaged as a kid, minus some of the shoulderpads.

          1.  Every time I can be bothered to catch up with what’s going on at the intersection of pop culture and the net, I feel like that Stephensonian modern Babel event is one meme closer to reality.

  14. I long to live in this Utopian fantasy where helmeted women in short shorts long board down hairpin turns while windmills turn majestically in the background.

    Is this how YT got started?  

  15. “…how the hell do you stop?”

    I’m gonna guess, parachutes!

    Impressive feat, beautiful surroundings.

    1.  I believe the expression I’m looking for is… off the chain.

      Seen it before, but just as good the second time round : )

    2.  UH. At least the girls were on a closed track. These guys are insane. No closed track. Staying on right lane? That’s for poseurs. Here we have civilian traffic going both ways. With all sorts of possible obstructions on the way down. Not to mention any rock on the road the size of a quarter will send them careening. There’s residences along the road, with which you can assume there are bikers, cars pulling out, children. Forget these guys killing themselves, what if they kill someone else?  These guys are uncool.

  16. On the one hand I can´t help but imagine their unprotected bodyparts disappearing into the asphalt like parmesan into a cheese grater, on the other hand I really want to join them. This looks like so much fun.

  17. They are just really graceful. Almost balletic, and that is awesome. Being tough board chicks, and somehow exuding grace at the same time.

  18. I used to live in Lake Louise, Alberta (in the mountains of Banff National Park).  I biked from the lake itself down to the villiage of Lake Louise a number of few times, .  It’s a 3 1/2 km chunk of road that somewhat switchbacks its way down a mountain.  Pretty similar to this.

    I have to tell you, it was scary-ass-shit crazy on a bike.  On a skateboard?  You are either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. 

    Thankfully, these girls seem more brave than stupid.

    All I know is this: a single piece of gravel changes everything.

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