By Jen Minor
Spectators wrapped in coats gathered atop the windy hill on April 11 to watch Riverside RCC student Jim Schmidt, age 22, compete in the Burnin’ Thane Slide Competition on Sunday, atop Medford’s Cherry Lane.
Schmidt and fellow long boarders suited up to get their longest slide, best run, and best trick on Medford’s Cherry Lane.
Today he wore a shiny red helmet with pieces of cutting board glued to yellow gloves and his favorite beanie given to him by his mom. “It’s thrilling, good exercise, the perfect escape from everyday stresses, totally mind-freeing,” he said. “It’s so fun.”
Today he wore a shiny red helmet with pieces of cutting board glued to yellow gloves and his favorite beanie given to him by his mom. Competitors lined the hill and stared down at the winding road before them. Judges looked for control, speed, number of tricks and over all style in judging best run. As riders boarded down the hill, spectators awed. Trick variation followed with gasps, nasty falls and cheering spectators.
Before long a Medford police cruiser arrived at the scene. The police officer explained that this was a private road and illegal to long-board without permission. The officer simply asked the long-boarders to move a few streets over or to find a public road. All hopped in cars and speed away to a new location off McAndrews Rd. — which the riders had nick-named “Battle of the Turns.”
The new spot proved better-suited for the Longest Slide and Best Trick competitions after all. A long straightaway created an opportunity for enhanced speed and board control.
Eli Otter of Ashland won Best Run with his unique style, variety of tricks and board control. Ian McGregor and Derrick Scholar tied for Longest Slide, both around 45 feet. Bret Chapmen won Best Trick with a high-speed helmet slide of 25 feet — with his hands behind his back.
Schmidt did not place, but he doesn’t mind. “It just makes your day to get out and ride. It’s about progressing, taking your time and just having fun.”
541longboarding and Jack’s Board House worked together to make the event possible. Locals came, shredded, progressed and experienced the slide competition. They are always looking for more riders, so if you want to join Schmidt to “go do some hills and have some fun,” visit 541longboarding.com for more information.