Boarding. To the uninitiated, any sort of flat deck with four wheels attached might look the same. But that’s just not the case. If you board to get big air, then the traditional skateboard is your jam. If you have the need for speed, then you’re going to need an elongated and sturdier longboard!
Longboarding has come a long way from its Hawaiian roots, which saw surfers try to recreate their preferred activity on dry land. No longer are boards made of plywood or old snowboards; no longer are wheels pilfered from roller skates. Longboarding has grown into its own full-fledged sport, complete with its own tech, its own competitions, and its own world records! (Don’t be surprised to see it follow in the footsteps of skateboarding and get added to the Olympics one day.)
Since the main advantage longboards have over skateboards is stability (which, in turn, allows for faster rides), the sexiest record in the longboarding world is top-speed. Earlier this year, Swedish legend Erik Lundberg upped the world speed record to 130.36 KPH, narrowly edging the 130.08 KPH record set by Mischo Erban back in 2012.
But Lundberg didn’t get to enjoy his feat for long; in September, Kyle Wester absolutely obliterated the top-speed mark by reaching nearly 144 KPH (89.41 MPH).
Will Wester get to enjoy a longer reign than his predecessor? If not, who’s going to take his crown? And will longboarding’s equivalent of the four-minute-mile (i.e. 100 MPH) ever be reached?
I whizz through all of those questions, below, reaching a top-speed of, like, 45 words per minute. (My 3rd grade typing teacher would be so proud!)
Longboarding World Record Odds and Predictions
Odds to break the top-speed record next:
Erik Lundberg: 5/1
Kyle Wester: 6/1
Mischo Erban: 8/1
Douglas da Silva: 99/1
I’m hoping Lundberg and Wester engage in a Bannister and Landy-like battle that takes the top-speed record to new heights, much the way the competition between the two aforementioned runners led to the first sub-four-minute mile. Lundberg and Wester are the fastest guys out there right now, and thus, are the most likely to get the necessary sponsorship and funding to take a run at the record. I give Lundberg the edge here because he’ll have more motivation that Wester, who currently owns the title.
According to cbc.ca, former record holder Erban has said that his goal is to go 200 KPH. (He’s Canadian, hence the metric system.) That would be 124 miles per hour! Will he accomplish this feat anytime soon? Not likely. But it means he’ll be out there trying, and he wouldn’t even have to come close to his stated goal in order to reclaim the record.
Da Silva was the record holder before Erban, but his mark – a woefully slow 70.21 MPH (113 KPH) – was set all the way back in 2007. Don’t expect the Brazilian to suddenly re-appear and go 20 MPH faster than his previous best.
The odds above leave a lot of room for the field. There are a ton of talented longboarders out there who will want to etch their names into the record book, expunging Wester’s in the process.
Over/under on when the record will be broken: December 2017.
Erban’s record held up for almost half a decade. But Lundberg didn’t even get a year. Wester’s feat put the top-speed record on a lot of people’s radar, and companies like Red Bull will be keen to capitalize on the increasing popularity of the sport. Look for them to sponsor/fund some runs at the record in the coming year.
Odds a longboarder ever tops 100 MPH: 1/5
This is absolutely going to happen. As longboard technology continues to advance – limiting the effects of things like friction and wind-resistance – speeds will continue to increase. Then you just need to find a hill that’s long and steep enough.
As mentioned above, Erban thinks 124 miles per hour is an attainable goal. That’s pretty lofty, but even approaching that number would leave the 100-MPH milestone squarely in the rearview.
Photo credit: Philippe (flickr) [https://www.flickr.com/photos/calepin_dimages/8046380590].
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