Zooming Down the Hills of Catalina

Elite skaters zoom down over a mile of hilly Catalina Island.

SPEEDY WHEELS: Spring must be the official time for zoomy pursuits of the street race sort 'round Southern California. We have the Formula Drift and the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach, and then a few weeks later? The Catalina Island Classic. This Riviera-backed competition, which will mark its 40th in a few years, is pretty singular amongst street races. Nope, people aren't driving golf carts, which you might guess when you see the words "Catalina Island." They're not racing boats, either ("street race" should be a giveaway on that one). Rather, elite skaters are invited to take their boards high up in the hills above the Pacific Ocean and then point them downhill, board them, and proceed to go extremely fast. If you know your Catalina, and we hope you do, you know that the swoops, inclines, declines, and little valleys of the water-surrounded burg are Impressive with a capital I. Now picture a group of helmeted, well-suited skateboarders rushing for over a mile downhill on one of them, via streets fully closed off to cars and golf carts.

RUSH OF WIND: Just picturing this in our mind gives us a rush of wind to the face. Let's also give props to these skaters for those pigtail, curly Q turns Catalina is known for; if you watch the video you see the skaters, all in heavy gloves, putting their hands down to help maneuver the hairpins.

WHEN WILL THIS ALL HAPPEN? The Classic rushes by on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5. It's invitation only, for skaters, although catching some of the speeding-by action is free, if you're there. You might want to eyeball the video, though, for the whole downhill experience.

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