By Jennifer Gibbs, Special to the Independent
Local downhill skateboarding athletes compete against the world’s best at the 2011 Britannia Classic in Canada
Rather than hit the beach this past holiday weekend, two Laguna teens traveled to British Columbia, Canada, to compete against an international field of competitors in the province’s Britannia Classic downhill skateboarding race.
Jake Fast and Wyatt Gibbs, both 14-year-old students at Thurston Middle School, joined athletes from Europe, South America, Puerto Rico, and host-country Canada, for an exciting weekend of pancake breakfasts, free riding, slide contests, and of course, racing.
The two-mile course navigated through impressive mountain scenery and featured four challenging corner turns. “Because we train in Laguna we’re used to this kind of hill,” said Wyatt. “We have some of the world’s best hills right out our front door,” Jake said.
While neither boy placed in their division (16-years and under), both say the experience exceeded their desire to be on the podium. “It was important for us to ride with the top skaters in the world; it helps us become better athletes,” Wyatt said.
British Columbia also proved a refreshing environment compared to home, where a year-long backlash against skateboarding resulted in new rules and restrictions, soon to take affect.
“Canadians actually like skateboarders,” said Jake. “They cheer and wave when we go by.”
The boys next compete later in June in Goldendale, Wash., where they will be joined by a handful of other Laguna Beach downhillers.
Wyatt’s mother is Jennifer Gibbs.