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Computational Fluid Dynamics and Downhill Skateboarding… really?

Yes, really.

Regular readers of this blog will know that Pete Connolly has the speed bug like no other, and he’s working together with many influential people in European downhill scene to push the boundaries of speed on his skateboard.

If you’ve ever been really fast on a skateboard, you’ll know that aerodynamics are a big part of the game.

Recently Pete’s been working with SimScale – a Computational Fluid Dynamics simulation company – to analyse and learn from his wind tunnel data.

This post originally appeared on Simscale’s blog, and is reproduced here with kind permission.

Downhill skateboarding record being broken as Pete Connolly hits 146.73 km/h

In September 2017, gravity sports enthusiast Pete Connolly became the first person in history to exceed 91 mph on a skateboard, making him a world record holder in downhill skateboarding as well as deeming him the fastest downhill skateboarder on the planet.

This fastest skateboard speed downhill (standing) record was achieved at the L’Ultimate Descente competition in Quebec, Canada. The extreme event invites masters of all things gravity sports from skateboarders to gravity cars to try to achieve the fastest speeds humanly possible, and the chance to make history.

How Was This Possible for Pete?

In order to become the world record holder for downhill skating, a lot of time, effort, and aerodynamic design factors were accounted for and evaluated.

“As you might expect we get fairly into the aerodynamic aspects of our sport when pushing the top speeds. To set the record, I designed and produced an aerodynamic leather suit to skate in and did a lot of real-world testing in Switzerland to gather data on a road with very consistent conditions.” – Pete Connolly

In order to optimise his suit, board, helmet, and body position, Pete underwent multiple sessions of real-world and wind tunnel testing.

Wind tunnel testing of Pete’s gear and tuck position

Wind Tunnel Testing: Benefits and Limitations

With a new goal set, Pete and his team went to the HEPIA wind tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland to further undergo testing of equipment and body positions to ultimately reduce drag and any areas of re-circulation. Unlike other resistance forces like friction, drag depends directly on the drivers speed and increases with the cube of velocity and linearly with frontal area.. Wind tunnel data was used to determine where drag and air resistance was creating a negative impact.

“My time in the wind tunnel was greatly beneficial, while I managed to improve my overall drag training in the tunnel, it shared the same limitation as real-world testing; you can only see the overall drag we create… My goal with modelling and running simulation is to establish if there are any key hotspots that we can hone in on to result in the best improvements possible, rather than investing into improving an aspect of our body positions or equipment that may not make the most difference.” – Pete Connolly

Aerodynamic design testing in HEPIA wind tunnel in Geneva, Switzerland

Pete and his team decided to combine their wind tunnel testing efforts with online simulation, to identify high benefit/quick fix areas with a focus on improving these aspects. By utilizing CFD analysis, future training, development, and testing can be more targeted to essentially increase speed by combining real-world, wind tunnel, and online simulation efforts—the aerodynamic testing trifecta.

Full-scale wind tunnel testing of front-tuck position for downhill skateboarding

The New Challenge: Online Aerodynamics Simulation

To jump-start this process, World Champion Downhill Skateboarder and industrial design specialist Martin Siegrist lent his assistance by creating a full 3D scan of Pete and his board in his record-breaking stance. Using this CAD model, Pete then got in touch with SimScale to begin some initial online simulation to integrate his real-world and wind tunnel data with virtual insights.

Pete’s body and skateboard CAD from Martin Siegrist

Downhill Skateboarding Meets SimScale

Pete’s need for speed brought him and his CAD model to SimScale to virtually test the aerodynamics of his kit.

“What I wanted from using simulation was to learn what part of the design to focus on to make the biggest difference. You can spend a lot of time focusing on all the little things to make moderate changes, but with simulation, you can pinpoint the area that needs to be modified the most.” – Pete Connolly

Velocity plot of Pete and his board (Source: SimScale)

The Initial Simulation Results

The external aerodynamic analysis found areas of recirculation on Pete’s body from post-processing the results of both velocity and pressure plots at various planes in the transient simulation.

Velocity plot from waist level from Pete’s body position

What’s Next for Pete in Downhill Skating?

With the new findings from the simulation data, the next steps lead to another full body scan testing different hand and board modifications, followed by more real-world, wind tunnel and virtual testing—and hopefully some more broken records for downhill skateboarding to follow!

“For me I wish to push it even further and break the 100mph—quite an ambitious goal but one I feel is achievable… improving on my current record is something I already believe I can achieve.” – Pete Connolly

Super Smooth and carvy!

Although the Emperors have done me well am changing them for Orangatang Caguamas for that longer roll.

Nice wide cruiser so is chill to get on with for people used to longer boards like me.

This year’s Bristol Board Meeting was a blast!

Around 100 skaters turned up for a day out on boards of all shapes and sizes in perfect weather.

Update 22/11/2018:

We have hit a huge £2,430.50 raised for Clic Sargent this year!!! That’s way more than our target!!

Huge thanks for everyone who put the effort in, and to everyone who donated in support!

Also massive thanks to all the Raffle Sponsors for their prize donations!

See you next year!!!

Update 16/11/2018:

The winners of our competition are:

Neil Adams wins the Hackbrett Wasser deck, having raised a whopping £940.50!!!
Ben Dorney wins a set of Orangatang Kegels having raised over £240!!

Awesome effort from these two, well deserved winners!!

Update 26/10/2018:

A couple of raffle winners have very kindly agreed to re-donate their prizes in order to raise even more money for Clic Sargent!

So we’re running a competition for the most amount of money raised via the event.

  • 1st Prize: The person who raises the most will win a Hackbrett Wasser deck!
  • 2nd Prize: The person who raises the second largest amount will win a set of Purple Orangatang Kegels!

Please get your donations in to our Justgiving page. If someone is donating on your behalf, please ask them to put your name on their donation. If there are already some donations on the Justgiving page that you’d like to claim as yours, email us and we’ll add to your running total!

We’ll announce the winner on the 15th November, so please get your donations in before this date!

Update 25/10/2018:

The raffle raised £985 – so we have a total of £1,510 on our Justgiving Page right now! Congratulations to all the winners and massive thanks to everyone who entered!!

Update 24/10/2018:

Check out the edit from Plymouth Uni Skate Society, who were flying a drone over the pumptrack for a lot of the day! If you’re longboarding in Plymouth be sure to hit them up!

It’s 13 miles from Bath to Bristol along the cycle path. The bit just outside Bath was really a treat, skating through some beautiful countryside in glorious autumn sunshine!

“How long does it take to skate 13 miles?”

“It depends how many pubs you stop at along the way!”

Parts of the cycle path have benefitted from a resurface in recent years – which was a welcome rest from the incessant foot buzz!

A welcome rest at the halfway cafe!

Everyone got some laps in at the newly-surfaced Hillfields Pumptrack. We’re stoked to see more tarmac pumptracks appearing in the UK!

This year’s prize stash was bigger than ever! With brands like Lush, Cult, Sabre, Loaded, Orangatang, Arbor, Z-Flex, Hackbrett and Vandem Longboard Shop, there were a lot of stoked faces, and raffle tickets added significantly to the total raised for Clic Sargent.

The youngest skater to do the 13 mile push was just five years old! We thought she was worthy of this Arbor deck as a prize… she was super happy!!

Everyone crowded into Vandem Longboard Shop on the way back home…

Massive thanks to everyone who came and skated, you made the day what it was!!

Keep your eye on this post for more updates and look out for next year’s event!

Bristol Board Meeting Page

It’s that time again!!

On Saturday 20th October we’ll be skating en masse out from Green Park, Bath along the Bath to Bristol cycle path, all the way to Bristol Temple Meads on our longboards.

We’re doing this to raise money for Clic Sargent, the UK charity helping kids with cancer.

Since the first Bath to Bristol skate back in 2007, this event has raised a whopping £52,000 for charity.

If you added together all the miles of all the journeys done on this event, at every Bath to Bristol skate we’ve done, you’d get over 16,000 miles skated – that’s from here to Peru and back!

What’s going on?

We’re skating from Bath to Bristol, along the old railway line, which has been converted into a cycle path. It’s about 13 miles in total, which isn’t too bad on a longboard once you get going!

It’s been done in an hour and a half, but it takes most skaters 2-3 hours, especially if you stop off at one of the pubs on the cycle path. 😉

“Push off” is at 10.30AM in Green Park, Bath.

This year we will stop and hold the raffle around 3PM the newly-tarmaced Hillfields Pump Track, which is just after the Mangotsfield tunnel as you push your way into Bristol.

The pump track has been rebuilt this summer by Velosolutions, and is perfect for shorter longboards, slalom boards and skateboards with soft wheels on. We’d recommend a helmet if you want to push it – it can bite!

There is also a basketball court for dancing and freestyle stuff, so if you’re doing the Bath to Bristol on your dancer or longer board, you’ve got a good place to jam.

The raffle will start around 3pm (skater time). You can buy tickets from us on the day. This is your chance to win a ton of cool prizes from all the events sponsors, and help us raise more money for Clic Sargent!

The event is sponsored by:

Lush Longboards
Vandem Longboard Shop
Cult Wheels
Sabre Trucks
Loaded Boards
Orangatang Wheels
Hackbrett Longboards
Arbor Skateboards
Z-Flex Skateboards
Shiner Skateboard Distribution

…more sponsors coming soon!

How can I get there?

Please use thee maps, or your phone’s sat nav with the following postcodes:

10.30AM start @ Green Park: BA1 1JB Google Maps Link

3PM Raffle @ Hillfields Pump Track, Bristol BS16 4EH. Just pull off the path a couple of exits after the tunnel, it’s pretty easy to find. Google Maps Link

Vandem Longboard Shop is just off the cycle path at the Bristol end and will be open untiol late after the raffle: BS5 0BX Google Maps Link

All these postcodes are approximate so please use the maps!!!

How can I get involved?

You can help us raise money one of two ways:

1) Ask your friends and relatives to sponsor you to do the distance. Just send them to this page on Justgiving and ask them to donate! You can also download a sponsorship form to make collecting donations easier.

The person who raises the most for Clic Sargent will win a Lush Legend Complete! We’ll announce the winner on the 23rd November to give you time to get your money in.

Where can I find the latest info?

We will be updating this post with the latest news.

On social, you can out the Bristol Board Meeting on Facebook and the Bristol Board Meeting 2018 Event Page!

You can also check Instagram, Facebook and twitter on #skateanddonate.

Bristol Board Meeting Page

Love this board, I can cruise and carve with it with no problem at all. This being my first board it has really helped me get used to the feel and ride of carving and basics of using a longboard.  I am confident enough to jump on any other board and push it as far as I can. Think I may have to get another!

Back in the heady days of 2004 we were contacted by Bricin “Striker” Lyons – the organiser of the now famous Danger Bay race in Vancouver. We sent him some boards as prizes and in return received some pictures of someone winning one of them by shooting a huge beer bong made from duct tape and cans. Since then all of us here at Lush have wanted to get out to this legendary event – Fast forward a few years and Pete finally made it! Here’s his take…

Danger Bay, Pender Harbour, Canada. The longest running international race there is, home of Coast Longboarding and Team Green; the heart and soul of a whole scene that has given birth to some of the best DH skaters on the planet. They have lifted the standards of what we can do on our boards continually. Despite being in its 17th(!) year, this event is far from long in the tooth and neither is their scene, with some of the most lit young skaters training together, such as the likes of Team Irene – following in the thane lines of the World Champions that have come before them….

Despite knowing Scott “Scoot” Smith, Rylan “Raggie” English and Bricin “Striker” Lyons for over a decade and having a few skate trips in Canada under my belt, I had never managed to make a Danger Bay. With Striker moving to the east coast of Canada to start the Church of Skatan, a downhill hostel come museum, he put a call out that this may well be the last of the Danger Bays! I had to make this one. Life was busy and taking time for skating had mixed priorities, but missing this would be a big regret. About 10 days before the event, I booked flights for my wife Zoë and I to make it happen!

Landing in Vancouver and staying a night, I got the chance to call by Flatspot Longboard shop and catch the owner Les Robertson for a chat. A cool grass roots store that looks after its scene and supports events, complete with a wooden bowl and a dead helmet collection, it’s a great place for the DH Family. Les had put Striker and his wife and kids up out the back of the shop for a few days while they were in town. I took the opportunity to go wake up a sleeping Striker with a pillow fight and say hello to my old friend, it had been too many years! We chatted shit excitedly and suddenly it was real, I was going to Danger Bay!

I took a couple of days sightseeing and skated some of the BC classics like Britannia and Cypress while on the road. Taking the ferry over to Langdale, Sunshine Coast, was new ground for me, the scenery of where the Rocky Mountains roll into the ocean is stunning and it can’t help but lift your mood. Driving the Sunshine Coast Highway into Pender Harbour had me grinning from ear to ear. We rocked up in the afternoon for dinner at the Grasshopper Bar where we met up with Striker and a couple of local skaters. The Grasshopper had an amazing balcony that looked out over the bay and caught the evening sunset over the mountains, this was a great spot to find on day one!

Next morning I went on my usual quest when I arrive at any new track. Go walk the hill. I drove out to the Danger Bay track, parked up and went for a walk. Looking at the lumpy, gravel ridden, cracked up collection of chunder that was the track, I had to laugh; one of the worst condition tracks I have skated on, including the UKDH races!

I got a feel for it though and decided, on a track like that, the Skate Gods decide who advances and who’s in the hay. My best laid plans meant nothing here, just skate my best and see where that takes me!

Part of Danger Bay is getting the opportunity to skate the local spots. Often at events we are asked not to skate the local roads, DB is the opposite. Random skate sessions are popping up all over the place, (except for the Danger Bay track itself).

Dump Road is a Team Green oldie and I head there to see what it’s all about. Arriving I’m not disappointed, there is a crew of about six people skating already, running uplifts in an open back pickup truck. I grab my board and say hello, they are welcoming and in moments I am dropping runs on the hill in a pack of friendly faces. Chatting on the uplifts I learn that they are from different places and most haven’t met before, it’s not an organised skate, just these are the people at Dump Road in that moment. A few more skaters join us and I start enjoying the road. There is a good left sweeper that you can nail in your tuck; it gets me finding my body positions again and feeling good on my board. The local community here don’t view us as a nuisance and we get plenty of waves from passing traffic; there is even a sign “Watch for Longboards” on one of the pull outs onto the hill, this is a great vibe where as a DH skater you feel like you belong. I leave after a couple of hours and have made a few new friends already, I’m liking Danger Bay…..

Heading back to town for a coffee I bump into Billy “Bones” Meiners, the Landyatchz Team Manager. We haven’t seen each other since he was last on Euro tour in 2015, so we grab a coffee at Java Docks and have a good chin wag. Billy isn’t racing this year, he is just in town to deal with event media for Landyatchz, he did however have his board with him…. We decide to take the opportunity to go skate together and have some fun before the event gets rolling in earnest. Driving a few miles up the road we arrive at the Jake’s Rash track. Skating in shorts and t-shirts on the open road we keep it really chilled, holding our lane. It feels great to take some lines with a friend I haven’t skated with for years, the sun is beaming and it’s nothing but miles of smiles. We take about five runs and I start to get a feel for the road, at least I recognise what section to expect next on this fairly long track. Billy is an effortless skater who flows the track with ease, by the time we are done I’m feeling comfortable on my board and the road. It’s been a good days skating. We head back to the Grasshopper to catch the sunset on their balcony and have a beer with some good food, this place is rocking.

The campsite is filling out now and the night rolls in. There are thrash metal and punk bands playing in a clearing in the woods, lit by car headlights. Fires pits are spread throughout the large grounds and there is a lot of energy about. I find the Team Green campfire and sink some beers with Scoot and Sandman. I’m not planning on an early start in the morning so I enjoy the moment and finish a perfect Danger Bay day.

Saturday is May Day Parade, Pirate themed this year. Zoë has sorted some Pirate head scarfs and eye patches and we rock up ready for the day. After the previous night I feel like I’m rolling on the deck of a ship too. This is when ‘Rage in the Cage’ goes down, skate hockey. It’s savage. Scoot is trying to stay out of the cage and in one piece for racing, unfortunately for him Team Green is a man short. He ends up getting signed up for his team and finds himself in goal, a hazardous place to be with the likes of King Brian in the cage! Hockey plays out for a few hours, Team Green and Team Irene smash it to the final, eliminating the mighty Landyatchz team with their star player Tom ‘Meatball’ Edstrand. The injuries are many, black eyes, more road rash than from skating, Scoot took a Hockey stick to the hand and can barely close it, Sandman’s foot will be hurting for a while…. I’m glad I don’t play Hockey!

In the afternoon my mind starts to drift to skating, time to head back to Jake’s Rash. I spend a few hours skating the road again, I like it, it’s my kind of hill. Rip N Grip with several up hill crests in corners that make you compress. Being a heavy guy here is going to play to my favour and I decide I’m in with a shot here. My biggest problem is learning the hill, lines really matter on Jake’s and there are a few sections of road that are rough and gnarly. Lots of the fastest people have been riding Rash for years, I need some more practice. My legs are starting to burn and I have to race in the morning, time to call it day.

It’s Danger Bay Race Day! I meet up with Scoot and the rest of Team Green at 7am for coffee and breakfast at Java Docks and we roll out together. Scoot’s friend lives on the track and we have permission to park on their driveway, right on the entrance of Carnage Corner. Scoot walks the track with me and gives me a few much appreciated pointers, the Skate Gods are laughing at the carnage that is to come.

Practice runs have no uplift. Even though I’m sapping energy hiking, I keep marching up the hill, I will only need stamina reserves if I advance, and unless I work out a line through Carnage Corner, that wont be happening! To make my life worse Striker has called a new rule for Open Class. “No Hands Down & No Grab Rail” WTF! Trying to surf the chunder at the apex is hard! I make the corner three times before pushing my entry speed too much and smack the hay wall a good one. Thankfully the rider behind me doesn’t pile-driver me and I get the hell out the track without significant injury. At least that’s crashing out of the way.

Time to race then.

There is no qualification here, just random brackets. I look at my quadrant of brackets, could be worse, could be better, I will take it. Adam Persson is in the first heat, he arrives at Carnage Corner well ahead of the pack, chills but hits some stones, PUCK DOWN, DISQUALIFIED.

Adam has gone out in the first heat of the first round. This is going to be hard.

Round one I have a fast dude called Clayton (Clay) Arthurs in my heat, coming into carnage we break tuck and look around, we have dropped the other two so we start chilling. Clay opens his suit and chills a bit more than me, I nearly run him into the hay and NEARLY grab rail to avoid him, damn that was close! I decide I will make the pass before Carnage Corner next time!

Second round, same again, me and Clay out front, he comes up and unzips his suit, I nip past for a clean line in Carnage, much better. Third round, it’s a bit more stacked now, we all set up for Carnage in a pack, I’m out front and try and keep my speed up. I’m too hot and the chunder at the apex chucks me about, I grab rail, puck down and still scrub out and crash the hay! Damn. At least there is the Dirty Thirties Class to race still, this year it’s fairly stacked, plenty of veteran racers here with Hugh Johnston, Raggie, Scoot and Kyle Martin to name just a few….

Dirty Thirties kicks off and I’m racing Hugh first round. I pull out front and get a clean line for Carnage, I can grab rail and put my puck down now I am not in Open Class! What a difference, now I’m on familiar turf and can soak up the chunder at the apex of Carnage Corner. Just like skating in Wales, haha. People are getting me on the push, but then I’m getting a good draft into the uphill crest before Carnage and can pass and get a clean line for the corner. I start advancing through the brackets.

Next bracket I meet Scoot who is still in the Open Class bracket, as well as Thirties, he has won every one of his heats so far. I pass him on the uphill crest, but he re-passes me into Carnage, I exit the corner in his draft and overtake before the final right, damn! First man to nip past Scoot on his home track this year. This gets me into the Thirties final and I realise I’m in with a shot!

The Final is Raggie, Scoot, Kyle and myself. Two Team Green, I feel a Canadian tag team move coming on, not to mention Kyle Martin who hasn’t lost a heat yet…. Kyle and Scoot kick out front and I get a nice double draft, they battle a little leaving the inside open before the uphill crest, I take it and steamroller through, but Raggie has my draft and gets sucked through with me.

As I uncurl and set up for Carnage, Raggie passes up the inside taking up valuable road. We take carnage side by side, but Raggie has scrubbed a little, I can hear wheels close behind me though… Time to tuck! I pull away from Raggie and feel I have good exit speed from the corner, Kyle is RIGHT in my draft, but I’m rolling now. No-one gets to pull out on me and I am speeding to the line! Done!

A win at Danger Bay! Kyle got 2nd, Raggie 3rd and Scoot 4th. I had hoped to get a Coast medal on this trip, getting a gold in Thirties when I’m 39 is a real treat that will stay with me.

Time to head back up the track to watch the Open Class Finals! Max Capps has been strong here and arriving at Carnage out front for all his heats so far. We all wait to see what happens, Danger Dane the Pender local is in front, Max bringing him heat in a close second, Scoot tight in behind with Sawyer in 4th. Through Carnage it gets hectic, Max keeps the heat on Dane, but it’s too hot, PUCK DOWN, Max is DQ! He gets back in his tuck with Scoot in his draft…. Dane crosses the line in first, Scoot got the draft on Max and takes a solid second and Sawyer advances to third. No-one from Pender Harbour has won a Danger Bay before, this year it’s a clean sweep Pender Podium! Holy smoke is the crowd going nuts! Striker is screaming his head off and people have flooded the track! F*ck Yeah! This is a legendary result for what may well be the last Danger Bay in history!

The podiums are a blast! Lee Dansie has snagged his first Coast Medal in Masters’ Class, I get a Gold to take home and call my own. I’m standing with Mark Short chatting excitedly and it’s the slide comp results…. 3rd and 2nd get called up by Striker, but then he hands the mic over to Jody Wilcox mumbling “I don’t want any thing to do with this”. There is a bit of tension…

Jody has a spiel lined up about looking for something new that hasn’t been seen before, what’s this about? They call 1st place. It’s West, for doing a massive 30ft long footbreak! Madness, but that is what Danger Bay is about! The crowd get it and West is a DB veteran favourite, everybody goes nuts and laughs, I turn round but Mark has slipped away…the podium clears and Striker steps up again on the mic.

“I HAVE A VERY SPECIAL AWARD TO MAKE NOW!!! WHERE IS MARK SHORT!!! FOR A DECADE OF EXCELLENCE I AM AWARDING MARK FOR HIS OUTSTANDING SKATING!!!!”

Mark is already 40 meters away when his head whips round with a big grin!! The crowd goes nuts! Mark is on a podium of his own and is given a gold, silver and bronze medal; Strike heralds all that he has done and achieved in the years of pushing skateboarding, it’s an awesome moment and I’m stoked for Mark, someone who has inspired me over the years and still does. Mark has more than ten years on me, but still skates like a beast, I hope to still have his drive for skating when I’m in my 50s. My first ever race, Bude Classic 2001, I had to race Mark in a heat and I remember him from then, he is part of UKDH history and someone who has helped shaped what we do. It feels great to be part of this and UKDH has made its mark on this chapter of history….

 

Sunday is a free day, no skating is organised. It’s needed after party night. There is however a tradition. Scoot’s family open up their home and over 100 skaters descend for a BBQ. The main campsite has shutdown now and those staying on for Jake’s Rash are offered to set their tents up in the garden and make home where they may. The vibe is chilled and super nice. It’s a great time to actually get to talk to people and I get to catch the host, Scoot’s sister Heather, along with Carol Rubin, a person I have only talked to online until now. Striker has provided several flats of beer and the burgers are hand made. Again the vibe of Danger Bay shows itself to be a unique and welcoming event, a bunch of friends that have grown into a tribe. I hangout till dark and then slip away to try catch up on sleep. I have more skating to do in the morning.

Freeride day at Jakes Rash. I know the shape of the road, but my lines have been based on an open road without leathers. It’s a damn sight faster now and I have a lot to learn still!

Adam is stoked I’m there and lets me follow him to see his lines and gets me up to speed. I love this track, it’s so fun, you can skate hard here, but don’t come off, rocks await!

I take so many runs that I am losing count, I have done more than 12 and haven’t missed one yet, the track is becoming an old friend. Time for some food and cooling off, the sun is out and it’s in the mid twenties.

More runs, more smiles, more faces. I get a couple with Graham Buksa and we mix it nicely, checking each other out as we know we will race in Masters’ Class. Max Capps and I put speed suits on in the afternoon and take some seriously fast runs down the hill that leave me stoked for racing; Max was slaying the hill and his style definitely influenced how I skated that hill. After 20 something runs my legs were fading and sticking to the race lines got tough, time to call it a day. Raggie did an amazing job at turning the runs around, I don’t know if anyone managed to skate every run that day?

Race day and I am feeling good. I skate 4 practice runs and kept improving, I wish there was another freeride day! Power Lines, a left right combo that had been a little elusive, clicked into place for me that morning. In Sandman’s left I still wasn’t super clean, people could make a meter of road on me there.

Well time to race!

First two rounds went well with me crossing the line in 1st, with no-one bringing me heat.

The third round was hectic! Some great racing, three wide through Power Lines, and more passes made in the heat than I could count. I crossed the line in first, but only just!

Masters’ category started next round and it looked like I would have to choose between Open Class or Masters’ Class. A few voices chimed in for my corner, and Scoot leant Stripper Ben his truck to go and pick me up at the finish line and get me back up the top of the hill keeping it flowing, game on!

This got hectic for me, I had to race a six man heat in Masters to advance, then I had Masters’ six man final back to back with Open final, the day was hot and I had no cooling time between runs. I aced both rounds of the Masters, getting out front and holding it for a win. There was a battle behind me in the final, Graham was in second, but crashed on a bad bit of surface at the last right. Scoot and West had been so close that their boards touched a couple of times, but Raggie pipped West at the line, and in the end it was Scoot in 2nd and Raggie 3rd! With another Coast Medal under my belt, I headed for the Open Final.

The Open Final was Matt Noseworthey, Capps, Adam and myself. I had been in the mix with Adam and Max freeriding and had finished ahead of Matt last two races rounds, I felt I had a good shot at this.

Riders ready, set, GO! Brain fart. Don’t know what happened, I had had some good starts in my previous heats. This one was terrible, one of my all time worst!

Max and Adam were off! Luckily Matt seemed to be on the same page as me and we raced off together, with me rolling away from him before the first right kink.

For a moment I thought I might get in the draft, Max and Adam were battling and not on perfect lines, but then they were drafting each other too, not giving an inch. I settled in to try and skate my lines super clean and sat about 7 meters behind from the show in front of me, they were going hard!

The track passed in a blur with me keeping my head down as much as possible, the last cresting right and Max and Adam are just in front of me and I tuck hard for the finish line, head fully down. Blink goes the finish line, I look up, SHIT!!!! Max and Adam are tumbling down the road with their boards rolling in different directions taking up most of the track.

I swerve hard and manage to thread the needle without crashing into either of them. WTF happened? I shut down and head back up the track finding Max first, he is OK nothing injured but well ragged, Adam is further down the track, he too isn’t injured, but his helmet looks written off and he is shaken. They had come into the finish side by side, not yielding any road to each other, there had definitely been contact, with Adam a little ahead and Max making a pass at the line, they had gone down together hard. It got called Adam 1st, Max 2nd, neither were happy, but to protest would make them both DQ (Raggie’s Rules), so no official protest was made by either of them… It was a bit of bummer.

Ultimately I am glad neither of them were injured, when we crash like that, shit can happen. Those are the moments that can change the game for any of us, and as anyone knows who has been through significant injury, if you could rewind that moment in time, you would let it go….

That’s hard to level with racing, where winning is why we are there. Otherwise we would be at a freeride, not a race! The hard part is that we are racing our fellow DH family. There aren’t really that many of us, it’s a small world. We need all of us for there to be races to go to, because all our races are run by skaters for skaters. Events are all born from racing our buddies, some have grown into international events of prestige, and others remain core, but they are all the same. They are Downhill Family.

When we race we should try be mindful of that, without the people we are trying to beat, there is no race. So insuring that we don’t end up injured and out of action is the most important thing we can do to ensure there is still someone to race against. It’s an oxymoron. Race to win, race to race another day.

For me personally I hate crashing, especially if a fellow skater is injured, even if it’s not my fault and there was nothing I could do about it. The witnessing of crashes accumulates in my mind and ultimately I fear that they are what will erode my drive to race. What I’m trying to say is, look after each other out there, we are family.

The dust settles on Danger Bay and the chapter closes. Thanks to all those that showed me hospitality, Coast Longboard Crew you rock! I have only just left and I already want to come back…….

Bought brand new in 2018. I’m Addicted, This board is the single closest feeling to snowboarding, the turns are so tight and smooth it transforms any piece of flat ground into in awesome slope. It really is the ultimate carving machine!

Getting the right fit for your slide gloves is super important.

If you go to small, you’ll damage the gloves much easier putting them on, or you might not even be able to get them to fit in the first place.

Go too large however, and you’ll have a baggy fit – which leaves parts of the glove more likely to drag on the road surface, and decreases your control.

We get asked for the correct sizing all the all the time – so we’ve made this handy chart to help you get it right!

We have only tried this with our own gloves, we have no idea if this will work with other brands. Everyone’s hands are different, if you’re not sure, get in touch before ordering and we’ll do our best to make sure you get the right size!

Check out the Freeride and GT Race Gloves here!

Bought and collected from the worshop in Sheffield coming up 15 years ago. One of three, the other two well used but this one still in mint condition – somehow nice to see but also a pity it hasn’t had much use.

Had this board for a long time. I’m on my 4th re grip !

Lush Teamrider Jonny Braund is the British Downhill Skateboarding League’s 2017 Champion!

Jon has been killing it all year, and he’s one of the nicest dudes on the UKDH scene to boot. Congratulations buddy!!

Jon follows his teammate Pete Connolly (who was the champion first year) – so we have Lush boards on the podium top spot for two years running! Pete has been busy breaking world speed records this year…

The British Downhill Skateboarding League has been running two years now. It aims to grow downhill skateboarding in the UK via a friendly points-based race league at existing UK longboard events. Check out britishdownhillskateboarding.com for more!

Here’s a version of the final results for 2017. Congratulations to everyone who entered!!

Looking forward to seeing you at BDSL events in 2018!

This is Part 3 of 3. Click for Part 1 and Part 2.

Regular readers will know that teamrider and UK Downhill legend Pete Connolly has been gearing up for a trip to “L’Ultime Descente” – an downhill gravity speed event, now in its second year, in Quebec.  

Following a trip to the north of England to find the fastest hill in the UK, and a series of equipment shakedown runs in Switzerland, Pete flew over to Canada with the intention of going faster on his longboard than he’s ever been.

However, what he ended up with was way more than a personal best… Pete became the first person in history to go over 91mph on a skateboard, and is now the fastest downhill skateboarder on the planet!

New record: Fastest skateboard speed achieved (standing) – 146.73 km/h (91.17 mph). Congratulations to Peter Connolly (UK) Peter's breathtaking record attempt took place at L’Ultime Descente in Les Éboulements, Quebec, Canada – a gravity sports event. The event invites experts in skateboard, luge, in-line skates, gravity cars and gravity bikes to try and achieve the highest speeds. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀"Speed has always been a driving force in what makes me skate," says Peter. "Since I first started skating downhill I have always enjoyed going fast and pushing my top speed." "After attending L’Ultime Descente in 2016, purely to skate the fastest I ever had, I came away with a new goal: to come back in 2017 and set the world record. Skate Faster is my mantra and it relentlessly pushes me to achieve new speeds!" ____________________________________________________ #skateboarding #speed #speedy #downhill #downhillskateboarding #guinnessworldrecords #officiallyamazing #skateboarder #sk8

A post shared by Guinness World Records (@guinnessworldrecords) on

L’Ultime Descent, what an event! After skating this hill in 2016 I knew two things for sure – I was coming back and I could go faster.

The view from the speed trap…

The road sign on the right might give you an idea of the gradient…!

The line here is not as simple as you would think; there is a mellow chicane before the speed trap, with cracks and bumps that can unsettle you at speed. How you navigate the various cracks, is ultimately how you pass through the speed trap.

At 80+mph your board is sensitive and un-weighted, the wind will get under you and pull you out of your tuck, if you let it. You need to keep your tuck neutral enough to remain in full balance at all times, and be able to make corrections without changing your body position. The hill is not as easy to skate as it looks.

One of the large cracks in the road… avoid!!!

Day 1 passed in a blur of speed and I tried to dial in a good line for the speed trap, avoiding a crack that runs from the kerb across three quarters of the road. My second run hit 82 mph, an improvement on last year’s speeds already, and in subsequent runs my speed crept up progressively. I was sitting in 5th place at the end of the day, I knew that I had to improve my line and went to sleep dreaming of alternatives.

Day 2: First run, try a new line. I ride my ideal line, it takes me over lots of the cracks and bumps, instead of around them, let’s see what happens… No wobbles and it’s a better line, I get a straight setup for the speed trap. With my line sorted I start pushing it on the next two runs and hit 84mph consistently.

My confidence on the hill cements, I feel I can go for it now.

Lunch break, and the wind starts picking up. For the afternoon session I break out my new leathers, a custom made aero suit that I have been working on since February with Chris from 9Lives.

Pete’s super-aero leathers by 9 Lives, handmade in England especially for this attempt. Louis Laliberte Photo.

I haven’t skated this hill in them yet as the suit only has minimal protection. Armour and thick leather make you feel safer at these speeds and I have felt secure and familiar in my BTR suit thusfar. I haven’t wanted to change suits until I was confident in my line. The aero leather suit represents my commitment, speed above all else….

By now, a strong tail wind is blowing. Everyone is excited on the start line; we all know that the conditions are about as good as they are going to get for the event.

Suited and booted… SkateHouseMedia Photo

My first run feels insanely fast down the main section and I know it’s my personal top speed. Just before the speed trap some of the cracks unsettle me, my board wobbles a little and my arms come out of my tuck, lifting my chest up a bit. I catch it and tuck on, 140.62kph/87mph. I know from other people’s speeds this run that I am going to be fast if I get a clean run.

Next run and I don’t worry about pushing in hard or being quick to my tuck, just take my time to get settled into my body position.

Over the blind crest into the 18% grade part of the hill, remember to breathe and keep relaxed, blink, the speed trap is gone.

Try and uncurl, but the wind is SAVAGE!!!

I reach the apex in the sweeper and I have only just managed to lift my shoulders a margin and take my knee out, by now I am normally fully stood up.

Going this fast in an enclosed space brings my speed into focus, I am standing on my rail full lean, but start to run wide in the turn, the concrete wall is flashing by my left side. That moment burns bright in my mind.

I make the sweeper and know that run was the fastest I have ever been on a board!

Reaching the bottom of the hill and the riders there are shouting and jumping around as I pass. Getting off my board I need to lay on the road to get myself together…

The moment that Pete became the fastest person on a skateboard… ever! Photo by SkateHouseMedia.

146.73kph/91.17mph, how did that happen!?

We have one more run left in the day, I now have some fear about going through the sweeper at that speed again, but I know if I don’t take this run I would regret it forever, time to send it!

The run is tight, but I get some crosswind that blows me about a meter sideways before speed trap, I am better prepared for the sweeper this run and stay in full control.

Ever tried airbraking from 90mph? Relax… Louis Laliberte Photo.

146.14kph/90.80mph for my last run of the day. I think I have a few more grey hairs after that day’s skating. My speed is standing as the fastest of the day for skateboarding and is a new World Record; I still can’t believe the speed myself… There is one more day of the event left though; it’s not in the bag yet.

Day 3: Feeling comfortable on the hill after yesterday’s skating, I drop in for the first run of the day with a smile on my face.

I am curious about my aero leathers still and want to have more data, 133.16kph run, this turns out to be the fastest speed set that day. The wind today is slightly across, we are not going to see the speeds obtained yesterday.

The riders know this and everyone starts having fun, skating in packs and getting footage of the hill. On my second run I kick-off with my friend Kami San for some filming and so don’t clock a speed that run. I spend the afternoon catching up with some of my luge friends and filming a few clips, just enjoying the last few hours of the event without the pressures of trying for top speeds.

Some of the fastest skaters in the world… here to have fun!

The session finishes and the winners from each category go for a photo shoot on the hill before the main prize presentation with all the riders. My friend & training buddy, Damien Andrey, won Luge with a speed of 101.83 mph! He has eaten poutine at least once a day since arriving in Canada and has become known as Team Poutine, as such he takes a portion of poutine with him for his photo shoot.

Pete and Damien, training partners from the Swiss Trip, now the fastest luger and skateboarder at the event. You can read about that trip here…

At the end of L’Ultime Descente there are four skateboarders in the 90mph club. Tim Del, Anders Inde and Max Capps join myself in being the first people to hit 90mph on skateboards on the 15th September 2017. I’m sure more will follow shortly and I’m sure there will be a 100mph club soon too…. I just hope I get the opportunity to join it!

The certificate is a nice addition to Pete’s Speed suit and aerohelmet…

Records were smashed in every category! Louis Laliberte Photo.

I had amazing help from quite a few people in my preparation for this record attempt.  Lush Longboards have supported me through achievements and injuries for over a decade now, my Speedbyrd deck is perfect for me, I wouldn’t want to skate anything else!

I have been with Sabre Trucks since their creation, being the first fully forged precision truck for downhill, their innovation and quality is up there with the best… I was riding the CF38 truck with 170mm hangers.  I have been on this same set since the beginning of the 2016 season, doing the whole Euro tour/BDSL season and countless freerides and mountain bombs and now TopSpeed on this set, I TRUST these trucks with my life.

Stephan Risch has an eye for detail and clean lines, his aero helmets are exceptional and something I have skated in for years because I believe in them and I know that I’m faster in my Risch!

Stephan Risch, maker of the fastest skate aerohelmets in the world.

Chris from 9 Lives Leathers has become a friend over the years of repairing my battered leather suits.  When I approached him to try make some aero leathers back in February, he was game for a collaboration. Between us we designed and made the pattern for an entirely new suit, taking months of prototyping and fitting to achieve. The aero leathers played a large part in the record speed, thank you Chris!

Fellow skate nerds, Vanny & Azzy supplied my bearings, these were not skateboard brand bearings but very special bits of kit. Damien helped me a lot with training before the event and having the UKDH scene to hook-up with and skate has been vital. My wife Zoe believes in me more than I do! Thank you everyone who has helped me!

Pete with UK training buddy and supplier of bearings Aaron Skippings… with a crazy road sign.

To Charles, Jonathan and all the L’Ultime Descente crew, thanks for putting on the most epic speed session of all time!

SKATE  FASTER!

The full results for Downhill Skateboard… check the impact of the tailwind on runs 9, 10 and 11!

UPDATE! Pete’s official certificate from Guiness World Records came through, so Pete is now officially the fastest skateboarder on the planet!! Congrats bro!!