DUBAI // The first longboarding competition for women in the UAE took place on Friday, bringing avid skaters from around the Emirates together.
Aries Vosotros, 28, has been doing the extreme sports since 2011 and said it was “the stoke”, or the buzz, of the sport, which has made her so passionate about it.
“It makes me feel happy”, said the Filipina who lives in Ras Al Khaimah.
A longboard is a bigger version of a skateboard that has better stability and greater distances can be covered.
The second Summer Drop event in Mushrif Park involved longboarders, both male and female, skating downhill over a 1.5-kilometre strip. The winner can complete the distance in about a minute.
“This [event] is only once a year, but we [skate] every Friday,” said Ms Vosotros. “There’s never been so many people here as today, so it’s great to have this event just once a year.
“I would love to see more girls competing and doing this sport. A lot want to join. In the Philippines there’s a lot of girls doing it. It’s a dangerous sport but this location is good for beginners, unlike the hills we use in RAK, which are steeper and faster.”
Last year, there were only two girls at the event, but with six this year they could make it into a competition. Twenty seven longboarders meant that there was plenty of competition among the men.
Belle Formoso, 24, travelled from Khor Fakkan, where she works as a multimedia artist. She has been in the UAE for four months and longboarding for two years.
“I didn’t know there was a community this big and I didn’t think you’d be able to skate here,” she said. “I’m so excited to be able to compete. It’s good for girls to see others competing because they’ll be more open to trying this themselves. More and more are becoming interested in it.”
Competitor Kristine Paner, 27, travelled from Abu Dhabi. “It’s so good having a girls’ competition. Last year we were only a couple of people so we couldn’t compete but we requested a girls’ race. I’m so happy more girls are taking part this year.”
She said the sport gave her an “adrenalin rush”, referring again to “the stoke”, which was a common theme among all the boarders. “I enjoy taking risks.”
Ms Paner said she first began skating with friends, but once she got into downhill longboarding, “the rest was history”.
“We travel every weekend to Dubai because there’s no downhill in Abu Dhabi. We come here just to skate.”
Jirek Guting, 27, also came from Abu Dhabi. The human resources executive from the Philippines said the thrill, the speed and the adrenalin was what got her hooked two years ago.
She also took part in the head-to-head race where the winner takes on the person in the next heat until it is down to one.
“We’ve come from so many different emirates to do this but mostly it’s about the socialising.”
Dara Pedras, 35, one of the organisers, said: “It has helped people who had nothing to do on their day off. We’ve taught them how to longboard.”
Peachy Monteza, 31, is a longboarder but was not competing. “This is such a good activity for people rather than just going to malls. It’s affordable and it gives people a good activity to be active in their life on their day off,” she said.
“Longboards cost about Dh800 to Dh1,000 but many people buy them second-hand. All of us share a common day off, Friday, so this is our way of coming together as a community, through the whole year – even the summer.”
Updated: May 1, 2015 04:00 AM