We were interested to read about street luge – an extreme sport that is not very main stream but one that claims to be as high risk, if not higher , than many of the others. When travelling at speeds of up to 100 kilometres/hour, when your body is only a few centimetres from a tarmac road and you are reliant on gravity and a stout pair of shoes to slow your motion is it not surprising that the accidents are frequent.
Photo courtesy of Kent Kochheiser
Thanks to http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/urban-sports/street-luge.htm for this useful insight into the evolution of the sport.
‘History has it that street luge evolved from Skateboarding; lugers from all over the United States and Europe claim to have started the sport, yet no one is really certain where it developed, and when, the evolution between skate and luge occurred.
Street luge is an extreme sport that’s popular with many skateboarders and outdoor sports enthusiasts. It combines the best of skateboarding, sledding and sheer guts to form one of the most thrilling and dangerous sports out there. Riders use a wheeled sled to speed down paved surfaces, often reaching speeds of 60 mph (96 kph) or more. The sleds are similar to those seen in the Winter Olympics, but they have wheels instead of runners. As you ride, your body rests mere centimeters above the ground, allowing you to feel every bump and twist in the road.
This sport is believed to have started in the 1970s, when skateboarders learned they could increase their speed by lying down on their boards. This technique was known as “buttboarding” and was performed on traditional skateboards or long boards. Competitive riders used this technique to win races, though high injury levels led most boarders to discontinue the technique by the end of the decade.
By the 1990s, riders found that they could modify their boards to enjoy the speed of lying down while lowering the risk of injury. Since that time, street luge has become a sport in and of itself. Some riders take part in this sport recreationally, while others follow a competitive track. Street luge has played a part in extreme sports events like the X-Games and the Gravity Games, while serious riders head to the annual Street Luge World Cup to show off their skills.‘
This is cool stuff although the fact that there is now little TV coverage means that it is definitely not main stream, it has gone underground. There is a lot more to learn about this extreme sport and we shall endeavour over the next couple of days to let you know more.
Enough for today but check out this action from 4Rracing which shows Rian James Hart, the 2004 World Cup Champion in action at the Ohio World Cup. This looks so much fun but so so dangerous.