Downhill Skateboarding in Gran Canaria
Aron Hailey went exploring for endless corners and ended up on a volcanic island with an iON Adventure Camera.
Words by Aron
My friend Bodhi Keen and I went on a longboarding trip to Gran Canaria. The trip was about finding new hills; pushing our riding and meeting the locals. We knew from research that this was going to push our riding and the landscape is massively suited for longboarding.
The location was chosen due to Bodhi’s family going on a family holiday. With a brief look into the longboarding scene, we knew we had to turn it into a skate trip. That was the best decision we could have made. Being a volcanic island, the landscape around the volcano, is all mountainous. People have to get around so the roads going across the island create the most amazing places to skate. With miles and miles of hairpins, sweepers and perfect road surfaces there were plenty of places for us to skate. With some research before the trip we had some idea of what we were up against and which parts of the island offer the best skating. We were in for a treat.
I brought along the iON Adventure camera due to the GPS functionality and being able to see where we went and how fast we were going. This was a great motivator for going a bit faster and then seeing how we did when we got back. I didn’t think my average speed was going to be that quick but I was pleasantly surprised that I was going quite fast a lot of the time with some quite high speeds it was a great indicator for my riding. Although we didn’t go stupidly fast on the trip the roads were more technical with continuous amounts of hairpins instead of long straights and tight sweepers. I found the best way to mount was on front of the car. This gave a good angle and a super steady image. It also allowed to follow the rider as closely as possible without running the risks of coming off the board filming and damaging ourselves and the camera.
Our big concern for the trip was our safety. Going into an unknown environment of skating has plenty of risks and we knew that there were quite a number of different risks that England doesn’t have. Mountains tend have to have drops by the side of the roads and then usually before that are guardrails. These are both bad news and were high on our avoidance list. Luckily for us the roads weren’t too quick which meant we could control our speeds quite easily without sliding out and skidding off into the any objects. Cars are always the biggest concern for us, but due to the nature of the roads, a lot of the places were actually safer to skate than in England. Not many people drive up into the mountains so there are not actually that many cars on the road. The few that are on the road can be seen for miles due to the way the roads are laid out.
You can spot every corner before you go into it and usually even further than that. This allowed us to push ourselves and take the worry of cars off our minds. Throughout the whole trip there were only 2 incidents both from myself. Luckily neither of them were too fast and I only came out with a bit of road rash and a couple of bruises. So overall the trip was pretty safe, the best thing is to calculate the risks and don’t take any risks that a 2 minute wait can overcome. If you see a car wait… this is the best advice I can give as its definitely best to avoid any necessary interaction with a car even if you know you have room to pass them.
The riding as a whole was epic! The roads were came across were perfect. The surface tore apart our wheels but gave us the smoothest, most consistent slide. This boosted our confidence and allowed us to go faster and get sideways. This has really sparked our love for longboarding and will certainly lead to another trip. The local scene is definitely growing out there; we were only fortunate enough to meet one of the locals. This was still an absolute pleasure for us to get some insight of the local scene and the places we should skate. Getting an glimpse of the foreign culture has definitely motivated us to plan another trip For now, the cold English roads will have to suffice until next time.
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