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Longboard race in Kelowna, B.C. this weekend will see speeds in excess of 80 km/h, says organizer

Click to play video: 'Longboarding in Kelowna, B.C.'
Longboarding in Kelowna, B.C.
Longboarders will gather in Kelowna, B.C., this weekend for the inaugural Knox Mountain Downhill. Racers will zip down Knox Mountain Drive, and spectators are encouraged to take in the weekend event – Aug 19, 2022

Scores of longboarders will be gathering in the Okanagan this weekend for the inaugural Knox Mountain Downhill.

The two-day event, which is expected to attract between 60 and 100 longboarders, will see racers tear down Knox Mountain Drive in Kelowna, B.C.

One organizer expects speeds north of 80 km/h on the steep and windy 1.5-km course. Qualifying will take place Saturday, with racing on Sunday.

Co-organizer David Befus says Kelowna has history in hosting longboarding events — the Skylands Downhill — and they’d like to make the Knox Mountain Downhill an annual event.

“I’ve been super fortunate to work with a great team within the Kelowna Longboard Alliance and the Kamloops Longboard Club,” said Befus, a Kelowna resident. “We’ve teamed up to put this on.”

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An aerial view of the lower portion of Knox Mountain Drive in Kelowna. Global News

Befus continued, saying, “We’re looking to carry on that tradition of racing. We’re looking to keep this event coming back and maybe expand and do more.”

The event will be open to the public, though road closures and parking restrictions will be in effect during the event. The lower 1.5 km of Knox Mountain Drive, from the base to the first lookout, will be closed to vehicle traffic beginning Saturday at 7 a.m.

Click to play video: 'Summerland Longboard Race'
Summerland Longboard Race

“During this time, pedestrians are permitted to enter the area to watch the event from designated spectator areas,” the city said in announcing the road closures.

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“Hikers are also permitted to access area trails including the Apex Trail when the downhill course is not in use by participants or shuttle vehicles. Event volunteers will be stationed on-site to ensure safe passage of pedestrians and hikers throughout the event area.”

For those not in the know, longboards are stretched-out skateboards. Usually, racers compete in full helmets and racing suits. They’ll also be competing in heats of four racers, akin to snowboardcross.

“It’s a pretty freeing experience not having a car underneath you (at racing speeds),” said Befus. “It’s just you, the road and the sound of your wheels. It’s a great experience.”

Click to play video: '90-year-old longboarder carves new path in Nanaimo neighbourhood'
90-year-old longboarder carves new path in Nanaimo neighbourhood

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