Skate slalom races through downtown

Hood River further solidified itself on the West Coast skateboarding circuit last weekend when it hosted Hood River Haulin’ — the sixth of eight FCR World Championship skate slalom events in 2002.

The top slalom skateboarders from the U.S. and abroad invaded the downtown streets for two days of high-intensity road racing that left a few competitors with skinned knees and others with bruised egos.

Utilizing an elevated launch system and the same Columbia Avenue race course as the April 20-21 Soapbox Derby, the head-to head races took the world’s top Open and Professional racers downhill from 4th to 8th street through a series of cones.

Reaching speeds of close to 30 miles per hour, only the most nimble riders were able to navigate their way through the gauntlet without knocking over an obstacle or two.

Winners were separated by the thousandth of a second, and points were awarded to the top four in each category.

Professional division points leader Paul Dunn of Los Osos, Calif., won Saturday’s dual slalom event by a mere 15 thousandths of a second over second-ranked Gary Cross of Lake Tahoe, Calif. Barrett Deck of Huntington Beach, Calif., finished third.

Fifth-ranked Charlie Ransom of Incline Village, Nev., barely outskated Dunn on Sunday to win the dual tight slalom event by just 17 hundredths of a second.

In Saturday’s open division, Paul Price of London, England (shown below) took home the top prize, beating out Miko Biffle of Capitola, Calif., and Steve Johnson of Seattle. Price also managed to string together Sunday’s best effort to earn a clean sweep.

The FCR Skate Slalom Series continues Sept. 15-16 in Capitola, Calif., with the Capitola Cup and Santa Cruz Classic. The season culminates with the World Championships Oct. 11-13 in Morro Bay, Calif.

National sponsors for the FCR series include Vision Skateboards, Comet Skateboards, Bahne Skateboards, Dagger Sunglasses, Life-Link.

Local sponsors Full Sail Brewing and Obsidian Snow and Skate also helped make the Hood River tour stop possible.

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