Japan, the land of the rising sun. A country steeped in history, beautiful people, lush scenery and amazing, curvy mountain roads. A secret to the rest of the world in regards to skateboarding, Japan is a paradise. Unlike Australia or America, where longboarding has really taken off, its longboarding community is incredibly meagre. However, there are a few keen Japanese longboarders who have dedicated themselves to the sport, and the incredible roads they call home. They call themselves “Downhill Skateboarding Wired”, and they’re on their way to great things.
“Downhill Skateboarding Wired”, based in Tokyo, consists of 16 members, ranging from ages 20-40. “We all have fun, and all share our passion for skateboarding”, says team leader Yoshinori Takuma. “I’ve been focusing on establishing the downhill scene here in Japan, though it’s not easy. However, the number of people practicing downhill has grown a bit over the recent years. I think there are around 30, at long last!!” Yoshinori and his brother Satoru were the first to establish the group, and have committed themselves to the learning and teaching of this amazing sport. Ayumi Oride, one of the team’s female members is super stoked to be a part of the whole scene. “I am so stoked! I’ve realized that since I’ve started practicing downhill seriously, I think about it all the time. Yes, I’m deeply addicted!”
The Japanese longboarding scene, unlike in Western society, has a limited grom supply. According to Ayumi, this is deeply worrying. “I want to see more girls and kids/groms getting involved. There are no downhill groms at all and it’s a little bit of a worrying situation in regards to the future of downhill skateboarding in Japan.” Satoru has other views. “Yes, I hope downhill in Japan gets bigger but not in a disordered way, because here in Japan, when something becomes trendy, a lot of people tend to do it just because it’s ‘cool’ and I am afraid that downhill skateboarding will be taken like that as well.”
Yoshinori says if you can take tight corners at reasonable speeds, Japan is the skate destination for you. “Here in Japan the roads are technical with consecutive curves. The average speed is around 40km-70km/hr depending on the spot we skate. There are also straight runs for speed, but I like technical more than pure speed.”
One of my friends said to me, “Once the Japanese start going to international races… we’re screwed.” And she’s pretty right. They’re dead set on perfecting the technicalities of the sport, which is very Japanese of them, and they’re perpetually stoked.
“From now on we’re planning to participate in races and events around the world so maybe we will see you guys and have fun together very soon!” Says Yoshinori.
Next time you’re planning an overseas skate trip (some people do!), don’t overlook Japan. These guys and gals are tearing it up, and are waiting for your arrival with open arms. “There are not yet a lot of Japanese DH riders but if you get a chance to come to Japan, contact us and let’s shred it together!” enthuses Ayumi, and with roads, people and culture as beautiful as Japan, why wouldn’t you? And as I’m sure you all are, I’m incredibly excited for their arrival on our turf.
“We’re looking forward to see you guys all!” – Satoru Downhill Skateboarding Wired Team members are:
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