Thursday, May 28, 2009


So who breaks the sound barrier, goes by in a blurrr, is clad and leather and knows no fear?

It is a bit much to sort out all at once, but I'll do my best. Each rider (longboard rider that is) carefully devises their own particular look. The colour of the leathers, the striping, logo designs, even the type of duct-tape repairs, demarcate the rider, set them apart from the other red, black and white blurs that scream past on the race track. Each helmet decalled precisely to the individual specifications. Who is that masked man? (My son above in photo) That speeding woman? The answer is easily arrived at even at high speed, granted that you have a fast enough camera to capture them on film. They name themselves, or one another. This is not like nicknaming a baby: pumpkin, sweet-pea, not even peanut. No, these are fearless adrenaline fiends.

One of them happens to be my son, whose infantile nick-name will remain undisclosed. But he, is Wolf, not Wolfman, not, Wofie (unless you've known him since he was a child--which he now is not), he is Wolf, as in Wolfgang. No this is not a name given to him by his peers, but rather by his mother in a bleary-eyed moment at his birth. It is a label he seems to wear well, like a fine fitting suit, though he'd prefer that suit to be custom leathers. For now he will have to make due with his well worn, proudly worn, second-hand leathers that are still holding together through the wonder of duct-tape.

Armadillo. That is what I think. Armadillo Man. Who are you and your clan that I see around the race track. What superior skills and strength belie your costume? My comic-book loving inner child beckons quietly to itself, wondering what drives these people to hurl themselves at speeds that I know for certain that my stomach would not withstand. I become queasy on swing sets. Where did my son get his titanium nerves, if not from me? Perhaps it skipped a generation, back to my spitfire flying grandfather? At the time, screeching through the air at one of the fastest planes in the world.

Post helmet good hair. This is the final criteria for making it as a longboarding super hero. And not just good hair, but exceptiona hair. I have never seen sweaty heads look so good as I have at these races. Helmet hair, worry not. I will be on the look out for the best examples out there. The mohawk that my son sports is merely one fine example of a post hemet coif. The colours and styles are to be admired, not necessarily emulated, but certainly enjoyed by the spectators behind the hay.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sorry Gold Rush Challenge Fans: My Photos Suck

My photos suck. There is no other way to put it. They are too blurry and too late. I never seem to be looking at the right angle to get the shot, even when I set my fancy SLR-type camera to sports mode, where the shutter snaps one after another so that, in theory, one can capture an athlete in full range of motion.

In the past, when photographing my daughter riding a trained dolphin, or my son cliff diving, or my hubby swinging a field-hockey stick while in full run, things worked out reasonably well. Nothing award winning, but passable. I haven't been so lucky while trying to show some of the awesome racing I have witnessed over this past week, first at the Attack of Danger Bay at Pender Harbour, BC, and then at Britannia Beach's Gold Rush Challenge.

I am utterly humbled

by the true sports photographer who has the eye, and angle, and shutter finger. I am best at shooting thi

gs like posed children, landscapes, flowers, buildings, and anything else that doesn't move. Documenting longboarding racers is about as far from still as one can get. Filming the space shuttle surely would be easier.

I would love to see what early photographer Eadweard Muybridge would do with my dilemma; how to truly capture these bodies in motion. He proved that a galloping horse does in fact remove all four feet from the ground, which was a hotly debated question at a time pre-moving pictures (that's pre-Youtube too).

What's the trick to capturing the drift, the grabbed rail, the stale-fish, or stylin' corner with hands in the air while taking the inside line? This is what I faced! Yet, I couldn't fiddle with my camera the whole time, not while shaking both fists in the air and whooping like a maniac as Wolf, my speedy son, went tearing around the corner. I was just so caught up in the moment, well-the photo says it all.

There is his shoulder in the lower left-hand corner, just leaving the frame. I later switched to video. The results, though improved, were not much better. And so I'll stick to the posed stills and writing and leave the real sports photography to the pros: those who can ride a longboard backwards while filming! It's true; I saw it with my own eyes. I even tried to capture that spectacle on camera, but no guarantees that it worked out.

And so I offer praise to all those high speed docu-gods. Keep the shutters snapping and the rest of us will be able to verify what we think we saw in the blur of leather and boards.

Some fine photo work can be seen on:

and John Cameron's photos of Wolf at Saltspring Slasher!!!

Fine work folks. Fine indeed;)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great writing sites:

As you may notice from my profile, I list writer as well as mother in my self description. You may wonder what on earth do I write besides about longboarding and family issues. Well the truth is, a lot. I write fiction as can be seen at:

I also write other memoir as read on:

I'll update other publications when they go live on line.
ciao for now.

Momsteam blog

I previously started another blog on where I also post articles for parents whose progeny are into skating/boarding. My blog there is:

For anyone who cares to follow both, great, go ahead. Or you can catch it all here.


Mom, I want leathers.

With cereal poured, juice in glass, and my coffee nearly cold, breakfast
was well on its way. My daughter looked up from her bowl of Koala Krisp
and announced, "Mom, I want some leathers."

I nearly choked. This request unto itself would not be so surprising if it were coming from my motorcycle riding father, who has retired into a weekend warrior. But this request was uttered by my eight year old daughter after a weekend of watching her older brother, Wolf, scream down a race track on his longboard at a 60km/hr or more. The implications in those for words are undeniable. My daughter wants to longboard, just like her brother.

Without missing a beat, Finn, my five year old, piped in, "Yeah, and I want a helmet and knee pads and elbow protectors (he did actually say protectors), and special glubs (meaning slide-gloves, if you aren't familiar with five-year-oldese)." Then he proceeded to finish off his cereal and yogurt.

This would have all been different if Wolf had stayed in ballet all these years. Perhaps Coco would have been asking about point shoes, hair nets, tights and the next round of dance examinations. I was a ballet mother for three and half years with my son. He was good, and then a growth spurt caused pain in his knees, so he took a hiatus and discovered longboarding. He's hooked.

And so, last night, we went for a walk, or I should say, a cruise around the neighbourhood. My husband, Graham practicing foot-braking under Wolf's instruction, Coco and Finn pushing along side. I planted one foot in front of another on terra firma. I have never skateboarded, not even an old banana board from when I was a teen. I am a walker. Okay, perhaps I'm a little chicken too. Even Graham and Coco looked so at ease carving down the road in front of our house on the longboard Wolf built at school for his sister. "It's a nice ride," Graham said as he glided to a stop. "Maybe Wolf can help set me up; that was fun."

That's how our evening ended, and our saga continues. I wasn't cut out as a dance mama, but perhaps I can wear the label of longboarding mother a little easier. For now, I am mama behind the hay bales.