I commend the organizers of the Giant’s Head Freeride longboarding event on the August long weekend, for I think they must have taken all the necessary safety precautions to run a safe and exciting three days of competition.
Unfortunately it is after the day’s racing the potential problems arise.
Like revellers after a concert seeking the afterparty, the longboarders appear to want to keep that downhill thrill going.
The temptation seems too great to resist (and it is almost all downhill from the mountain) for these individuals not to race down to Rotary Beach by the lake.
Their chosen route looks to be Solly Road, a public road shared by vehicles and themselves at the same time.
Singularly, or in groups of two, three or even more, they streak down the road in the late afternoon at speeds of 50, 60 or maybe even as much as 70 kilometres an hour, followed by support cars, vans and small buses containing individuals with arms hanging out of windows and sunroofs, clutching cameras to video the ride.
Just before the sharp S turn on Solly Road, Gillespie Road enters Solly below a fairly steep grade to the hill.
The last thing a motorist turning left to go uphill on Solly expects to see rapidly approaching them is an individual zipping along at breakneck speed with no brakes, wearing maybe a helmet and maybe gloves as safety gear.
Visibility at the corner is not the best to start with and an apparition suddenly barreling towards them is a recipe for disaster.
As is often said, someone is going to get killed out there.