Monday, November 07, 2011

Speed! Thrills! Women! FUBU Skate Race Recap

The 1st Annual FUBU Race Weekend was, by all accounts, a spectacular success. Women of all skill levels were encouraged to come out and skateboard, in a fun and welcoming series of races and events, presented by Toronto Girls Longboarding.

The inimitable Ms. Zhou from Skate Invaders
powering her way to victory

More Women Skaters Please!
Skateboarding is a heavily male dominated sport -- there are many more men who skate than women. This can lead to a self-perpetuating, testosterone-laced sub-culture which isn’t very open to distaff participants. It can be intimidating, awkward, or simply not receptive to women. (Not that it’s necessarily intentional.)

FUBU Race Weekend Poster
A few years back, several female skaters from OLF started getting together for informal ‘girls-only’ sessions and lessons, which they labelled ‘For Us, By Us’ -- FUBU -- to distinguish from the regular sessions going on.

This continued sporadically until this year, when it was decided to hold a larger, more organized gathering to which newer women skaters would be invited, with the intent of fostering a supportive, friendly atmosphere.

A considerable amount of planning, logistics, and stoke later, it all came together in the form of FUBU Race Weekend...

Two Frenetic Days of XX Skateboarding Fun
On Saturday, there was a casual ‘twilight cruise’ along the waterfront, followed by a unique film screening and then a raucous after-party at Club 54 (a notorious Hogtown skater-haven). Alas, I missed out on these festivities due to the Tour de Bloc bouldering comp, an altogether different form of stoke...

Meanwhile, Sunday witnessed a slalom race which was extremely popular and hard fought. Finally, the weekend was capped off with intense toonie-races from the top of the Red Canoe at Canoe Landing Park, as well as a secret BBQ. We unfortunately didn’t get to the butt-boarding contest...

A fantastic turnout at the 1st Annual FUBU Race Weekend - Nov 6, 2011

My good friend Aubrey Iwaniw is one of the motive forces behind FUBU, so I volunteered to help out on race day with some of the start and finish line judging.

I always relish the opportunity to hang around and do very little while ostensibly ‘helping out’, so this was an easy task for me to perform. I also helped my pal Bill guard the swag table from sticky-fingered interlopers -- this mostly consisted of Bill drinking 2L of chocolate milk and talking about hydraulic systems...

[In case you were wondering, guys were also welcome to attend, but primarily in a supportive role as spectators and volunteers, rather than competitors in the races.]

Race Results
The day was crisp and clear, the temperature cool and refreshing. Perfect conditions for racing against friends and foes! There were a lot of big smiles and laughter -- and a couple of hard bails. Joyce: hope your ankle heals fast!

Chantell weaving through the cones
Photo: Jonathan Nuss

The official results (via Aubrey) are listed below. Congratulations to everyone who participated!

2011 FUBU Stoke Award Winner Diane S.
Observe the lovingly hand-carved and personally autographed trophy,
crafted with exotic African hardwoods by hydraulic artist Bill Flynn

Amateur Slalom (Top 3)
1. Irene
2. Binny
3. Lee-Anne

Pro Slalom (Top 3)
1. Lisa
2. Andi
3. Chantell

Time Trials (Top 6)
1. 1:19.3 Chantell
2. 1:19.7 Andi
3. 1:24.6 Lisa
4. 1:25.9 Diane
5. 1:26.9 Aubrey
6. 1:27.3 Mioche

See the full race results here for everyone

Toonie Race (Top 8 )
1. Cindy
2. Chantell
3. Andi
4. Ponyta
5. Knives
6. Lisa
7. Diane
8. Micki

FUBU Photos & Media & Official FUBU Video
More photographs I took from the Sunday race day: here.

However, mine was a drastically limited perspective of the event -- I also want to share some other people’s rich experiences (may require being logged into Facebook, and/or being in the respective person’s networks to view...).

Check out:
  • Jonathan Nuss’s set -- Nuss always takes wicked shots (I’ve used a couple for this post); he’s an up and coming photographer
  • Cindy Z’s album -- lots of great pics (by Brad Statham) from the slalom racing, which I missed out on as I was guarding the swag table with Bill. 
  • Michelle S’s album
  • Rob C’s set on Flickr
  • RPG’s set on Flickr
And finally, without further ado, here’s the glorious, joyful, Official FUBU Race Weekend Video, edited by the aforementioned Zhou. It beautifully captures the vibe:

I’ll update this post with other photo and video links, as others upload them...

Bonus photo: From the archives -- OG OLF FUBU!

Back in the day... Photo by ??
(We miss you CT)

Congratulations to the Organizers!  
Maybe I haven’t been going to enough skate throw-downs lately to judge this properly, but the organization for this session was phenomenal. Aubs, Christina Takaoka, Cindy Zhou: you should be extremely proud of your success holding this event. You’ve created a huge amount of stoke, in a way that was super fun and supportive -- and I look forward to seeing more women skating as a result of your efforts.

Organized organizers organizing the FUBU organization...
Photo via Jonathan Nuss

Props also go to the fellows helping with the logistics and other details: Ryan, Jonathan, Bill, Chris, Rob (C&S), Adam, Mike, Matt... Chivalry isn’t dead after all.

Thank you, sponsors
Thank you to FUBU’s generous sponsors! I was impressed with the support given in terms of prizes and general swag. It’s really important that vendors and distributors do everything they can to encourage women to participate. A little swag goes a long way...

Tons of awesome swag and prizes from our generous sponsors!

Sponsors of the event included:
Loaded Boards
• Orangatang Wheels
• Sector 9
• Rayne Longboards
• Switchback Longboards
• Longboard Living
• S&J Sales
• Concrete Wave Magazine
• Skate Invaders
• UofT Longboarding

Congratulations once again to the organizers, the volunteers, and most especially the participants. I’m sure next year will be even bigger and better! Female skaters are a key part of our skate community -- I’m thrilled that inclusive events like FUBU are taking place.

Secret bonus: more archival FUBU photos... 
A classic FUBU poster
Aubrey sent me some classic photos from prior years of FUBU gatherings and requested that I post a few.

This weekend may have been the ‘1st Annual’ race, but as I mentioned above, the gals have been getting together for several years...

Herewith a brief selection which I am delighted to share with you...

FUBU ladies slashing up the Skywalk
Photo: Janelle Leclair
Janelle was a significant documenter of early OLF sessions. Her colourful and expressive photos contributed to my starting to hang out with the OLF crew... Everyone always looked so infectiously enthusiastic.
Photo: Mickey Vonesh? 
Bex bringin’ the steeze. Photo: MV
Pulchritude at the Poop Chute...
Photo: ??
Female Fiesta! Another session poster