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Sk8 Festival returns to Arlington

 

Christopher Andersson

Longboarders skate down the Centennial Trail at the beginning of the 8.5 mile sunset race on Sept. 24 at the Centennial Sk8 Festival in Arlington.

The fourth annual Centennial Sk8 Festival brought longboarders from across the country to Arlington to compete in races around the Centennial Trail on Sept. 24 and 25.

The festival is a sanctioned event from the International Distance Skateboard Association (IDSA) and brings longboard racers to the area.

Longboards are similar to skateboards but longer and designed more for distance traveling or racing.

"It's a great form of clean transportation, and it's a great way for families to bond and see nature from a little faster perspective than a pedestrian," said Angela Kuhn, one of the organizers of the event and an Arlington local.

"Everything's cooler on a longboard. Stress, problems of life, it all goes away as you glide inches from the earth at 10 to 15 miles per hour," said well-known longboarder Andy Andras, who was at this year's Arlington festival.

Kuhn likes that longboards are easy to learn as well.

"I love that the boards are longer and more forgiving," she said. "Even our young pre-school at-the-time child could learn."

The Centennial Sk8 Festival brought out a wide range of people and Kuhn said that is in part because it is easy to pick up.

"We've got people from all ages who come out for this," she said.

Kuhn's husband was a street skater growing up, she said, but moved to longboarding as a safer alternative.

"We got into longboarding in Arlington. When we first moved here the races were new and we participated, and since then we've been very involved, to the point of now running this," she said.

Snohomish local James Barry said he has been longboarding for two years now, but that it's great exercise. The 54-year-old recently completed 600 miles of longboarding in one month.

"I think it keeps me healthy and young," he said.

Barry has participated in the Centennial Sk8 Festival the last two years and said he likes the community.

"It's lots of fun and lots of people doing the same thing I like to do," he said.

"There's a lot of camaraderie in the sport and I love to support that," said Kuhn.

Andras also said he liked the people of the sport.

"We call it the distance skate family, all these people are all very fun and tight-knit. We all race a lot but we're all friendly," he said.

He holds the world record for longest distance traveled on a longboard in a day, with 309 miles completed in the 24 Hour Ultra Skate race in Miami.

Andras lives in Florida but said he enjoys traveling around to IDSA races.

"I never would've come to Arlington without this one, so now I get to come down to beautiful Arlington and check out the Centennial Trail," he said.

This year's festival included a film festival that was open to the public, and multiple races, including a kids race.

Kuhn hopes it continues to grow. "I hope that it brings something fresh to the community and something that the community members look forward to it every year," she said. "I hope it becomes a destination for longboarding."

Kuhn wanted to thank the sponsors and those who have helped the event including Arlington Lifeway Church, Kombucha Town, the Downtown Arlington Business Association, Stilly Diner, Cricket Wireless, Blackdog Longboards, Sioeye, Dwayne Lanes and the Arlington Co-Op.

More information is available at centennialsk8fest.com.

 

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