MORRO BAY, Ca.
A team of California skateboarders is poised to make history this summer. The group, including some of the legendary figures in the sport, will kick off August 2nd in Newport, Oregon on a cross-country board trek that will take them nearly 3,000 miles. For some of the skaters, it will be a repeat performance.
Jack Smith, organizer of the venture known as Skateboarding Across America – On Board for Lowe Syndrome, first crossed the nation by skateboard back in 1976, joining two friends on a record-setting push from Lebanon, Oregon, to Williamsburg, Virginia, that spanned 32 days. A few years later, Smith teamed with veteran skaters Paul Dunn, Gary Fluitt and Bob Denike to improve his own mark, finishing the coast-to-coast transit in just 26 days in a trek that raised funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year he hopes to do even better.
Smith, Fluitt and Dunn will reunite in August to make a new push for the record books. With new teammates Nick Krest, Josh Maready and Scott Kam they plan to cut the trans-America skateboard journey to just 21 days.
“This time it will be a lot harder,” Smith said. Most of us are in our 40s now, we have jobs and families, and pushing a skateboard 150 miles a day isn’t so easy on old bones.”
Still, the skaters are confident that their quixotic venture will be triumphant. They plan to tap a new generation of specialized skating equipment to cover the long stretches of roadway, and they expect to be joined en route by some of today’s top skaters. But the real difference between this year’s journey and previous trips is more personal and more heartfelt than that.
Skateboarding Across America – On Board for Lowe Syndrome aims to draw attention to a rare genetic disorder that claimed the life of Smith’s 14-year-old son, Jack Marshall Smith, in May of this year. Originally known as oculo-cerebro-renal or OCRL syndrome, Lowe Syndrome was identified in 1952 by Dr. Charles Lowe and colleagues. It affectsboys, causing physical and mental handicaps and a range of medical complications.
My son has been an incredible inspiration to myself and many others whose lives he has touched, says Smith. This is my chance to pay him back for all that he taught me.
To make the journey in a record-setting three weeks, the team will need to cover about 150 miles a day, no mean feat on a skateboard, even for athletes a couple of decades younger. To make this possible, Skateboarding Across America hopes to attract a broad range of sponsors. All proceeds from the journey will be donated to the Lowe Syndrome Association.
Details of the cross-country skateboard trek, including the team’s itinerary, have been posted atwww.ncdsa.com/contest_registration.asp?ContestID=101
Information about Lowe Syndrome is available at www.lowesyndrome.org
Contact: Jack Smith, 805-597-5722