Protecting the noggin.
That’s what it was all about Friday as students from Skaha Lake Middle School cruised Skaha Lake on their long boards from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Taking part in the third annual 12-hour Long Board Relay was roughly 100 students from SLMS whipping around the beach while wearing helmets.
“Everybody has been enjoying themselves,” said Gurman Toor, 13, who has been long boarding for four years and made his own board in school.
Toor said this event was important as a lot of kids don’t wear their helmets because “they don’t think it looks cool.”
“We just want to show that you can have fun and stay safe,” he said. “It matters because we don’t want kids to bail and hurt themselves and end up in the hospital.”
Jared Lowenstein said it’s easy to ignore the peer pressure from the minority of students who mock those that wear helmets.
“It’s really important to wear a helmet. A lot of people don’t,” he said, adding it’s easy for him to ignore others as he only has one brain.
Lowenstein had been out the entire day and said it went great.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “It’s a great way to get around. It’s just a good pastime.”
SLMS Tech Ed teacher Travis Kroschinsky, who was out riding with the students, said he feels a great responsibility because students are making long boards in his class. He wants to make sure they are protecting themselves.
The group worked in conjunction with South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society and the students raised nearly $500.
With nearly 100 participants, Kroschinsky called it a starting point to growing the event.
“I’d like to see us build on this. Our focus this year is more on our school. I’d like to see more community participation,” he said. “I think there is definitely room to improve that way. Unfortunately, because of the teacher action last year, we weren’t able to put on the event.”
Kroschinsky is optimistic they are going to see this grow.
In being out with his students, Kroschinsky is sharing his passion with them as he loves long boarding and uses his to commute to work once a week.
“I’m not a hill bomber, more of a hill cruiser,” he said. “I got into it because I really enjoyed it.”
Kroschinsky also felt the students building boards in class would be something they would enjoy, rather than “just do the cookie cutter projects that have been done in the past.”
“This is something the kids would be passionate about,” he added.
Kroschinsky added that a lot of the kids don’t have transportation unless their parents drive them. Aside from it being good for the environment, the teachers said it also provides good physical fitness.
“They are fired up,” he said. “I’m not pushing anybody. There is no one standing around, they are all out there. Only rule is the wheels have to keep turning for the whole 12 hours.”
The kids took turns cruising, then just before five, they all filled up on pizza from Dominoes. They also received support from LandYachtz, Pentagon, Freeride and Bear Trucks.