The Rush and Risk of Skateboarding in the San Francisco Hills


Skateboarder Zane Timpson slides down a residential street on one of San Francisco’s iconic steep hills, the sun appearing to balance on the horizon. He reaches out to the camera behind him – for balance, perhaps, or perhaps as if inviting viewers to come take a tour. Timpson is a bombardment of hills – skating at high speed on dizzying roads – and the last New Yorker the video follows him, his skating buddy Adam Anorga and other members of their crew as they cruise downhill like a rolling board, alternately crouching low on the asphalt and leaning incredibly high into the bends in the road, arms outstretched like surfing Christ the Redeemers.

Bombing the hills requires a different skill than traditional street skating on flat ground or bowl skating. “Basically all you have to do is stand there and make sure you don’t fall,” Anorga told me. Instead of working on technical tricks, bombers rely on serenity in the face of adrenaline. He said some of the lightest skaters he knows “just know how to hang on, trust each other and trust their intuition. He continued, “I mean, if you can do this bombing on a hill, I’m sure you could. . . apply this to every other aspect of your life, which. . . can be deep if you use it the right way. “

Steep drops, the presence of traffic, high speeds – Timpson estimates traveling at twenty or thirty miles an hour on a typical hill – can be a dangerous combination. People died in the bombardments of the hills. “It’s not a joke. It’s not something to be taken lightly,” Timpson says in the video. In 2019, professional skater Pablo (P-Spliff) Ramirez, who is featured in the videos ‘Anorga and Timpson “Awaysted” and “Fff further”, died while skating in traffic in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco. The GX1000’s rented skater was not a bombing, but rather a skitch – s’ gripping the bumper of a moving vehicle – when the crash happened Anorga, who had seen a doctor the same day her friend’s crash, about reconstructive surgery on a torn ACL , remembers it as a turning point. “Wow, here I barely walk, and my best friend isn’t here anymore,” he recalls thinking. He saw an opportunity to commit to himself- even, claiming that it made him want to take care of his body so that he could continue to skate for as long as possible. ue of the risks of extreme descent: “We use our bodies to their absolute limit and to their absolute potential. We don’t just waste our bodies as we age, ”Anorga told me. “A lot of times that means we’re going to cross our threshold and get hurt.”

Timpson and Anorga both moved to San Francisco for its gnarled hills and tight-knit skateboarding community, and they credit that community for protecting them. “If you have a full crew,” Timpson explains in the video, motorists will pay more attention and be more likely to treat the crew as they would any other vehicle. During the filming, the skaters accompany a group and employ observers at intersections to ensure that the cars do not interrupt the path of the bomber. “Ask yourself… Do you have any supportive friends who will be there for you when you need them?” Said Anorga. “This is something very important,” he said, then said. stopped and added, “While some of the funniest times I’ve ever had is without it … It’s that risk, that rush of adrenaline that pushes you in another direction. But yeah, that’s a whole different story.


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