La Jolla Skater Jimmy Riha wins big at Whistler Longboard Festival

By Ashley Mackin

La Jolla resident Jimmy “Rad Train” Riha recently took first place at the Whistler Longboard Festival in Canada.

La Jollan Jimmy ‘Rad Train’ Riha takes first place at the Whistler Longboard Festival. Courtesy

The festival, which invites downhill skateboarders and lugers from around the world, took place July 4-7.

Riha, 21, has been competitively racing for just four years, and called the Canadian course “probably one of the world’s most technical tracks” for downhill skateboarding.

That’s why world champions Kevin Reimer and James Kelly (considered the first and third best skaters in the world, respectively) also came out to participate. However, Riha said he was unfazed by skating with the best.

He said he knew Kelly and they used to skate together, adding that, as a whole, the Downhill Longboard scene is a tightly knit one. “We all keep in touch,” Riha said. “We all get to skate together — whether it be at an event, a free ride or whatever.”

In past years, Riha watched Kelly and Reimer battle it out for first place in an aggressive back- and-forth. This year, he said he noticed the same thing during the early races. When it came time for the final race, as the two front-runners were focused on each other, Riha managed to slip into first and win.

The final race was the culmination of a long and exhausting weekend, Riha said. The days leading up to the final race involved practices; press conferences and qualifying races, not to mention the time spent catching up with other skaters.

On the first day, skaters got to practice and free skate, just to get familiar with the track. Riha said on the second day, skaters participated in timed qualifying races to determine the brackets.

Jimmy Riha.

He joked, “When race day comes up after free rides and qualifications you’re like ‘wait, we’re racing now?’ It’s an intense test of who can last

the longest.” His way of lasting is to “just roll the dice.” He said one can try to have a strategy, but he just goes with the flow.

That attitude may carry him to the possibility of skating for a career. He said if the opportunities were there, he would take them, but that he knows the challenges of making it as a professional skateboarder.

In fact, Riha said he only makes enough money to pay for the next race. He used the $3,000 he won at Whistler to pay off the credit card he used to pay for travel expenses and registration.

Riha said he would continue to race for as long as he can.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I wouldn’t have the friends I have today and wouldn’t have gone the places I’ve gone, if I hadn’t figured out how to go down a hill fast on my skateboard.”

On the Web
■ VIDEO: Watch Jimmy Riha skate the hills of La Jolla

Related posts:

  1. La Jolla Sunrise Rotary, Cove Swim Club brave chilly waters to fight polio at Swimarathon
  2. La Jolla Cove Swim Club takes a Polar Bear Plunge into the New Year
  3. Former La Jolla Youth Baseball League star gives back to his community through Eagle Scout project
  4. Disabled Sailing Championships set for Oct. 26-28 at San Diego Harbor
  5. WindanSea Surf Club hosts Father Joe's Kids at La Jolla Shores

Short URL:

Posted by Ashley Mackin on Jul 28, 2013. Filed under Clubs, Outdoors, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Del Mar couple to present program about Bhutan at Solana Beach Library September 1, 2014
    Join cultural anthropologist and photographer Roger Harmon and his wife, Nancy, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in the Solana Beach Library for a free presentation of their travels to Bhutan through slides and artifacts. […]
  • Carmel Valley Boy Scouts climb Mount Whitney September 1, 2014
    Several boys from Boy Scout Troop 765 (Carmel Valley) made the climb to the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states this summer. They spent the summer hiking the tallest peaks of Southern California, preparing for their hike of Mount Whitney. These peaks included Mount Baldy, Mount San Jacinto, and Mount San Gorgonio. The boys made the 22-mile round-trip tr […]
  • Multimillion-dollar renovation complete at Hilton San Diego Del Mar September 1, 2014
    Hilton San Diego Del Mar announces the completion of its multimillion-dollar renovation. Funded by Wheelock Street Capital and Sage Hospitality, the hotel’s completed renovation includes the lobby, business center, fitness center, restaurant, meeting spaces and all 257 guest rooms. “This renovation has truly transformed the Hilton San Diego Del Mar property, […]