We are always excited to tell you about the awesome adventures of our Ambassadors, and this week we want to showcase Ryan Farmer, a member of the Flowfold family who takes part in a unique and fast-paced sport that you may have never heard of. Ryan is a world class competitor in the up and coming sport of Street Luge (Not sure what that is? Don’t worry, he explains all below). This wild sport has led him all over the world, and this summer it will take him to the first ever World Roller Games and potential launching point for Street Luge’s place in the next Olympic Games. Ryan has been a long supporter of Flowfold and we love watching him excel and share the sport he loves. As he prepares for his biggest race yet, we found time to chat with him about Downhill Skating, his 2017 World Champion title, and the future of his sport.
Flowfold: Hi Ryan, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Why don’t you start by telling us who you are, what you do, and where you’re headed this summer.
Hey guys, thanks for having me! My name is Ryan Farmer, I am 25 and live in Humboldt County California. I am the 2017 Street Luge World Champion, and was one of 3 luge skaters chosen to represent America at the World Roller Games this summer, where I’ll be competing against the best racers in the world.
F: Can you describe downhill skating and the event you compete in, street luge?
Downhill skateboarding is the act of riding a skateboard as fast as possible down a steep, twisty road. The style of downhill skateboarding I do is called street luge, which means riding a skateboard flat on my back while reaching speeds upward of 100 MPH. For me it’s much more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. It is the reason I get up at 4 AM and drive into the mountains to watch the sunrise. It gets me into nature and has provided a reason to explore the world as I search for the perfect hill.
F: You had a pretty big year in 2017. Can you talk about becoming World Champion?
That year, after winning the local California race series, I chased points, racing in 14 different countries against the best of the best. The competitors didn’t make it easy as the whole season was so tight in points that it all came down to the last race. Not only was it down to the last event, but to win the world series I could finish no less than first place. I managed to win that event after an 80 mph heat and crossing the line merely a foot or two in front of the racer behind me. It was one of the best days of my life!
F: After your big win, you took some time to focus on other aspects of your life. However, this summer you’ll be back on the competition circuit, correct?
Right, after winning the championship I decided to focus on my future and enrolled in college. Currently I am majoring in forestry and natural resources at the College of the Redwoods. But this summer I’ll be doing a lot of competing again.
F: What’s happening this summer?
For the first time ever, World Skate, the body that organizes street and park skate Olympic events, is hosting a downhill skateboarding event called the World Roller Games, which kicks off in Barcelona. Because of my success in past years, I was invited to join the team representing America at this race. This is the first time an Olympic affiliated organization will be hosting a skateboard and luge race and we hope it will draw the attention necessary to get our disciplines into the Olympics.
F: What do you love most about street luge?
When I ride my skateboard or luge down a hill, I get a feeling best described as nirvana. That is why I fell in love with this sport. It makes me happy, keeps me active and outside, and takes my mind off the daily worries of life, because in that moment you can’t think of anything except your next move, your line, and the rush when you are riding. It brings me peace in such a hectic world and keeps me out of trouble. I also love sharing this sports with others. I love the feeling I get from seeing a student of mine progress, seeing them get faster, the smile and laughter that comes with just makes everything worth it.
F: What do you want people who aren’t familiar with your sport to know?
I think the most important thing people should know about downhill skateboarding is that we aren’t [all] crazy. We don’t have a death wish and can control our speed just like any other vehicle on the road. With foot braking or power sliding we can come to a stop in a shorter distance than most cars or motorcycles on the road. It’s thrilling but safe, and it’s competed all over the world. I want everyone to try street luge. If you like being in the mountains, love the rush of fresh air in your face, appreciate a supportive, world wide community, or simply just like going really fast, then you will enjoy street luge.
F: How has street luge, as a lifestyle and sport, changed your life?
Before 2017 I never left the country, but street luge presented opportunities to travel and see the world in a way I never could have expected. I competed all over the world! It was an incredible year with tons of memorable moments; from standing on top of the Peruvian Andes watching a condor soar effortlessly above me as I struggled to breath, to landing on podiums in places like Brazil, Italy, Czechia, and finally winning the world cup down the 83 mph access road up Killington ski resort in Vermont. I raced all over the world and came back to the USA to win the championship! Traveling has lightened my soul and I can’t wait to compete in Spain, Italy, and Czechia again this summer.
F: Well, we’re stoked you’re a part of the Flowfold team, and we can’t wait to watch you crush this summer!
I appreciate that! Hopefully I won’t be crushing any bones, just records! Thank you for the support and continuing to design the coolest products for outdoor lifestyles like mine. I can’t wait to go represent America and get to show the world that our sport deserves a chance to be in the olympics.
If you want to learn more about downhill skateboarding or follow Ryan’s journey through the World Roller Games this summer, follow him at @farminghills. He’s running a fundraiser to help with the cost of travel as he competes, and if you’d like to contribute, you can learn more at https://www.facebook.com/donate/2181169131971740/.
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