Since we’ve already shown you some insane longboarding videos, it’s time to take a deeper dive into one of our favorite sports here at The Adrenalist. To do that, we decided that we need to put a face on the sport – no one loves a game if they don’t know the athletes, right? Few know the names and stories of the pros that sit atop the longboarding pyramid. We’d like to change that.
Here are six of the best longboarders in the game today.
Nicknamed “The American Dream,” it’s easy to see why James Kelly is heralded as one of longboarding’s top competitors. Not only is he a seasoned and skilled boarder, but he’s also an industry innovator and propagator of longboarding buzz as one of the founders of immensely popular niche longboard site, Skate House Media. At just 23 years old, this Petaluma, California native is one of the brightest stars in the sport. He has some major sponsors and should longboarding make an X Games appearance in the near future, expect to see this man front and center, probably snatching up some serious medals.
Ering and Rico Ricablanca
The brothers Ricablanca; if you haven’t already heard of them, you will very soon. In September of 2012, DC Shoes Philippines signed them as official DC Team athletes. Not long ago, these longboarders, founders of a local skate team called Grupo Nopo (“Nopo” is their hometown “Opon” spelled backwards) were fashioning their own boards out of roller skates, boxes and rubber from the tips of pool cues. Now they’re national idols. Though they’re young, this duo must have benefited from quite the downhill gene pool because they’ve got world-class chops. The video above showcases Ering… check out this one to give Rico a look.
The world of pro longboarders is small and tight-knit, so it comes as no surprise that Matt Kienzle is a member of the SkateHouse Media team like James Kelly (and Brian Peck, who we’ll meet below). Like Kelly, this dude’s the real deal. The 25-year-old is sponsored by Sector 9 and Paris Truck Co. The advice he offers on the SkateHouse Media site is “Question everything.” After taking a close look at Kienzle’s gifts, his membership in the class of longboarding’s elite need not be questioned.
It’s weird. A Google search of longboarder Brad Edwards yields thousands of results, most of which pertain to board models and editions named after him. One would assume that, along with these entries, would come scores of interviews, biographies, and discussions about all the awards he’s won and how he’s been a seminal influence on the sport. But there’s none of that. There’s just a small trove of videos and short commentaries about what a talented, humble inspiration Edwards is. Humility is a virtue seldom seen among professional athletes, but it’s one we should all take to heart. If you’re good enough, your skills will do all your talking for you.
Yet a third member of the SkateHouse Media team hammers home the point that the dudes behind that venture are the perfect blend of enthusiast and practioner. They’re devoted to their sport and they love it enough to curate a video website celebrating it. Like Kelly and Kienzle, 23-year old Brian Peck is seasoned way beyond the six years he’s spent on a longboard. Heavily sponsored by some major brands, he and his SkateHouse Media pals are the longboarding vanguard. His advice to new skaters and fans: “skate everything, don’t be stupid, have fun in life.” That pretty much sums it all up.
Think any other longboarders deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments below or @DegreeMen on Twitter.