TARGET 071003

Street Luge
Laid back and going downhill, fast!!




Street luge is an extreme gravity-powered activity that involves riding a street luge board (sometimes referred to as a sled) down a paved road or course. Street luge is also known as land luge or road luge. Like skateboarding, street luge is often done for sport and for recreation.

Other than the prone riding position and greater than 70 miles per hour (115 km/h) speed, street luge has little relation to its winter namesake (luge).

History

Street luge was born in Southern California as downhill skateboarders found they could reach faster speeds by lying down on their skateboards. This early form of the sport is now referred to as "classic style" or "butt boarding".

In 1975 the first professional race was held at Signal Hill, California and hosted by the U.S. Skateboard Association. The race winner was based on top speed. The boards used in this race varied from basic skateboards to complex skate cars in which the rider was completely enclosed by plastic or fiberglass.

The sport was not commonly referred to as street luge at this time but the term luge was used to describe some participants riding position. Most contestants were standing up however an opening in the rules enabled riders to choose their on board position - including prone. By 1978, repeated injuries to both riders and spectators halted the races at Signal Hill.



Several riders from the Signal Hill races kept the sport alive by continuing to hold races in Southern California. Throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, both underground and professional races continued to be held in Southern California by such organizations as the Underground Racers Association (URA), Federation of International Gravity Racing (FIGR) and Road Racers Association for International Luge (RAIL). Race organizers in the 1980s and 1990s started implementing many more equipment, safety and race regulations.




Meanwhile in the early 1990s some Austrian skateboarders started sitting down on their skateboards on the way back from teaching skiing in the Alps. This activity lead to a penultimate classic style street luge race in Austria. There is now a healthy street luge riding and racing presence in many European countries (see ' below).

In the mid 1990s, ESPNís X Games showcased street luge to the world and the sport was originally sanctioned by RAIL, then by the International Gravity Sports Association (IGSA). NBC followed ESPNís lead and created the Gravity Games in which the sport was sanctioned by Extreme Downhill International (EDI). Smaller events also apearred in Canada, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and the U.K.. Qualification criteria for these events varied and was controlled by each of the sanctioning bodies.




After a media splurge through the late 90's and early 00's, extreme sports like street luge have taken a lower profile. The X Games has evolved towards more of a stadium-based games for commercial cost and marketing reasons. Others such as the Gravity Games, Hot Heels and the Australian Xtreme Games have also disappeared.

While no longer a sport in either the X Games or Gravity Games, street luge is a burgeoning sport in numerous countries with competitions around the globe. There are approximately 1,200+ active street luge riders in the world.

Wheels
Because it is suspected that many of you will pick up on the unusual wheels, a feedback photo is given here.

Many thanks to Ray McClure for this target.

Information was obtained from Wikipedia.com which states that the source for the information and pictures