Jay­den mitchell

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - FEATURE -

nor­mal per­son who has ever driven over the top of the Mt Panorama race­track at Bathurst – race driv­ers ob­vi­ously ex­cluded – un­der­stands that even when obeying the 60km/h speed limit over the fa­mous Sky­line, Dip­per and For­rest’s El­bow sec­tions that it is pretty hairy.

So the idea of do­ing it on an ex­tended skate­board, known as a long­board, seems a lit­tle nuts.

But in April that is what 16-year-old Ade­laide stu­dent Jay­den Mitchell did. At 100km/h. “It was scary the first cou­ple of times, but then I got used to it,” he says. Mitchell won the race and is now ranked as the num­ber one ju­nior in the world.

Mitchell has been long­board­ing for about two years. He got into it through some friends. Be­fore that he did tram­polin­ing, but was at­tracted to long­board­ing by the speed. “I like the adrenalin rush, go­ing fast and be­ing around friends,” he says.

Un­sur­pris­ingly there have been a few ac­ci­dents along the way. He hit a guard rail at 60km/h, and he has had pile ups with other rid­ers. His only in­jury is his shoul­der, which can pop out, an af­flic­tion com­mon to skate­board­ers who in­stinc­tively put their hands down to pro­tect them­selves when they fall off.

Not that it’s easy be­ing a long­boarder in Ade­laide. The roads in the Hills, with steep de­scents and long, wind­ing bends, are their favourite play­ground, but long­board­ing is il­le­gal on pub­lic roads. Two long­board­ers were con­victed and fined at Wil­lunga last year. Mitchell wants bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties, a place where it is safe and le­gal to pur­sue the sport. “It’s prob­a­bly the fastest grow­ing ex­treme sport in Aus­tralia,” he says. “In Ade­laide two years ago there was a core of 10 skaters, now there are over 200.”

It would be easy to tag Mitchell as some sort of hoon. The blander truth is he is a well-spo­ken, po­lite 16-yearold who just has a thing for go­ing ex­tremely fast. And he is no dummy. He is a stu­dent at the Aus­tralian Maths and Sci­ence School at Flin­ders Univer­sity and has half an eye on an en­gi­neer­ing ca­reer if pro­fes­sional skate­board­ing doesn’t work out.

It’s a touch of re­al­ism he also brings to his sport. At an­other race in NSW he was in a bus with a bun­dle of oth­ers hav­ing a first look at the track down Mt Keira. “I was go­ing down it and I was scared,” he says. “There were peo­ple who went straight for it first up and crashed. That’s not what I am about. I al­ways ease into things.”

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