Dublin’s Grand Canal Longboarders

Longboard article 2

If you ever find yourself in the Grand Canal Dock area and spot a blur of helmets and kneepads, you have probably just caught a sight of one of Ireland’s fastest-growing sports, longboarding.

The Dublin Longboard Crew (DLC) has grown from under 100 members to 850 in the past five years. They get together at least once a week and the Canal Cruise, a relaxed course along the Grand Canal and Baggot Street, is just one of their many meet-ups.

Colm Whelan from Sandymount only joined the crew a year ago, but first started skating in 1996 while living in California. Back home, and after a gap of nearly a decade, he was drawn back to longboarding. “I realised the sport had grown in variety and popularity immensely. I started to watch videos of guys and girls flying down mountain roads and throwing out technical slides and tricks I had never seen before. I immediately wanted to start doing this, so I looked around the city and internet until I found the DLC.”

More than just a hobby for some, Ireland has a number of dedicated longboard manufacturers and the DLC has a strong ethos of ‘skate Irish, buy Irish’. There are also Irish longboarders who compete at an international level, with competitions in Poland, France and Slovenia in their sights this year.

Jeff Logan, who has been with the DLC for the past four years, has decided to use his love of skating as a chance to do some good. In 2013 he travelled the length of Ireland on a longboard, all in support of the Shine Centre for Autism, a charity based in Cork.

“I was watching the news and there were talks about cutting funding to autism centres. A few months later I was skating from Malin Head to Mizen Head.”

With that under his belt, Jeff plans to take it a step further this year. On the 28th of April he will be attempting to complete a skating trek from John O’Groats to Land’s End in the UK in just 15 days, once again for Shine Ireland.

Amongst the skaters who spoke to NewsFour, one factor was constant: the freedom that longboarding brings. According to Colm, “rain, hail, wind – doesn’t matter. I can safely say I will ride a longboard for the rest of my life, or until my knees give out!”

Pictured: Dublin Longboard Crew. Photo by Paul Fitzgerald.

By Aimée MacLeod

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