Santa Barbara and Rancho Palos Verdes ban downhill skateboarding

Downhill skateboarding Santa Barbara
A recent county ordinance passed banning downhill skateboarding on some of Santa Barbara’s iconic hills. Photo: Flickr user Eric Prado

Last week, two California areas passed bans on downhill skateboarding.

Both Santa Barbara county and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes have passed ordinances that restrict downhill skateboarding stating that the sport is too dangerous.

Following a request by the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance last Tuesday that bans downhill skateboarding on three steep county roads. While the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has banned downhill skateboarding on all city roads Thursday, and is evaluating the ban of all forms of skateboarding on certain city roads.

The Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, July 7, and, despite local skateboarders urging for education on the sport, passed a ban on to Gibraltar, Painted Cave and San Marcos Roads.

The City of Ranchos Palos Verdes in Los Angeles county, on the other hand, previously considered an ordinance that would have banned all forms of skateboarding on all public streets.

But, after it was met with considerable opposition, the city moved forward on drafting an ordinance that would specifically do away with downhill bombing, which was passed last week and will take effect starting Aug. 21.

Both bans cite safety issues with the sport.

This all follows a 2012 ban on downhill skateboarding in the City of Los Angeles.

Downhill skateboarding,” sometimes referred to as “bombing hills,” is a form of skateboarding where boarders travel down hills at speeds of up to 50 mph, and utilize board slides that look somewhat akin to a snowboarders carving motion to help check their speeds.

Santa Gnarbara Skate Media and Events skateboarders have been bombing hills in Santa Barbara for years, and they oppose the ban. Video: Santa Gnarbara Skate Media and Events

While the result is a sport that is no doubt thrilling, officials across California are saying it is too dangerous.

CHP Captain Mark D’Arelli, a Santa Barbara native, wrote in a letter supporting the ban that downhill skateboarding was responsible for three violent crashes within the last year in the county, one of which in June left a 27-year-old in the hospital with critical injuries.

“Public Works has studied the issue and determined that skateboarding on open roadways with steep grades is not an intended use of the roadway and can be hazardous to public health and the safety of its user,” D’Arelli’s letter states.

RELATED: Downhill skateboarder narrowly avoids tragedy

Tom Flinchbaugh, a downhill skater from Santa Barbara and owner of Santa Gnarbara Skate Media and Events, which promotes downhill skateboarding in Santa Barbara, claims the notion that downhill skating is overly dangerous is unfounded, and strongly opposes the Santa Barbara County ban. Flinchbaugh said he has been downhill skating for four years and never had an accident.

“I think this ban comes not from our sport being unsafe but from a general lack of knowledge about us,” he told Noozhawk. “There is a preconceived notion that we are out of control and have no methods of stopping or braking. This is untrue.”

Still, despite his claims, the sport has made tragic headlines.

In February, a 29-year-old downhill skateboarder died after sliding into an oncoming truck in New South Wales, Australia. And four months ago, in March, a downhill skateboarder was crushed when he lost control and skateboarded into the undercarriage of a dump truck on a Los Angeles mountain road.

More from GrindTV

Surf Skooter is a new board for water and snow

Not quite glamping: 8 ways to upgrade your next camping trip

The case for not moving to an adventure town

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!