Downhill skateboarding isn’t a sport most parents would choose for their child. This extreme activity requires one to get on a skateboard and zoom downhill at speeds commonly reaching 80 to 100kph. But 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Jaime de Lange had it differently.
“I started skateboarding at 13 after trying dozens of other sports and hobbies first. I fell in love with it immediately, and right off the bat my parents were supportive. I’ve been extremely blessed to have amazing parents that managed to see past the thrilling danger, and recognize my passion and drive for something,” says the 23-year-old. “Of course, the dangers never totally go away, same with the thrill. In short, yes I do still get scared; but it’s overcoming that fear and turning it into joy, that I never get tired of.”
How different is competing for it professionally versus skating as a hobby?
It started off as a hobby, and I’m sure after my competitive career is over, I’ll still be onboard skating as much as I can. I do it simply because I love it, and most people do just that. I think it’s my competitive spirit and lust for adventure that put me on the path I’m on. Most people don’t diet or train in a gym for skateboarding, but I want to be the strongest, fastest, and smartest racer I can be; and I know the level of dedication required to do that. For the few people gunning for World Champion, it’s like F1—you travel, train, give it your all, and have no excuses at the finish line. I know that’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s just me. My general recommendation is to skate for fun.
What kind of training do you do to prepare for competitions?
Downhill skateboarding is such a pure form of racing. We rely on gravity and strategy. We have no engine or brakes. Our bodies are the only machine we can rely on. The perfect downhill skate athlete has weight, flexibility, strength, and balance.
Like all athletes, the food we eat is extremely important. So diet is a big part of the regimen. We have to pair that with the technical skate skills. So a daily skate is in the routine as well. On top of that, strength and conditioning are also key focus points; keeping us in the gym at least three days a week. Lastly, core, yoga, and flow workouts are all incorporated to keep flexibility and mobility. These are the sort of workouts I’ve been doing for about a year, and I’m feeling stronger than ever.
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September - October 2020