Longboaaardeeeers, come out to plaaaay-aaaay!
More than 75 skateboarders raced from the Bronx to Coney Island Saturday night in a marathon modeled on the journey taken by the gangs in the 1979 cult classic, “The Warriors.”
After maintaining a steady lead throughout the 26 mile, three-borough competition, last year’s champion, team Easy Aces, reached the finish line at the Cyclone roller coaster first. The five traffic-surfing skaters, who named their team after a gang from the movie, finished in a record one hour and 53 minutes — 10 minutes quicker than last year.
“Our whole strategy was to keep pushing so we led the whole time,” said Aces skater and Bensonhurst resident Andrei Hippix, who added that the hardest part of the race was McDonald Avenue, thanks to its potholes and aggressive drivers.
“People were screaming at us the whole time we were skating by them,” Hippix said.
But the Warriors Race is less about who wins than who best represents the gangs from the classic New York City action flick best. Race co-founder Mike Dallas and his teammates donned white jerseys embroidered with the logo for the movie’s namesake gang, who are chased by rival gangs on their quest to get back to their Southern Brooklyn base. Some of their fiercest adversaries in the movie include the all-girl Lizzies, who were portrayed by a four-woman team in last weekend’s race. Other teams that represented gangs from the film included the Orphans, who rocked dirty green T-shirts, and the Riffs, who sported orange karate robes.
“People are always stoked to get in character,” Dallas said. “That’s really what the event is about.”
Just like in the movie, the race commences from Van Cortland Park in the Bronx after a rousing speech from the character Cyrus, who at the contest’s open-ceremony was played by race co-founder Theseus Williams.
“We got the streets suckers!” shouted Williams, straight from The Warriors script. “Can you dig it!?”
Dallas and Williams, founders of the Rat Rod Longboarding Collective and owners of the Bustin Longboards skate shop on Grand Street in Williamsburg, started the Warriors Race last year to combine their favorite sport with their favorite movie. Skaters brave through hills, cars and pedestrians, traveling through the Bronx and Manhattan before reaching Brooklyn via the Manhattan Bridge. Once in the threshold of the city’s best borough, skaters glide down Flatbush Avenue, make a right on Foster Avenue, turn left onto McDonald Avenue and take that to the W. Eighth Street and Surf Avenue entrance of the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island. It’s a 12 mile stretch through the borough that we can definitely dig.