Kimberley longboard event inspires first ever race on Saint Lucia island

A popular event that rolls through Kimberley every summer will take to the streets of a Caribbean island next month.
The annual “Sullivan Challenge” longboarding race that coincides with JulyFest has inspired a competition in Saint Lucia Dec. 13th.
Jody Willcock with the local Berkeley Manufacturing company says they’re hosting a first of its kind event down there after catching the eye of a visitor this year.Willcock explains the idea started to come together after reggae musician Taj Weekes and his band performed at JulyFest 2016 and was a spectator for the oldest race on the Northern Underground Adrenaline Cicruit.

Weeks says he was taken aback by the community and people of Kimberley during his stay but above and beyond anything else he was stunned by the downhill event.

The dreadlocked Rastafarian artist says as he left the competition and returned to his lodging he couldn’t get over the display from these athletes.Then it hit him – Saint Lucia has hills too.

Willcock, the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Weekes worked together to plan out how the boarding spectacle could be moved to the Caribbean Island and came up with “Party Island Downhill” event in Castries, Saint Lucia.

Willcock says they have a “cast of characters” going down to conduct demos for local kids and will teach them skill building techniques and safety tips.

He says they will then hold a full-on downhill race for spectators.

Willcock adds the main purpose to is raise awareness of self-propelled healthy transportation.

Weekes, who is a native of Saint Lucia, explains the message of healthy living is a major factor behind this event.

He says Saint Lucia has one of the highest rates of diabetes per capita in the world and this is part of a bigger effort to get youth into physical activity.

Not only a musician, Weekes also works with the United Nations as “UNICEF Champion for Children” and runs his children’s charity, They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO).

Weekes believes kids in Saint Lucia will enjoy longboarding because it is fun.

He hopes witnessing professionals flying down down their streets will be a great experience for youth.

The reggae star says however, when it comes down to it, it’s skateboarding.

It’s exciting, it’s flamboyant, and it’s cool.– Berkeley Manufacturing’s Jody Willcock/Reggae Musician Taj Weekes