Viral video showcases women's downhill longboarding

chiara-poscente-longboard-tbMost people, when thinking of hurtling down a long and winding road on a longboard, would probably balk at the idea. Those still interested would ensure that their body doesn't end up getting torn to ribbons and would dress accordingly.

 It takes a special breed to ride down a hill wearing shorts and a bikini top. Chiara Poscente, an avid longboarder and recent online viral sensation happens to be one of those crazy few.

In a four minute video posted on YouTube, Poscente and her friend Anna O'Neill navigate the twists and turns of Washington State's Maryhill Loops Road.

The casual manner in which both riders zoom down, along with their choice of clothing, has made the video explode online. The original video has over 250,000 views and has been shared across popular websites such as Break.com and on the Feed blog for CBS News.

chiara-poscente-anna-oneill-maryhill-longboardChiara Poscente (left) and Anna O'Neill race down the Maryhill Loops Road in a Youtube video that quickly went viral, thanks in part to the bikini top Poscente was sporting.

Photo courtesy of YouTube
Youtube commenters have remarked about the choice of clothing. Commenter dojapatrol1 said that their clothing choices made it was a "gore video waiting to happen."

Others have marvelled at the speed in which they travelled down the road, admiring the women's bravery.

The amount of risk posed to the riders was minimal, according to  Poscente.

"To an untrained eye, I could see how it would look that way. But we weren't pushing our limits or going very fast," she says, adding that they were on a closed road, swept clear of debris and pebbles.

"Mind you, if you get knocked off your board by a pebble, you probably aren't ready to be bombing hills yet."

Longboards, which look like oversized skateboards, originated in Hawaii from surfers who were looking at ways to occupy their time when the waves weren't there.

Downhill longboarding, also known as speedboarding, is a sport that grew out of longboarding. Competitors race against each other down long hills for the best time.

Poscente, who grew up in Calgary and now resides in North Vancouver, got into speedboarding through her younger brother Luca seven years ago.

"I tried it, fell off and broke my nose and swore I'd never do it again."

When asked what led to her going back to longboarding, she laughs.

chiara-poscente-longboardWhen participating in serious events, Chiara Poscente wears full safety gear, including motorcycle leathers.

Photo courtesy of Chiara Poscente
"I don't like to be bested by things. So I think I got very cranky by the fact that I'd been beaten by a piece of plywood," Poscente says.

Six months after the nose-breaking incident, Poscente was in her first official race, and has gone on to participate in races in North America and in Europe – something which wasn't always easy.

"At my first race seven years ago, there were 260 entrants and five of them were female and that hasn't really changed. In North America, it's not so bad."

Attitudes in Europe were different, though. Poscente describes an incident she had in 2008 when she had travelled overseas. Despite qualifying, Poscente was told by race organizers that she and her friend weren't welcome to race in the open division.

"They told us that we were taking spots from men who had paid to race. Our argument was, 'Well, we're faster,'" she says.

Encountering attitudes like that has made it easier for Poscente to deal with some of the nastier comments being posted online about her video.

"After seven years in a very, very male dominated sport, I'm used to it," she says.

"There are a ton of skaters out there, like Katie Neilson or Alicia Fillback. But there's no recognition. Meanwhile, I take my shirt off, bomb down a hill and all of a sudden there's 80,000 views in less than 48 hours.

"It's unfortunate that sex sells more than skill, but at the same time, it's getting women's downhill exposure," she says.

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