This year, I attended Transylvania DH out in Romania. The buzz had been stirring for quite some time prior to this event and it seemed to be a good stop to start the Eurotour.
Hosted by Romania's own Devastation Longboard Crew this event truly lived up to all the hype and proved to be one of the most fun events this year.
Now, what is this hype? What makes this event so damn epic? Check out this awesome video recap and find out:
This event has something to make every single rider happy. Let me try to convince you:
1. 15+ Corners
You heard that correct. This track is a never- ending playground with corners on corners leading into more corners. You are literally skating for almost 10 minutes at a time going down this 5km/ 3mile long road. It's a leg burner for sure, but 100% worth it.
Did I mention corners? This photo by LUCA Longboards displays the tracks glorious corners and overlooking gondola.
2. Gondola Uplifts
The cherry on top of this event. Thanks to gondola uplifts, the road was pretty much open fully during the freeride days, allowing as much skating as your legs could possibly handle! Although, it was a bit of a trek to the gondola on foot, it is 100% worth it. (And nice to get in some other exercise ;)) Having the gondola provides some relaxing after skating, time to catch up with the homies, an alternative to the normal squished/ uncomfortable uplift environments, and a gorgeous aerial view of most of the road.
Hello beautiful! The gondolas were plastered with these nicely designed logos to amp up the stoke. Photo by Cabana Atlas.
3. 6 Days
That's right, no exaggeration. With your entry fee, you get 6 full days of skating this marvelous road. And with the gondola, you can take as many runs possible, offering you the opportunity to skate at your pace, when you want, and for as long as you'd like.
4. Multiple straights/ wide street
This is a great place to just play around. Whether you enjoy going as fast as possible and just blasting slides, or you're looking to dial in some moves. You have all the room in the world on this course, and all the time considering it's length. But always be aware of those skating around you.
5. Hotel Accommodation
Since this road leads up to a ski resort, it basically just sits there in the summers, lending Devastation Crew the ability to capitalize and us as skaters the ability to participate in an event with everything included. I.E; hotels! With our entry came full room hookup at the hotels located directly on top of the hill, next to the gondola let off. Beds, showers, balconies, all of this included plus continental locally cooked breakfast. Every. Single. Morning.
Depending on where you are coming from, Romania is a very affordable country. The food was delicious and very affordable to have often, the alcohol as well, and their markets provided much needed sustenance at good prices to keep us going for 6 days and nights. Just make sure to look up exchange rates ahead of time!
9. Mini Ramp
Always there. Near the start line, ready for skaters at any time.
10. Slide Jam
Set up on a different part of the hill with a built in ramp and a fun judging contest. It was a nice break to either skate or enjoy watching others bust out their tricks on this small stretch of the road.
The slide jam got a bit hectic with riders showing their stuff everywhere. Luckily I avoided this guy ha! Photo by Luca Longboards
For all 5km. Yupp, that's right. It was quite the leg burner and made you push hard to keep with the pack at all times. Full charging this hill is something completely different from taking it easy. It is a very gnarly track when you boost as fast as you can. With speeds that range 80 kph/ 50mph + and back to back corners of all kinds, it was a tricky road to get used to, but an absolutely blast to skate and even more fun to race.
12. Parties Everyday
What do you get when skaters take over a whole mountaintop for a week straight? Lots and lots of nighttime shenanigans. That being said, Devastation DH hosted some incredible DJs and held awesome parties during the nights, rain or shine.
13. Sunshine & Rain
Whether you like skating dry or wet, we experienced a bit of everything! It was a super fun road to play around in any condition and provided a good amount of practice for anyone willing to push themselves down.
14. Devastation Longboard Crew
The people behind this event. They are an amazing crew trying very hard to make the event the best it can be for everyone attending. They are incredible kind and put so much hard work into this event. Thank you so much for what you all do!
Myself battling to stay in front of epic skaters Lisa Peters and Jasmijn Hanegraef during our first race heat. These badass ladies advanced and ended up taking top spots on the podium! Photo by Bunzac Andrei.
As much as I want to throw out only the good about this event, which most of it was positive, there were definitely some downfalls to this event to prepare yourself for.
1. Romanian Hospitals/ Care
This is a huge issue, considering our sport is high risk. The hospital care received by many of the skaters at this event was very, very poor. Unfortunately, my travel partner in crime, Grace Wong, went too damn hard and crashed breaking her arm. Needing x- rays and extended monitoring, she stayed a few nights in the local hospital. The service she experienced was truly dreadful as she wasn't handled with any sense of the word care or given anything to help treat her pain. But that was just her experience, there were more. Someone dislocated their shoulder and came back to the hill after their hospital visit with their entirely upper body encased in a plaster cast; a hardened cast, literally wrapped all the way around his back.
As fun as this road was to skate, it is also a dangerous track. There were hay bales covering a good chunk of the road, but definitely not enough. I can understand it being difficult to acquire enough hay bails to cover 5km of road, but it still isn't something that should be limited as it provides the riders with their safety net and safe mentality. That being said, a number upward of 12 riders were injured at this event and sent to the hospital. I think this number would have been much lower with added safety along the hill. I even crashed in the race, in a tight difficult corner, and found a gap between two hay bails, hitting my head on the ground before slamming into the cement ditch.
3. Romanian Drivers
It was such a struggle to gather together a rental car that the companies would allow to drive across the border into Romania. We didn't understand the difficulty until we entered Romanian roads. Seriously, Romania has some of the most hectic and terrifying road driving you will ever witness. I rarely felt safe while in a car commuting somewhere. Devastation crew offers shuttles to and from the airport to the event if you do decided to fly in and avoid all Romanian driving.
Now this one is just me being picky, but the water situation at the event wasn't too great. At first, there wasn't any water handed out to the riders, which is never okay at any skating event. Once water was brought to the event, it was this weird tasting bottled stuff. The crew gathered over 200+ 1 liter bottles of all the same kind of water. It tasted like off sparkling water, without the fizz. It was just bizarre and, unfortunately, the only sustenance provided to skaters. I am definitely against any extreme use of plastic, so buying that many bottles isn't something I am in favor of; but having only this flavored thing, was just unappealing, and didn't make me want to drink it to stay hydrated.
My advice: large refill stations for riders to have their own bottles and refill with fresh local water, which was actually incredible from the taps on the mountaintop. This is also a great way to have advertising; offering bottles with the event plastered on them, encouraging the share of the event, the use of refilling, and encouraging much less plastic use and waste.
Now, none of these issues should deter you from attending this event at all. There are so many more positives than negatives about this event and going is all worth the experience. I will definitely be trying my hardest to get out to Transylvania DH 2018!
Photo by Jamie Brown.
A huge thank you to everyone that let me use their photos!
Jamie Brown: Light Phonics Photography
Luca Longboards: lucalongboards.com, Luca Longboards on Facebook