Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill (green) is set to represent Canada at the World Skate Games in Argentina. (Jake Ballantyne photo)

Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill (green) is set to represent Canada at the World Skate Games in Argentina. (Jake Ballantyne photo)

Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill sliding into World Skate Games

Local longboarder set to represent Canada later this year at Argentina-based event

Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill never connected with a sport until she hopped on a longboard, screamed down a hill and reached breakneck speeds.

Three years after first deciding to try longboarding out, she is set to represent Canada in the sport at the 2022 World Skate Games in Argentina later this year.

Hill recently launched a GoFundMe to help her with travel costs associated with the trip. She said getting the opportunity to compete at the highest level of the sport blows her mind.

“It almost feels unreal,” she said. “I’m beyond excited to represent Canada and I can’t wait.”

The 2019 Fraser Valley Adventist Academy grad said she never even knew longboarding existed as a sport until a friend sent her a video from an event.

“Three years ago I tried out one of my friends longboards and instantly I just thought – this is much better than walking,” she said, noting she used the item as transportation initially. “Then that same friend sent me a video of people doing downhill longboarding – I never even knew that was a thing. I wanted to learn it.”

Enter the Abby Skate School – a group of local longboarders who practise on Tuesday afternoons on Taggart Road in east Abbotsford. Hill said any skill level is invited to attend the free gatherings and they have a spotter for any approaching cars as well as signage to let drivers know about possible longboarders on the road.

She said her skills increased quickly after sessions with the Abby Skate School.

“They teach you in a safe environment and really bring the longboarding community together,” she said. “They helped accelerate my progression a lot. They were able to point out mistakes, fix my form and I was able to get better so much faster than when I was doing it on my own.”

Hill said learning to slide and learning to stop were two of the early important skills she learned. She said the speed of the sport helped her fall in love with with longboarding very quickly. Hill has achieved a top speed of 91 kilometres per hour.

“I really love the adrenaline of it,” she said. “I always liked stuff like roller coasters so this was kind of similar.”

Another factor for Hill was feeling like she finally found her thing.

“I was never really good in sports in high school,” she said. “So finding out I was actually good at longboarding was a lot of fun. It’s made me really happy.”

After months of training she worked up enough courage and skills to compete in a race in 2021 and continued stepping at more races throughout the province. She competed at races in Kimberly, Pender Harbour, Kelowna, Washington State and other locations. Hill said she was nervous before her first competition, but everyone made her feel comfortable and she placed well.

Hill went on to qualify for the WSG after strong showings at races in California, Washington State and Kelowna earlier this year. She added that this event will be used as a qualifier for the 2024 Summer Olympics (if the sport gets included). She noted that downhill longboarding has been confirmed for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Skateboarding made its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

She said she encourages youth to check out the Abby Skate School and that all the equipment needed to practise is available at Abbotsford’s Replay Boardshop.

Those wanting to help Hill can do so by donating to her aforementioned GoFundMe or the Team Canada team fundraiser. There is also a planned fundraiser event at the Roxy in downtown Vancouver on Oct 22.

Additionally, there are donation jars available at both Replay Boardshop and Chef Boss Culinary in Abbotsford.

The 2022 World Skate Games run from Oct. 24 to Nov. 13 in Argentina.

For more on Hill, visit her Instagram page at instagram.com/the_hill_kat/.

abbotsfordskateboarding

 

Hill started longboarding in 2020 and has quickly risen the ranks. (Submitted)

Hill started longboarding in 2020 and has quickly risen the ranks. (Submitted)

Hill heads to Argentina later this year. (Jon Huey photo)

Hill heads to Argentina later this year. (Jon Huey photo)

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