Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Skateboarders rack up ACC claims

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Former professional skateboarder Dave Crabb at Kaikohe's skatepark with Far North district councillor Sally Macauley.
Former professional skateboarder Dave Crabb at Kaikohe's skatepark with Far North district councillor Sally Macauley.

Northlanders have made around 100 claims for skateboarding injuries this year but a former professional skater says the sport he loves offers plenty of benefits.

ACC figures show Northland people made 94 claims for skateboarding injuries, worth $34,094, in the year to March 29.

Northland skateboarder Dave Crabb has been skateboarding for 42 years, including about nine years professionally in the US.

He said he'd broken many bones over that time.

"You are going to get dinged and dented if you push the limit but that's, you know, the same in every sport in the world. The flip side is, I've been skateboarding for 42 years, I'm 52 years of age and I still skateboard three times a week. I absolutely love it. It keeps me fit, it keeps me healthy and, wearing pads and a helmet, I expect to be skateboarding when I'm 60."

Mr Crabb said he wore a helmet every time he skated.

Helmets and pads were mandatory when he was skateboarding professionally in competitions.

He said his body was still in great shape thanks to the protective gear.

Mr Crabb said wrist guards were a good idea for those learning to skate. Anyone riding ramps or at a skatepark should also wear a helmet.

He thought beginners suffered the most skateboarding injuries. He suspected a lot of injuries were a result of mothers and fathers standing on their children's skateboards and falling off.

"It happens all the time. I mean, YouTube is a great place to see adults falling off of kids' skateboards."

Mr Crabb said designated skating areas were the safest places to learn. Skateparks were designed with minimal sharp concrete areas people could trip on.

He thought skateboarding was a great sport because it was an individual, outdoor activity, developed co-ordination and required a large amount of physical ability and determination.

"I think it's a wonderful sport and it's also one of the best sports for travelling because skateboarders are a family and no matter wherever you go in the world or any ramp you skate you've got instant friends."

Nationally, 2130 made ACC claims for skateboarding injuries in the first quarter of 2016. Those claims had cost $592,132 to date. Several skateboarders have made headlines for risky stunts in recent months.

Footage of of a longboarder riding down State Highway 1 on the southern side of the Brynderwyn Hills at high speed was posted to YouTube earlier this year. Northland police called the ride "an act of stupidity".

Kapiti man Tristan Hunter died when he fell off his longboard while skating down Maungakotukutuku Rd, near Paraparaumu, last month.

Police media adviser Jillian Reid said skateboarders were allowed to ride on the road but police strongly advised them against doing so as there was significant risk of serious injury. She said skateboards were defined as vehicles and riders had to operate safely and responsibly and follow the road rules just like any other road user.

- Northern Advocate

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