Speeding downhill on a skateboard at almost 100kph wouldn’t appeal to most people.
However, Dan Waterhouse is not like most people.
The Nelson skater’s body boasts a plethora of scars and grazes from the tumbles he’s taken over the years.
“I won’t be surprised if I end up needing skin grafts for my gouged face, shoulder, knees, elbows and hips,” he says.
But despite the danger, Dan says he thrives on the adrenaline of the sport and his passion will now see him competing against the world’s best.
The 21-year-old will represent New Zealand at the 2019 World Roller Games in Barcelona next month.
After not racing competitively for the last three years, Dan returned with a vengeance in April to claim seventh at the Gold Coast leg of the International Downhill Federation world tour.
He also recently obtained his degree in Art History from Victoria University and April’s race was his first since 2015.
“It felt good to hop back on the board.”
He says he is now itching to see how far he can take his talents on the world stage.
Dan has been skateboarding in some shape or form for over 10 years, but picked up downhill in 2010 after watching videos with some friends.
After conquering some of Nelson’s gnarliest hills, including Bay View Rd, Panorama Drive and the Takaka Hill, Dan will now take on some of the steepest streets Barcelona has to offer.
Dan says his average speed around Nelson would hit about 70kph with his fastest being 90kph down Mt Ruapehu.
“Going really fast around corners in a big group can look a bit scary, but we are in more control than people think.”
During eleven days of competition, more than 4,000 athletes will compete in disciplines such as Alpine, Artistic, Inline Hockey and Roller Derby.
Dan is confident his team will not just be making up the numbers.
“There will be a lot of really good racers, but New Zealand has a strong team.”
Dan has been working 50-hour weeks at Scott Construction for the past eight months to get to Europe.
With no funding, all eight members of the New Zealand team must pay their own way.
“It is a lot of money I have to front, but if we can show the country and the world that we have a good team and a future, it will all be worth it.”
The games will act as a trial to determine the feasibility of a roller games in the Olympics.
“It would be an absolute dream to skate in the Olympics,” Dan says.
Though there is still a lack of funding, pathways to professionalism are possible.
“It’s getting to between point where some people are able to make it as a profession.”
He says he hopes the games will act as the next stepping stone on that journey.
“We are all just really excited to represent New Zealand at this level, we never thought we would get here.”
To help the New Zealand team get to Barcelona go to https:// givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-nz-get-to-the-world-roller-games