Japan Today

Adventurous Brit plans to skate down Mt Fuji for charity

By Karryn Cartelle

James Langridge is not your typical lawyer. During the day, the 27-year-old works as a trainee solicitor in Brighton, but once away from his office, he maintains a playful spirit. A lingering childhood fascination with Japan will bring him here next month — but not just for sightseeing.

Langridge arrives with the aim of skateboarding down Mt Fuji for charity. This will be his first trip to Japan, so his knowledge of the mountain is limited to online articles, images from Google Earth and advice from people who have visited.

Each year, droves of locals and tourists attempt to climb the 3,776-meter peak — focused on the ascent. Langridge, however, has his sights set on going down. From Fuji’s fifth station, at 2,300 meters, a paved road winds 26 kms to the base — perhaps the most extensive longboard route in the world. As far as Langridge knows, only one team has navigated down the mountain before him: a group of skaters who hit the slope in late spring 2005. They kicked off in the early morning to avoid traffic, and in under an hour descended from above the clouds to the mountain’s base. Their video documentary, posted on the website of Outdoor Japan, served as the inspiration for Langridge’s journey.

Like that group, Langridge plans to get an early start, and he’s been assembling a team that’s randomly come together since he first put word out. “Some of the Outdoor Japan people [who took part in the first descent] have said they might join me. A few people have also contacted me over the internet expressing interest — one from Hawaii, one from Baltimore, and one from Sweden,” he says. “People can contact me by email if they want to join in.”

But the ride isn’t just about having fun. Langridge will be raising funds for The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), a research and support organization concerned with cot death (also called sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS). The exact cause of this mysterious syndrome is still unknown, but organizations like FSID are helping to reduce the number of deaths.

“Some might say that it’s not as worthy a cause as feeding the starving and other similar problems, but it’s personal to me because my parents lost their first son to cot death a year before my twin sister and I were born,” Langridge explains. “Cot death is the leading cause of death in babies under 1 month old. It claims more lives than meningitis, leukemia, other forms of cancer, and household and road traffic accidents put together.”

For the past three years, Langridge has been staging similar events to help raise funds for the cause. He got his start when a friend suggested running a half-marathon to benefit FSID. “Having a reason for something like that makes training a lot easier,” he says. In 2006, on the 27th anniversary of his brother’s death, Langridge ran the 27th London Marathon. From these two events he has raised over 2,500 pounds (534,000 yen).

For the Fuji skate, the sky’s the limit, and all funds raised will go directly to FSID. “I think with a bit of determination we are a lot more capable than we think we are,” he says. “I never thought I’d run a marathon or go to Japan and skateboard down Mt Fuji. But I did and I am. We should follow through with our dreams before we start to forget about them.”

To learn more about the descent, email skatemountfuji@hotmail.co.uk. To donate, see www.justgiving.com/skatemountfuji. See www.fsid.org.uk for more information about FSID. This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

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Nevermind... I wont tell you what he rides!!!

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Those are proper downhill boards?!?!? (no disrespect)

Ill stick with my carver! It definately feels better than most of those other boards at the surf shop!!

Thank you very much for the info though!!

My carver the 32 inch model so i shouldnt have much trouble controlling speed....I hope!! HA HA HA

Ill contact James again and Lets you know what he will ride!!

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most any surf shop has longboards these days.

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New Zen, What wheels do you recommend?

He isnt going to use the board shown!! Ive already contacted James but I havent asked the specifics bout what he will ride exactly!!

Shawnippon, Where could I find a proper downhill board?

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Yeah, downhill board is the way to go. Not sure what this guy is riding, but I hope he knows what he's doing, the guys from Outdoor Japan who came up with the idea were all solid riders. Check out the original Mt. Fuji crew here http://www.outdoorjapan.com/contents/columns/1179460264/1179884180 the dude should give these guys props (there is a video link there too if you want to check out the run).

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I would go for a downhill board, myself.

Used to have a very nice wooden one, got some wicked speeds with it. The carver should work but I would change the suspension rubbers & Tires to make it a bit more responsive.

I often had to start weaving to prevent too high speeds, hence why I don't know how he will control the speed as he can't with the board shown.

Also hope he will upgrade his protective gear from the one shown.

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Does anyone know if its possible to do it on a regular carver?!?! Should I get a downhill?? Any advice would be much appreciated !!! Im going to ride with James if the weather permits!!

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If he does it without grip tape (see photo) I'll be very impressed

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Brake a leg limey!!

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there is lots of these types of nutters from me country, i am English by the way. Well, he may be a wally, but he`s doing it for charity, so the geezer aint doing ot for selfish reasons innit?

I `ope the young fella makes the dosh and people benefit from his efforts.

Up the Hammers!!!

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An admirable ambition, but I hope he's checked the wording of his travel insurance properly, because it would be a shame if the money he raises ends up having to be spent on Japanese hospital bills....

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I wonder how his skateboard steers and stops, as it seems to be twice as wide as the ones guys usually use to jump during late nights infront of stations.

I just hope he won't need charity after that ride.

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Do you think his wife will want the door back for her kitchen cupboard? All jokes asides - SIDS is a devastating syndrome and I'm glad to see the money raised will towards it. It would also be nice to see one of these rich Japanese companies come up with a nice Carver downhill skateboard for him. He'll be lucky if he doesn't break his neck on that thing.

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he`ll get about 10ft on that thing..

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Ahhh, I'll just meet them at the mountain with a real skateboard, I will bring some cash also.

... a good cause.

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You know, I hope he is as sincere as the type or at least the hype. Perhaps we should monitor the charity before we give or maybe just get taken for a ride.

Ahh, were so rich, lets just give some money, surely they need it.

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He has a dream and purpose. I admire him for his determination and his wish to skate for charity. Good luck, James Langridge, kind and strong British boy!

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It's basically 10-20 hairpin corners all the way down, I think he should investigate the mountain before going down it, I highly doubt he will be able to do it without getting off and turning, it's very steep and if he goes off the edge he's in for a big fall.

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I like the stance and with the helmet ooooh, bit-of-a accent. He's in. Bring the bigger tyres lad.

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sounds like fun, but hardly worthy of any notoriety.

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kamikaze me thinks

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Looking at that board how does it steer? I know skateboards having used them.

Very windy road below 5th and he will pick up some good speeds.

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WHERE does he plan to do use that board on Mt. Fuji?

I have seen guys use sand-boards but there are no roads where those teenie wheels will work. Last time I visited Mt. Fuji it was all rocks and sand once you get high up, maybe around the base below 5th.

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Brit plans to skate down Mt Fuji on the worlds most crap looking skateboard. Tee Hee!!

I must admire him doing this for charity. I hope Japanese tv reports o this, and people will start to underfstand the meaning of charity, and the lengths some go to helping others.

Shame, but charitable donations by Japanese are very low compared to other rich nations.

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