Aussie Skateboarder First in World To Hill-Bomb Baldwin

Aussie Skateboarder First in World To Hill-Bomb Baldwin

Skater slays steep, slab-strewn street showcasing scintillating speed

On August 1, Zak Mills-Goodwin became the first ever person to bomb Baldwin Street on a skateboard. He thinks he managed to hit speeds of 70km/h, but didn’t want to confirm anything on the record since speed limits can still be broken on skateboards. 

Zak, an Australian, has been doing downhill skateboarding for around 10 years. In Aotearoa for a ski holiday with his partner Emma, bombing the world’s steepest street wasn’t really planned; according to him, it was “kind of spur of the moment”. Passing through Ōtepoti, he met up with fellow downhill skater Matt, an Otago student. Impromptu tour guide Matt said he brought Zak and Emma to Baldwin Street “just to have a geeze, not really thinking he’d skate it”. Once he reached the top of the hill, though, the call of a sick bombing opportunity clearly became irresistible, and Zak began trying to find the best, safest line of attack to skate the hill. 

For anyone unfamiliar with Baldwin’s terrain, Matt pointed out that “it’s made of these big fuck off concrete slabs, with decent sized gaps between them so you’re going DONK DONK BADONK down the hill”. Points for attention to detail there. Despite this terrifying-sounding fact, Zak was unfazed, having successfully skated down similar street slabs in places like San Francisco and the Philippines.

After receiving a ride from a random car and confirming the best path down, Zak promptly sent it, shooting down Baldwin in about 10 seconds. Despite to Matt’s fears, he did not turn himself into a “meat crayon” in the process. Emma, who filmed the whole skate, admitted that she always feels nervous when Zak skates, but still “trusts his ability and experience”. She did note that, as terrifying as steep hills are, it’s not quite as scary as going around blind corners “where there could be cars passing in the other direction”. 

In the video, currently at the top of the New Zealand subreddit, eagle-eyed and/or morbidly-minded viewers can spot Zak hit something: as Matt described it, a “crack, bump, hole or Satan's pebble, whatever you want to call it”. He (rather bravely) admitted that it made him “shit myself a just a little,” but it didn’t seem to bother Zak, who zoomed on regardless. Despite his seemingly death-defying speed, stopping was the one thing Zak wasn’t too worried about: “the whole point of downhill skateboarding is sliding and being able to stop”.  

Zak hoped his hill bombing experience could show other downhill skateboarders that Baldwin is possible. However, he also admitted that as a reasonably experienced downhill skateboarder, he wouldn’t recommend those new to the sport to try this. Alternatively, Zak suggested setting up an event for other skaters to give the steepest street in the world a go. 

Critic Te Ārohi felt blessed and highly favoured to be able to interview Zak, with other news outlets met with phone calls that cut out because he was on a chairlift. While we’ll never be this cool, we’re glad Zak is, so we have something to write about. Shot, Zak.

This article first appeared in Issue 19, 2022.
Posted 1:32pm Monday 15th August 2022 by Keegan Wells .