Mississauga Teens Have Heart
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Who says skateboarders aren’t tough?
Zooming down a steep incline on the second day of their longboard journey from Mississauga to Montreal, 17-year-old Josh Della-Savia hit a pothole and wiped out, dislocating his shoulder. His travelling companion, Walter Kriek, also 17, helped him pop the joint back into place and the pair carried on. “It’s pretty sore,” said Della-Savia. “But you continue on. We said we were going to do something, so you’ve got to go through the pain and do it.”
The Erindale Secondary School buddies set out on their 600km excursion Saturday, in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. On Tuesday morning, after breakfasting at Belleville’s Ramada Inn, the pair were preparing to resume their trip along the Waterfront Trail, hoping to spend the night in Bath. They plan to reach Montreal by Saturday afternoon. Using longboards — which are kind of like small surfboards with wheels — because they are bigger and sturdier than skateboards, Della-Savia and Kriek said they were inspired to tackle their trek after one of Della-Savia’s grandfathers died of a heart attack.
“He had a sudden, unexpected heart attack and it brought the whole idea together,” said Della-Savia. “We’ve raised about $2,500 so far and we’ve met a lot of enthusiastic people along the way, offering directions and asking if there’s anything they can do to help out.” Supported by family members and several sponsors, Della-Savia and Kriek said travelling via longboard was a natural choice for them. “We’re really passionate about longboarding,” said Della-Savia. “It releases stress and anxiety, and it helps you sleep at night. So, we just decided to do it.” Though they trained for the event, Kriek said spending nine to 11 hours a day on a longboard is taxing. “My knee joints and push foot are pretty sore and I’m sure my right thigh has become significantly bigger than my left from doing, like, mini-squats all day,” said Kriek. “The first day, I was pretty wiped. Then, it starts to feel better.” Still, before hitting the trail Tuesday, Kriek was wearing a moleskin, a jell pad and two pairs of socks on one foot to protect a blister.
Della-Savia figures the friends are each consuming about eight litres of water per day along with numerous protein bars. When they checked into the Ramada Monday night, Della-Savia couldn’t wait to tuck into a hamburger while Kriek demolished an order of fish and chips. As part of their deal with their sponsors, Della-Savia and Kriek are documenting their trip on video, which helps keep them alert during their long days on the trail.
“We do stuff like make up street names,” said Della-Savia. “Once you’re on a longboard for seven hours, your mind is pretty much blank and you’ll laugh at just about anything.” “We’re doing the video, so we can’t just be brain-dead,” said Kriek. “We have to look around for cool things to do.” Della-Savia said he and Kriek are already planning a longer journey next summer, to also support the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Next year — destination unknown,” said Della-Savia. “But we’ll definitely do it again and hope we can get other people to do it with us.” “Another trip for sure,” said Kriek. “But farther.” Della-Savia said the project will be a success if even one person chooses to alter their lifestyle to lower their risk of heart disease or stroke. “In most cases, it’s so preventable,” he said. “You can do things to make your life healthier.”
Anyone interested in following Della-Savia and Kriek can visit: www.Facebook.com/LongboardingsinYourHeart
Words By: Paul Svoboda