Limbo was used as a funeral dance in Africa but its well known form was created by slaves and first became popular in Trinidad & Tobago where dancers bend their bodies back from the knees and with shuffling dance steps move their way underneath a transverse bar. Each time they pass underneath, the bar is lowered 30 cm, so that the dance gradually becomes difficult, making acrobatic movements necessary.
Nowadays, the Limbo is known as part festive dance, part calisthenic workout widespread throughout the Caribbean area and is enjoyed all over the world thanks to Chubby Checker in the 60s and the 1991 smash hit “Do the Limbo Dance”.
David Hasselhoff is rarely heard at todays Limbo Riding contests but it was Hasselhoff who gave birth to Limbo Riding in the mid-90s when he visited Austria to promote his Limbo song.
David was familiar with freecarving and first suggested Limbo Riding to his local roadie Wilhelm Mitterberg on their way to Groebendorf where the last concert was scheduled. Mitterberg knew several freecarvers in the area and mentioned the idea at the concert to a then cheering crowd of freecarve enthusiasts . . .
Hasselhoff who had never actually tried snowboarding before was excused from the competition but stayed for a memorable acapella performance the next day when the first Limbo Challenge took place at Fanningberg resort.
Limbo Riding has evolved considerably since then and winners usually come in at around 11.5″ to 12″ (30 cm) in height! One thing the pictures do not show is that you have to clear the bar, then get back up and clear a gate just below and to the side of the bar. Otherwise people would just slide under the bar on the belly and not really carve.
Contests can be held both for toeside and heelside (frontside and backside) turns or rider’s choice. Always ride safe and only use suitable equipment (mainly a long and soft enough pole) to avoid possibly painful collisions!
The Limbo Riding pictures on this page are courtesy of Summit Expression Session and Scott Firestone.
And that is cool too . . .