It is hard to go a day without seeing someone riding or carrying a longboard on campus. Longboarding is a common way for students to get around campus quickly and efficiently. But there is quite a bit more to the longboarding subculture than fast travel. There are multiple types of longboards, each of which are built with particular activities in mind. These activities range from downhill racing to carving and cruising, according to Freeride Surf and Skate Shop’s website.
Longboards vary in shape of board, the material the board is made of, the size of the trucks and tightness of the trucks depending on what the board is designed to do.
People who are more serious about longboarding may have more gear and multiple boards — called a “quiver” — which they can use for the different styles of riding.
The longboarding subculture is more prominent in California — longboards originated there when surfers wanted a way to “surf” on pavement when the weather was too bad to actually surf. However, longboarding still has a decent following here on campus, junior Josh Adrian said.
Longboarding is a style of boarding generally geared toward relaxation than traditional skateboarding.
“It’s the most relaxing thing I do all day,” freshman Sam Haney said. “This is pretty much my drug.”
While some longboards made for trick riding, trick riding is much less prominent in longboarding.
The most common uses of longboards include transportation, carving, “hill-bombing” and activities that generally require longer distances than typical skateboard tricks.
“It’s very much about the ride itself. It’s not so much about the tricks that you can do with it as much as the actual how you ride going from one place to the next,” Haney said.
The social aspect of longboarding is also very different from traditional skateboarding. Relaxed and inviting, pretty much anyone who wants to learn can join the growing numbers of longboarders on campus.
“Literally anyone can pick up a longboard. I don’t think there’s an exclusive group here at all,” Adrian said.
While there may be a certain look about some of the more immersed members of the culture, you certainly don’t have to adopt that same look to “fit in” with others who longboard, Haney said.
Picking up longboarding isn’t all that hard, senior Anne Dhanens said. It’s more about practice and confidence than skill level.
“[My first time] I ate it. Really badly. I hit major speed levels and then I ate it,” Dhanens said. “So then I was scared off of it for a couple years and didn’t start up again until the middle of high school when I just gritted my teeth, stole my sister’s longboard and practiced for hours until I got over my fear.”
Some students around campus picked up riding at a young age, while others have only been riding for a couple of years. Dhanens has been riding for almost six years, while Adrian — who participated in skateboarding in middle school and high school — didn’t pick up longboarding until coming to Whitworth.
“When I got to college, I borrowed a friend’s board and loved it and realized how much I missed skating,” Adrian said.
Alanna Carlson Staff Writer
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