Longboarding for Fun

Longboarding for FunLongboarding and surfing are brother (or sister) sports. Yes, one is done on waves that wash onto beautiful beaches and the other is done on asphalt roads that end at an intersection but hear me out. People that surf are forever travelling to find that perfect wave. They drive from beach to beach and the really committed surfer, on his search will go from country to country. Similarly, the longboarder is looking for that perfect slope with a little or no traffic. That can get you to other countries if you’re like ‘The Longboard Lady’ who, with a friend flew to Australia from Sweden and skated about 450kms along the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs!

If you check out blogs by longboarders, they say similar things to surfers about feeling the wind in their hair and the exhilaration of speeding down a hill at 100kph. It’s just the difference in elements they experience. Another difference is the equipment. A surfboard doesn’t have any moving parts and the only thing that can usually go wrong with a board is when a shark takes a bit out of it. A longboard has trucks, wheels, bearings and the board itself, all of which can be damaged or fail while riding. Falling base over apex on a bitumen road is a lot less forgiving than falling into the sea!

People I have seen longboarding spend a bit of time comparing makes of boards and checking out the latest in wheels and bearings as speed and reliability are the primary concerns. Most of them visit http://longboardmafia.com because that’s where all the most recent information about boards can be found. It makes sense.

Recently, there was a story and a YouTube video about a young guy that took his longboard down a big hill. It was ‘big’ in the sense that it was long rather than the gradient was steep. He reached a speed of 120kph which was pretty awesome. He nearly lost his balance a couple of times. Scary stuff! It was good to see that he was wearing protective gear like a helmet and gloves. You can also see videos of injuries like asphalt burns and rashes of riders taking death-defying tumbles after losing the board on a bend.

The relationship between skateboarders and longboarders is like that between longboard surfers and surfers on short boards. The equipment for each aspect of the sport is made for different purposes. Skateboarders can do tricks and have excellent manoeuvrability, just like a short board surfer. A longboard skater uses his board for downhill speed runs and a longboard surfer uses his board to catch the big waves. There is no animosity or looking down on the other format of the sport because riders are interchangeable. That is, a skater can skate long or short and a surfer can surf long or short.

A change that longboard skaters would like to see is the setting up of dedicated slopes and hills for them to ride down, just like there are skateboard parks.