Written by Adam Crouch.
Sometime in your life, you may have seen someone riding around on a giant, flat skateboard. This activity is called “longboarding” and, believe it or not, it’s a popular activity on Greenville College’s campus.
Longboards are conceptually identical to skateboards in the sense that they consist of a piece of wood on top of two sets of two wheels designed to move the board in the direction of the rider’s intent. The difference between a skateboard and a longboard is that while skateboards are used primarily for tricks, longboards are used primarily for transportation. With their longer body, bigger wheels and sturdier design, they are perfect for swiftly rolling from point A to point B. They are most convenient, however, when ridden downhill. Going downhill, as any physics major will tell you, makes it easy for you to gain momentum and speed. Too much speed can be dangerous, but that’s why longboarders so cleverly stole an idea from snowboarders: carving. Carving is the act of moving the board back and forth along your path to gain as little momentum as possible. As a matter of fact, carving is the only technique other than properly getting on a board that you need to learn to pick up a board and ride.
Longboarding used to be shunned as “against the rules” on the Greenville College campus, but thanks to Michael Lawrence’s extended research, we now know that skating on campus is, in fact, allowed, despite what campus security continually tells us. The condition of such behavior is that all skaters be “courteous” and allow right-of-way to those who are walking around them.
Despite being legal on Greenville College’s campus, there is still a city ordinance against longboarding in the city limits of Greenville on public roads,except on walkways that are outside of the business district (oddly enough, that’s a true statement.)
Because of this ordinance, many experienced Greenville longboarders search for fun outside of Greenville in places ranging from as close to Vandalia to as far as St. Louis. Some of the people who take these trips outside of the “Greenville Bubble”to explore better hills are Adam Chismar, Alex Green, Austin Fredrich, and Jesse Spraggon.
I, personally, try to longboard at least three times a month. It’s a good way to get some fresh air and think, as well as being an effective social bridge.
If you’re interested in taking up longboarding as a hobby, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to try it out with you, or ask an already experienced friend to help you learn. A decent starter longboard can cost anywhere from $100-$200, and is a really good gift idea for your 2012 Christmas list.
So whether you’re into cruising slow hills like me, bombing steep hills like Joel Beussink, or carving and sliding sharp turns like Justin Warren, longboarding has something for everybody. You can’t lose! Go give it a try.