Written by Jesse Spraggon. Media by Morgan Johnson.
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If you’ve ever head, “Watch out!” or “Excuse me!” yelled at you where shortly after someone went flying by on a longboard, you’ve probably seen one of the many longboarders that have surfaced in Greenville. While most people ride for fun, as a way to get from “point A” to “point B,” many others take longboarding as a sport. There are longboarding races all over the world, as well as trick competitions. There is a much larger number of longboarders at Greenville College this year, and these numbers have been growing over the past few years.
Longboarding has been around Greenville for years. Last year, I joined a group composed of Joel Buessink, Austin Fredrich, Alex Green, and Adam Crouch and started riding with them, along with Adam Chismar. Getting started can be hard and a little scary as all of us riders now know. Everyone in our group has a story of when they’ve fallen. Be it a minor spill, or a major fall, bumps and bruises come with the sport.
Did that scare you away? Are you still reading? Good. Once you get past the dangers of the sport (which can be minimized with proper use of safety equipment) there is a large world of fun waiting once you decide to get on a board. For starters, longboards are longer than a normal skateboard and usually measure anywhere from 34 inches to 44 inches and up. The longer boards are made for cruising down hills at higher speeds, and smaller boards are made for “carving” and doing tricks and slides. Carving is the act of turning while going down hills. To get the idea, imagine a surfer carving up and down waves. This is used to add more style and have fun, while it can also be used to check your speed and slow down.
Sliding is a skill that is used to go around sharp turns, add style to riding, and stop. There are many different types of slides that can be done, with the two most basic being the heel-slide and toe-slide. Heel-slides are, as the name suggests, a slide involving leading with the heel of your back foot, and inversely so for the toe-slide.
These are more advanced maneuvers, and take a lot of practice to master. If you’re willing to put the time in to learn, the feeling you get when you hit that first slide perfectly is so fulfilling.
If you want to do any of that, first you’ll have to get a board. They don’t come cheap, with many completes (the deck and hardware necessary to ride) starting at around 100-125 dollars on the low end. Nicer boards can be very expensive and only invested in if you have a ton of cash lying around, or are getting pretty serious about longboarding. Once you have your board, just get out and start pushing around and riding hills! There’s a group on Facebook for people that longboard here at Greenville College, and we’d love to have a lot more riders! Even if you just want to try it out, we have a ton of boards that you can test and see if you’re interested. Sidewalk surf’s up, go crush it!