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Longboarders gain culture, catch thrills

Doug+Cerveny

Doug Cerveny

Between a longboarder and the pavement there is a board (otherwise known as a deck), there are trucks, which are used when turning, four urethane wheels, metal or ceramic bearings and riser pads to prevent “wheel bite” during a turn.

It is almost identical to a skateboard except for the size and perhaps the shape depending on the board.

For some in the longboarding community, there is a definite culture surrounding the hobby, so much so that the word “hobby” could easily be replaced with “lifestyle.”

“Longboarding has a calming effect, and it is not so focused on tricks as, say, skateboarding. Instead it is focused on simply riding,” Craig Snyder, a junior at the University, said. “Plus, it makes commuting to class fun.”

Mark Musgrave, owner of Red Sky Surf and Snow in Toledo, said the culture of longboarding is not the same as that of skateboarding.

“It is almost like the difference between skiing and snowboarding because there are two completely different mindsets,” Musgrave said.

Red Sky sells longboards instead of skateboards because there is more of a crossover between longboarding and snowboarding,

The value or purpose of longboarding varies depending on the rider. However, there seems to be some elements that are universal.

“Adrenaline is a huge part of it,” Janelle Stout said.

Stout writes for a publication called Longboard Steeze Magazine and used to live in Bowling Green.

“I love speed. I like to go fast. I do it for the rush and the feeling of not knowing what will happen at the end of a hill,” Stout said.

Tyler Thompson, a member of the BGSU Longboarding Association, an organization which is not yet a legitimate student group on campus, wants more people to get involved with longboarding, he said. Currently, the group has roughly 20 core members.

“We are having our Second Annual BGSU Longboard Association Slide Jam and Clinic on April 14, and it would be great if people came out to support us,” Thompson said. “Our overall goal with the event is to get more people interested in downhill or sliding and just longboarding in general.”

Thompson said the event will contain other aspects, such as teaching new riders different techniques and safety tips.

You can get involved with the group by joining the BGSU Longboarding Association on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/bgsulongboardingorganization/.

Learning how to longboard should not seem like a daunting task to any beginner, Snyder said.

“I never envisioned myself on a longboard, but now I love it,” Snyder said. “I am about 6’5″ and used to play football, and I managed to pick it up quick. When you start out, have someone with you who has boarded before. Find an empty parking lot with not a lot of cars, so you don’t bump into anything.”

Learning how to do anything may come with challenges, yet Stout encourages beginners to keep riding even when there are trials that make it difficult.

“No matter what, don’t give up,” Stout said. “It will be challenging, especially when other people progress faster than you. Whether you are riding for fun or want to make it to the Gravity Games, you can’t hang your board up.”

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