Campus News

Longboarding becomes a trend on campus

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You may have noticed that the skateboarding years many of us grew up in seem to have given way to a new era: that of the longboard. With the advent of spring has come the appearance of students whizzing across campus on these four-wheel contraptions. These fast-moving alternatives to skateboards can be seen zipping past students who head to class on foot or resting against the wall of Sufficient Grounds as longboarders order their meals. Longboarding seems to be the latest trend for how to maneuver around campus quicker while having fun. When Brad Comden heard his roommate talking about longboarding, he decided to give it a try himself. What drew Comden to longboards is perhaps the same reason others are drawn to them: they are very easy to ride and make for quick travel. While skateboards are meant for tricks, longboards are meant for speed and ease. The larger and softer wheels make longboards travel faster and make for a smoother ride. The board itself—called the deck—is longer and wider, making it easier to balance on. And the trucks (the apparatus that attaches the wheels to the deck) rotates to make turns easier. Comden said for each time you kick the ground, a longboard will also travel farther than a skateboard. Freshman Ali Arnold tried skateboarding when she was younger but now prefers longboarding because it is easier. “It’s not about tricks,” said Arnold. “It’s about riding around and having fun.” Because of the ease of riding, Comden said he can zone out while longboarding. “I love to do it just to clear my head and to think or pray,” said Comden. He also said it allows him to get some much-needed alone time. “It lets you to get away from people on a campus where you are living with people constantly,” said Comden. “I just shoot down to the riverwalk, especially at night when there are no people there. It’s beautiful.” Comden also said it has been a great form of exercise, and he thinks it has contributed to him staying healthier this semester. “This is actually the first time I’ve gotten sick this semester and usually I get sick several times during the winter,” said Comden. “But I think longboarding has helped keep my immune system up. I’m definitely feeling healthier.” And even if longboards aren’t meant for tricks the way skateboards are, Comden has found some ways to make his rides more interesting. He demonstrated several different ways to balance including crouching down or standing on one leg and leaning forward like he’s flying. According to Comden, Bethel campus is a decent place to longboard despite its hills. “It could be better though,” said Comden. “Like if that bench wasn’t at the bottom of the hill by the library. If you’re a beginner, don’t go down that.” Comden said the worst he ever injured himself longboarding was on that hill. “I couldn’t turn fast enough so it was either crash into the bench or leap off,” said Comden. “And so I leapt off and landed on my palm and my knee.” Comden examined the palm of his hand for evidence of the fall but soon smiled and gave up saying now he simply jumps off the board so he hasn’t been injured in a while. Arnold said Bethel campus is a great place to longboard. She said the turns aren’t too sharp and people are very aware of longboarders and willing to move out of the way. Arnold’s father bought her a custom-designed longboard from the website of one of the more prestigious companies, Daddies Board Shop. Her board has the image of a sunset on the back and the Deathly Hallows symbol from the Harry Potter series. She sprung for a nicer longboard in order to get one with good trucks that would offer a smooth ride. Comden purchased a Santa Cruz longboard on Amazon for $120, which he said is considered a reasonable price for an average-quality longboard. According to Comden, a low-grade board costs about $80 and boards with custom-designed images on the back cost much more. For his first longboard, Comden wanted something simple. He did however invest in one piece of longboarding gear: a pair of shoes that he was willing to scrape on the pavement in order to stop or slow down. He can now be seen riding around campus wearing earbuds and greeting everyone he passes with a friendly, ‘How ya doin’?” For serious longboarders, there is a kind of “longboard lingo.” For instance, riding with your right foot forward is called “riding goofy,” and pushing off with your front foot is called “mongo.” Comden, however, keeps his longboarding as a hobby and way of transportation and hasn’t immersed himself in longboard culture. While for some people longboarding might be part of having a certain lifestyle or projecting a particular image, Comden and Arnold longboard for the simple enjoyment of it. In fact, Comden said he stayed on campus for a while at the beginning of Easter break just to have some time to ride his longboard.

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