Teens hangin’ ten on dry land
RHMS eighth graders Abby Adams (left) and Hannah Phillip (right) show the official longboarder stance which showcases the boards’ under deck design.
By Kathy Dunker with photos courtesy of Michelle Dunker
What is faster than jogging but a little slower than a bike and all the rage with teens this summer? Longboarding! And what is a longboard exactly? A longboard is essentially a longer skateboard, ranging from 38 to 60 inches compared with regular skateboards that are 30 to 36 inches. Most longboards have a colorful design or pattern underneath the deck similar to snowboards.
Longboards are not meant for flipping on half-pipes or grinding on rails. Instead, they are designed for comfortable long distance riding. Because the board is more flexible, the wheels are bigger, and the wheels are made of softer plastic, longboards can go over rough surfaces that could cause a crash on a skateboard. Weaving back and forth propels the board faster and longer than it would on a regular skateboard, requiring little need for riders to have to push with their feet.
The length of the longboard has a great impact on performance. For downhill longboarding 40 to 46 inches in length provides greater stability and control at high speed than a shorter style board and emulates the feeling of making a turn on a surfboard or a snowboard. Longboards that are 40 inches or shorter tend to perform better on flatland and mild downhill areas. The shorter length allows the longboard cut a sharper turning radius, which means easier maneuvering.
Longboards 50 inches plus are great for longboard surf maneuvers such as cross stepping and hanging ten. The long wheel base means a large turning radius and cannot fly around corners like their shorter counterparts.
Becoming an accomplished longboarder takes practice. Longboards going downhill can get some serious speed going. While many longboarders will be seen without a helmet, a helmet really should be worn, as well as knee and elbow pads, even gloves. Flat soled, closed toed shoes will also help ensure a safe riding experience.
Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) eighth grader, Dhruv Gopal, concluded, “I like longboarding because I live near a bunch of places that I can longboard to. It’s a great way to get around!”
Thirteen-year-old Brian Dunn has been longboarding for several years and still loves it.