As are most of my summers, 2012’s season of heat has been filled with numerous ups and downs, as well as several life altering events. However, even with the tumultuous ebb and flow of life, I did stick to one of my summer goals: I finally learned to longboard.
I am fairly athletic person. I am about six-feet tall, and incredibly lean. My metabolism is incredibly fast-paced (even at twenty-three), and my buck-forty frame has been pretty-well locked in for the past five-years or so. I tend to be very coordinated and quick, compared to most people; this is most likely due to my slender frame and years of throwing freight as a grocer.
Essentially, I wanted to enjoy the summer weather with my friends, and longboarding became that means. I enjoy being outside; my girlfriend (Celeste) and I go hiking every now and again, but on the whole I’m generally an inside guy—hermit-like really. I do a lot of reading and writing, and my primary occupation has me usually working indoors at a local Fred Meyer for eight+ hours at a stretch.
Although, some part of me has always been interested in skateboarding, and by extension longboarding, but I never really had that push to actually try it out until recently. I am the type of person to dive head first into a new project or activity, and this coupled with the fact that I have quite a few friends who just recently started longboarding again, I did exactly that—dived head first…with no regrets. Longboarding is a sport that seems to have really come back in the Spokane area in recent years, so with all of these things in mind I found myself finally giving it a go.
I went out with my friend, John ‘A1 Sauce’ McDonell, to our local “Big 5” and bought myself a relatively cheap (approximately $79.99 with tax) “Golden Beach” 46’ pin tailed longboard (featured left). It is a tad on the long side (there are longer though!), but because I was first starting out I wanted a board more built for cruising and stability, rather than tricks.
After practicing quite a bit, I have really gotten into it. I live in the historic Browne’s Addition of Spokane, WA, and because of the age of the district there are some spectacular hills and stretches to skate on and down. I’ve actually got so into the sport, that I’m finally brazen enough to try and start learning how to do some basic slides and manuals with my board. My friend, John, and I decided to buy sliding gloves and begin practicing. For those of you who don’t know (because hell…I sure didn’t know until a couple months ago!) sliding gloves are essentially a pair of utility gloves with plastic pieces (called pucks) attached to the glove via Velcro. Some gloves just have pucks for the palms, but others have pieces for the fingertips and thumb, as well as the palm.
I ended up picking up a pair of Loaded sliding gloves from “The Mountain Goat” on Sprague in downtown Spokane (featured right). They ran me $54.99, but what is nice about the Loaded gloves is that they have pucks for the fingers and thumb, instead of just the palm. My buddy John picked up his gloves from a “Zumiez” for $39.99, but because it only has the palm puck the fingertips are already shredding after only a couple weeks of use.
(As an aside, John and I are planning on trying to make our own sliding gloves, and we’ll probably post a tutorial on YouTube—I’ll link here if it comes to fruition)
We’ve slowly been perfecting the Coleman Slide and the Front Slide for the past several weeks, and save for one serious wipeout, it has been phenomenal. I would highly recommend it. It is fun to cruise and chat without really having a care in the world. It sheds me of my responsibilities for a brief moment, and in the moment I’ve been able strengthen my friendships—what’s to complain about?
If you have the interest and the ambition this is most-definitely a sport that doesn’t cost much right off the bat, and if you really enjoy it you can always improve on your equipment. There are a million different styles of boards and gear for body shape and type of enthusiast.
I’ll post videos and pictures as they become available. My friend and I aren’t terribly good, but we do like to snap a picture or two of our desperate plans to be better, and I’d love to share them with everyone.
What are your summer sports? Do you live in area that promotes the outdoors, or do you have to go out of your way to find it?
*Update (9.15.2012) — I’m sure there are still errors, but I noticed in particular there were quite a few grammatical errors and basic spatial awareness issues that I have hopefully ironed out with my last minute correction. Sorry for the incoherency! And again, thanks for reading!
- How to “Pick Your Longboarding Type” (locomotionculture.wordpress.com)
- How to “Speak Longboarding” (locomotionculture.wordpress.com)
- Tony Hawk demo @ the Hillyard Skatepark in Spokane, WA (politicalstrife.wordpress.com)
- What Is Longboarding (locomotionculture.wordpress.com)