Longboarding trend is back with a vengeance

Michael Mercado and Michael Mercado

The longboard, a long-standing form of personal transportation, is becoming more and more popular across the United States; and has found a niche here at ARC.

Their numbers are growing. They can be seen almost anywhere in Sacramento. They roll down the street in your neighborhoods and through the hallways at American River College.

That’s right, longboarding is back and it’s bigger than ever.

Some might believe that longboarding is a new trend that has recently rooted itself among the younger generation. The truth is, longboarding made its way into the market in 1959 and was distributed to a wide range of toy and convenience stores, according to ehow.com.  Its ever-increasing popularity is spanning across the United States rapidly, integrating itself into different neighborhoods. Longboarding in itself has become its own subculture with a style and attitude easily recognized by other longboard enthusiasts.

“It’s a more relaxed and a more mature community,” Jack O’Donnell, a longboarding fan and recording arts major at ARC, said.
According to O’Donnell, longboarding features a more elegant, relaxed style and often references hip-hop or reggae music in its videos. The videos shot show a diverse style of boards and the longboard itself provides a unique way for each skater to express his or her own style. Traditional skateboarding is a much faster paced sport and has a more rebellious style, which represents it. “Longboarding is more about the kids who didn’t want to commit to the traditional culture,”

Jonathan Von Schaub, 38, a skateboarding aficionado who helped set up the skateboarding display at the California History Museum, said.
There are some differences between traditional skateboarding and longboarding. Longboarding has a lower range of tricks, but the tricks are more performance-related. They can range from a dance style, like walking on the board, spinning while the board is moving, downhill bombing and even a small range of flip and ground tricks.

“It’s two different pieces of equipment with two different purposes. Longboarding can be just as dangerous and technical as traditional skateboarding, but there is a definite line between the two sports,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell spends a lot of time cruising around town; although he does not have other friends who longboard, it is a way for him to relax and escape from the daily stresses of life.

Longboarding is seen as a more relaxed sport in perspective to its counterpart. Anthony Dadronies, an undecided major at ARC, made a similar point when he said, “It does help me relax and it makes me feel more in-tune with myself.”

Longboards can be seen on display in clothing stores, skate shops and lifestyle stores like Zumies and Green Siren. O’Donnell purchased his longboard from skatesonheight.com, which is located in San Francisco. High-end decks can cost up to $200, but completed boards might be cheaper for a lower-end set.
Dadronies purchased two of his longboards on Craigslist for $100. “I wanted to get on one because it looked fun and I wanted to get places faster,” he said.
With the amount of money going into the industry, new and innovative board technology is being developed every year.

“The longboarding market has also helped mom-and-pop skate shops grow and stay in business,” Schaub said.
A pecking order has been established with the many differences between skateboarding and longboarding, meaning that a social hierarchy has emerged. Much like the popular crowd in high school who would dictate which students could hang out with them.

An example of a previous feud would be with rollerbladers in the early 2000s. Now, in 2011, skateboarders and longboarders have clashed according to O’Donnell. “I blame skateboarders for giving longboarders a bad reputation,” O’Donnell said. “Sometimes skateboarders will throw things or say crude things as I skate by, but I just smile and wave.”