Ask a Fifth-Year: Lawrence longboarders

Jacob Horn

Dear Jacob,

Longboards — what’s up with that?

-Scared Pedestrian

Well, Scared, that’s not really a question, but I’ll do what I do best. I’m going to rant around the subject and give you an answer that doesn’t really address the initial question.

A friend of mine who is well informed on the subject of college trends has informed me that Lawrence is a few years behind other colleges when it comes to useless trends. I can only assume that Lawrence jumped on the “Like A Little” bandwagon well after everyone else became sick of it.

My informant told me that on the East coast she witnessed the booming fad of longboards and other similar trends well before their invasion of the Lawrence campus. I swear, if I start seeing pet rocks pop up, I’m transferring. I don’t care if I only have half a year left.

Much like Andy Rooney before me, I don’t understand a lot of what the younger generation deems “hip” and “fly” anymore. I’ve done my best to research to inform you, dear reader, on the ways of the longboard. And by research, I mean 15 minutes on Google.

In case you don’t know what a longboard is, they’re three-to-four-foot-long skateboards that cost about as much as a used car. That’s a bit of an exaggeration. There are some boards that cost as much as two really shitty used cars.

More often than not, when I talk to anyone that rides a longboard, their stories don’t ever revolve around their excursions or anything positive. The main story that I hear is an odd mad-lib that goes like this: “I was — synonym of riding — my board when I — synonym of crashed — and — synonym of ripped — my — any body part, really.”

These boards are different than a regular skateboard not only in size, but also function. Instead of doing tricks on their boards, most longboard users lope around in a malaise about campus. Sure, they often cruise down hills at breakneck speeds, but their basic function is transportation. I guess that has to be my main objection, that they don’t serve as a platform to perform tricks.

A fair warning to anyone reading this that knows me: I’m about to reveal some private details about my past that may be hard to believe. This is incredibly embarrassing, and I don’t talk about it much for good reason.

I used to be an aggressive in-line skater. The training ground was Skate City, a local roller rink where speed would be honed. My older brothers and I would skate around parks, up and down quarter-pipes, grinding on any cylinder and doing royales and fishbones. A basic rule of aggressive in-line skating is that the more ridiculous the move, the more ridiculous the name.

To go along with the absurdity of aggressive in-line skating, there was also the practice of break dancing. We would flail around on tile or sheets of cardboard, perfecting moves like the Windmill and the Superman. No longboarder shares such a ridiculous bond with their fellow longboarder. There is no common culture that bonds them.

So, to summarize, I don’t like longboards because they’re not nearly as rad as I was in the ‘90s.