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Longing to skate: The longboard trend hits campus

The longboard trend is growing, and it's easy to see why

 by Christina Chomut, State Press Magazine
 published on Thursday, October 30, 2003

Longboarding has become a popular sport on campus./issues/arts/542537
Longboarding has become a popular sport on campus.


The landscape of the Valley is an open invitation to the growing trend of longboarding. It is hard not to notice those slick surfboards-with-wheels cruisin' around the ASU campus and downtown Tempe.

The skateboarding industry has come a long way from old-school Tony Alva and the DogTown Z Boys. Short boards are around still and always will be, but longboards are the new Cadillac of the skating world. Senior Andy Hill cruises campus every day with a 29-inch Sector 9 flip-tail board and says, "Shorties are for tricks and ramps, but longboards are for cruising and bombing hills."

Longboard decks range in length from 36 to 84 inches. Like shortboards, longboards have graphics on the underside of their deck that are unique to each skate company that produces them. Longboards are available in almost any style and shape, and range in degrees of flexibility.

Sector 9, based in Sorrento Valley, Calif., is the most trusted and promoted brand of longboard in the area. The company has been around since 1993, when some crazy-cats cut their first pintail deck in the backyard of a neighborhood in La Jolla, Calif. Sector 9 representative, Keith Nyberg, says, "If you do it [ride] once, then you will keep doing it. Longboarding is a shared sport that keeps people stoked."

Local shops carry complete decks with trucks, bearings and wheels attached. These decks range in price from $100 to $250, depending on the brand, style and shop. Vince Bocchini, owner of Vans California Daze in Scottsdale, swears by another brand of longboard, Skull Skates.

"Skull Skates are quality boards. They are made out of Canadian maple and are based out of Vancouver, Canada," Bocchini says. For 30 years, P.D., founder of Skull Skates, has been making longboards with wide decks and simple black-and-white graphics.

Bocchini believes that longboards, in addition to many other things, are something old-school skaters from the '70s and '80s can share with the new generation of riders. "Longboards are made to cruise the boardwalk, relax and have some fun," Bocchini says. This is one of the many reasons why skateboarding has transcended from one generation to the next.

Tani Marra, Ski Pro, Peter Glenn, Cowtown and Sidewalk Surfer are a few local shops that sell broken-down decks as well as complete decks. These shops are extremely helpful in guiding interested individuals in whatever direction they want to go.

New to the Tempe downtown area is Curly's Skate Shop on Sixth Street and College Avenue. With a choice location above Julio's Too and next to Fumbles, Curly's is a haven of skate gear, clothing apparel and talented riders. Owners Chad and Chris Provo, Peter Primiano and Brian Riney are skate gurus who open their shop (and home) to anyone with have an interest or passion - or love affair - with skateboarding.

"Longboards are a fun, great way to get around. It is just that simple," Riney says. The native Arizona owners were surprised to find such profound interest in longboarding in the downtown Tempe area. When the shop moved from 90th Street and Via Linda to a neighboring location and then to ASU, the owners only had three longboards available in their shop. Now, the shop is working diligently to order varieties of longboards to fit the increasing demand from students and longboarding advocates in the area.

Even BMW has caught onto the trend of longboarding with their innovative new development called the BMW Streetcarver.

The Streetcarver is an interesting new longboard with the same suspension as a five-series sedan. It weighs about 17 pounds and has an advanced steering system that makes it handle like a Beamer. The quoted price of $1,295 sends it out of the price range of many students, but it is a momentous development in the world of skateboarding. The representatives who developed the BMW Streetcarver say, "Using the longboard is a slightly different experience than skateboarding - you 'carve' by shifting your body weight or edging. It's the same technique used for surfing and snowboarding."

If you have skated on a longboard before, you know there is nothing like the rush of bombing a hill or the laidback feel of cruising the streets. All you need to get addicted is a good foot balanced in the middle of the board, a foot for pushing and turning, and an adventurous attitude. If you are a virgin boarder, don't go popping your cherry by riding through one of those big puddles on campus. In addition to ruining your bearings by making them squeak, you will slow your board down, giving grandma in the golf cart next to you an edge in your race to sociology.

But don't shy away from the board, because as ASU business senior Cornelius Pickering says, "Why walk when you can ride?"

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