Aside from walking or riding a bike, the longboard has to the most common form of transportation around or to the Sacramento State campus. It is nearly impossible to go from one class to another without seeing a novice young man or woman struggling to swerve between students on their extended plank.
Having been a skateboarder my entire life, the popularity of the longboard has always puzzled me.
From a skateboarder’s perspective they are very impractical in almost every setting besides the walkway on Venice Beach, and most certainly on any college campus. Here I present my short list of reasons why picking up a longboard might not be the best option.
1. Their size
A longboard is designed to mimic the movements found in surfing. A surfboard on average is 10.5 feet long, which makes sense when you have to battle the ocean’s current for control. Putting wheels on something close to the size of a surfboard is meant for open spaces. When the crowd on campus is too heavy for anything but foot traffic longboarders can be seen dragging their board like a piece of luggage. If you can trudge to class with a board between 34 to 100 plus inches it is probably too big for any classroom or dorm.
2. Non-standardized parts
Longboard brands have not established standardized parts, making it harder for consumers to replace parts when they break. For example, if your longboard deck were to break it would be difficult to purchase another one that has the same mounting drill holes to put your old set of trucks on to replace. This aspect can really affect the pockets of students that don’t know that they are being taken advantage of. It would be expensive having to buy a complete longboard periodically when a simple replacement would have done fine.
3. Longboards can’t go up curbs
Many longboards do not have a “nose” or “tail,” which is curved upward, allowing them to pop up or over any inconsistencies on the ground like a crack or curb. Unfortunately for the longboards that do have a tail, it is usually too short to compensate for how large the wheels are. Imagine a teeter totter that was short on both ends, leaving two unhappy kids who haven’t gotten very high.
4. Their speed is an illusion
Their large soft wheels and precision ball bearings give them the capability of going really fast. This is a misconception because since the trucks are wider than the deck and are almost always loose, it takes a certain level of proficiency to maneuver the board at any speed. And from the look of how many longboarders I see wearing flip-flops I’m sure they are not ready to go past 3 mph.