Longboards debuted in 1959 in Hawaii right after skateboards hit the scene. The idea for a longboard originated after a surfer saw that the wheels mimicked the waves. Thus, began the trend of longboarding also known as sidewalk surfing.
It never quite caught on until the 1990s when Tony Hawk and other celebrity boarders popularized skateboarding and skateboard tricks, according to Livestrong.com.
No matter how the trend started, it cannot be denied that longboarding and skateboarding are both popular on Northwestern’s campus.
Sophomore Tim Rose never rode a longboard before setting foot on campus a little more than a year ago.
“No one rode longboards from where I’m from, but I came here and everyone rides them,” Rose said. “Then I went back home and all my other friends who went to college started getting them so I thought I should too.”
Rose bought his longboard, which looks like a small surfboard with waves on the bottom, from a senior who lives his floor in Hospers.
Sophomore Michelle Simpson, on the other hand, has been riding a longboard since she was a sophomore in high school.
“I had some friends that were into it so I bought a $20 board on Craigslist that lasted me until freshman year,” Simpson said.
Simpson’s board has a drop deck, allowing the rider’s center of gravity to sit closer to the ground, allowing better turns and more stability at faster speeds.
“Riding is a freeing experience,” Simpson said. “It is a nice five-minute break before class.”
However, not all students see longboarding in the same light. Junior Heather Korinek has had awkward moments when crossing paths with longboarders.
“It is awkward when they are coming at me while swerving,” Korinek said. “I’m not sure where I should go.”
Senior James Juergens prefers his bike to any other mode of transportation.
“I just ride my bike if I want to get somewhere quickly,” Juergens said. “I saw someone faceplant once trying to avoid a group of people and I don’t want that to be me.”
Students who are walking often cross paths with longboarders on their way to classes. This often forces walkers, boarders or both to try to move to avoid a collision.
“When I see people walking, I want them to stay where they are at,” Simpson said. “They scatter and it makes it difficult to go around them. Walk where you normally would and I will go around you.”
Be careful, though, as not all students with longboards are as confident.
“Sorry if I hit you, it was an accident; I’m just bad at longboarding,” Rose said.