Longboarders cruise through Campus
Students on campus walk from building to building to get to class. Some ride bicycles, and others prefer scooters. Recently, however, there has been an increase in longboarding on campus and as a recreational activity for both genders at Utah State. According to Blake Hamblin, a sophomore majoring in speech pathology, the reason for this increase has been caused by two main factors: convenience and looking good. “You have to take time to lock up a bike,” Hamblin said. “Scooters are annoying and people who ride them get made fun of. I’d rather just take my longboard into class with me. It’s more convenient, and people who longboard look cool.”
Hamblin said for a skilled longboarder, it is easier to maneuver a crowded sidewalk than it is for bicyclists, which added to the appeal of choosing it as his mode of transportation. While boys have been taking to longboarding more, so too have the girls.
“Its fun,” said Katie Jensen, a sophomore majoring in exercise science. “It’s more fun than a lot of girls realize. Some girls are bad-A and are really good, but I think most of them use it as a way to meet guys.”
Jensen said she thinks riding a longboard can get guys dates.
“Because it means they can hitch a ride to class,” she said. “No, I’m just kidding. I think they just like girls who know how to have fun.”
However, Jensen said she is excited that more girls are beginning to start longboarding, no matter what their motives are. She said she thinks longboarding to get a date can go both ways.
“You can tell the guys who just enjoy it and you can tell the ones that are trying to show off,” she said.
Jensen said at night when no one is around, USU campus is a great place to ride because it offers a little bit of everything. There are some good hills and tight corners, according to Hamblin. During the summer, Hamblin took his longboard to campus while it was vacant so he could practice riding switch, which means switching from riding “normal” — riding with your right foot in front — to riding “goofy” — riding with your left foot in front — and vice versa. For those riders with a need for speed, Hamblin suggested riding down 800 East or 1000 North.
“Tenth North from the dorms all the way down to Main Street is pretty good,” Hamblin said. “That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone while longboarding. I think I was going 35 miles per hour.”
Hamblin said he and his friend Logan Hager took it a step further. Over the summer, they attempted to make a longboard. They researched what types of wood had the best quality. Hamblin said this was the most important step in the process because he needed to find a wood that will have the right amount of flex. They chose to make theirs out of birch, then cut the wood to the desired shape.
The next step was to decide if they wanted their board to have a shallow dip, called concave, or to have camber, the opposite of concave. They decided to make theirs concave. To achieve this, Hamblin and Hager made a press, which is a device made of two separate sheets of wood with several U-shaped pieces sticking out of each sheet that fit together like a puzzle. The press is squeezed together and the pressure creates a curvature in the board. They left their board in the press for 24 hours. After removing the board, they covered it with fiberglass, sealed it with resin, put griptape on top, and added the wheels.
“For our first board, it was actually pretty good,” said Hager. “It was a little too long and that affected the turning radius. We should have given it a little more camber, but we had someone offer us like $130 for it.”
By Amy Dastrup