Students Cruising on Penny Boards
While traditional skateboards provide a convenient way for students to move around campus, these commuters have continued to find convenient applications for this mode of transportation. Longboards continue to race on the campus cement alongside bicycles, but more recently, students have used small boards produced by Penny Skateboards to weave in and out of pedestrian groups on their way to class. Between durability and size, Pennys potentially provide more convenience for students traveling from class to class, according to Kyle Cox, owner of Fidna Skate Shop (@FidnaSkate) on the corner of Perkins Road and Stanford Avenue.“[Skaters] break wooden boards all the time, but it’s pretty impossible to break these,” Cox said.
He cited an instance when he saw a car run over a Penny and watched it “pop right back up.”
These entirely plastic boards have larger, softer wheels for cruising, and at 22 inches, are small enough to fit in a backpack. But this smaller style existed before the popularity of regular-sized boards fazed them out.
Cox said skating companies have recently tried to bring back older styles of models with boards like Pennys and their slightly larger cousins, the 27- inch Penny Nickels. An extra selling point for the new models is their biodegradability. Cox joked that people could bury one of these boards in their backyards if they wanted.
Thomas Mansur, a coastal environmental science freshman, said he prefers a regular-sized skateboard over a style like a Penny. But in general, skating is better for getting around campus, he said. As a commuting student who drives to school, Mansur still uses his board on campus to reach locations faster.
“It’s the fastest way to go,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about putting a bike on a car or locking it up.”
But a large reason for the popularity of these smaller boards and longboards stems from inexperience, Cox said.
“If someone hasn’t been skateboarding for a long time, they’ll walk right to this rack,” he said, motioning to a stand of longboards, Pennys and Nickels.
Kevin Nguyen, an undeclared science and engineering freshman, started skating two months ago and uses a Penny for its utility. It’s small, it rides smoothly and it responds quickly, he said.
“My friend had one, and I liked the way it looked and rode when I first hopped on it,” Nguyen said. “It’s just for getting around campus.”
As a result of the boards’ popularity, Fidna sells an increasing amount of longboards and Pennys. Cox has made emergency orders on weekends when the store has run out of supply faster than expected.
“I can’t keep them on the shelf,” he said. “One week we’ll do a lot of Pennys and Nickels, and another week we’ll sell a lot of longboards.”
By Austin Krantz