coastal british columbia  

2002 vancouver island skateboarder rankings  


Bad roads bring good people, good roads bring all kinds of people but fresh paved roads bring longboarders.


Picture this: A fine line with smooth flow, all to yourself, full moon, a 10 minute ride.. no effort…. July. Northern Hemisphere. Impossible? Read on.

A small cult exists. I won’t say where they meet or when they meet. But they pray at the altar of the longboard. They have addictions which can only be satisfied by smooth carving and fast speeds. Their only need is dry weather and a healthy dose of life. They will return to the waves each winter, better than the year before. Secure in the knowledge that while most langored in beer-addled backyard barbecue parties, they still continued to surf. Taking big drops and eagerly training to be future style-merchants, they have discovered that surfing doesn’t end with the demise of the swell.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I suck at riding short smiley boards. I grew up in the boonies and my downhill land experience amounted to dragging a red-rocket wagon to the top of a hill on our farm and flying off a small jump that my sister and I built at the bottom. There were no pools, no ramps, no parks. I used to bike 6 km for any sort of pavement (uphill both ways..eh…).

I inherited "Seal Boy Nature's Mistake", a short smiley Anti-Hero skateboard two years ago. I proceeded to cover my body in road rash until I learned that the best way to proceed down hills on a shortboard was in a weird sort of drop-knee stance. Little kids laughed. Adults shook their heads. Julie patched me up.. and dressed my battered body.

Surf Jam '99. Fortune smiles. Landyachtz. 44 inches of cruising pleasure. After shelling out the $120 for trucks, bearings and wheels, I pointed down a small hill. Bliss, Nirvana…your first hickey. It was like finding a fine line on a fast wave all to yourself… One word of advice… don't let fat guys ollie your longboard. Snap! She's doing better now thanks to the marvels of modern composites.

"The problem I have with you longboarders is that you don't have any skill" .. a red-eyed 13 year old informed me at the local pool, before exhibiting an impressive display of acrobatics on his smiley board with his rubbery little bones.

Yeah well.. I like going fast. Never ollied ... probably never will. I like the feel of a big super-g turn as opposed to the feel of hard concrete against my aching head at the bottom of a ramp. I like the feel of threading a fine line around a sharp corner.. think about making it around a closeout section. I like the drop.

44 inches seems like a lot of board, but on pavement it rides like a short surfboard. I then moved up to one of Billy’s 48" boards. (See 5mm for a better idea of these rockets). I can only describe it as having the same feel as one of his fish surfboards. Fast, responsive, it turns on a dime. Put some Randal II trucks on it, some big fat wheels and some Swiss Bones bearings, you are a hero on the concrete.


Now if you’re going to be a longboarder you might as well go big. Problem is.. no one makes BIG. So sometimes you just have to make your own. Maybe it was the fumes, maybe it was the fumes. I think it might have been the fumes, but it was one of the more satisfying ventures that have been embarked upon since, uh, I forget.

Just like people with quintuplets don’t know true pleasure until they’ve had octuplets, most long boarders don’t know the true thrill that comes with riding a 61" monster down a fresh strip of pavement.
 
 

An asinine design

 
 

Warning!!! (It can be a struggle to get your board back once you lend it away)!

The sheer momentum required to swing that plank of lumber around, is the same energy that carries one far past the downhill slope and through the lazy flats of suburbia. Normally I consider suburbia the equivalent of hell. A longboard changes that. Suddenly a mental map emerges. Secret trails start to appear. Fresh strip of smooth pavement near the bridge, sharp right, pothole 500m past the school..etc.

Along with looking at every wave on the ocean, one starts to examine every patch of asphalt for its riding potential.

Every hill for its speed capabilities. Every corner for crashing probability and every run-out for a safe escape. A whole world appears out of the blandness of a paved subdivision. A plan is hatched for the next full moon along a smooth stretch of highway. A group of friends sliding silently through the night, carving, drafting, sliding and racing each other. A wave big enough for everyone to ride.

So let this be a lesson for those who are unaware of the pleasures of the skate. Like all boardsports…it becomes an addiction who's hunger grows as quickly as the size of your quiver. Enter the shrine of the longboard. Don't worry about the scars, they will heal in time. Tread lightly but smoothly. Take solstice in the fact that on any given evening, there is a fine line to be ridden . Every full moon, someone, somewhere will be carving down a land-locked wave, grinning ear to ear and feeling the flow that is longboard.

Offshores and overheads

Neil

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