Why Longboards Suck

Some of them have handheld brakes.
Share |

Image via Skatebrake.com.

Last fall, as I locked my bike up to a post at the corner of Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue one afternoon, I witnessed a scene so perfect it was almost as if I had manifested it. A crust-punky girl was riding a longboard the wrong direction (westbound, on the eastbound side of the street) on Grand Avenue's new bike lane. She was approaching the intersection from the SW corner as a livery cab was making a perfectly legal right hand turn onto Manhattan Avenue from the southeast corner, and he crossed the bike lane slowly, held up perhaps by pedestrians crossing with the light.

She held her ground, and unable to stop herself properly, she hopped off her board and put her hands on the top of the cab's hood. "What are you doing?” she shouted. “This is the bike lane!"

In recent years, two longboard-only shops have opened in theoretically cool New York neighborhoods, the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Longboards clog the city’s newly minted network of bike lanes with people who hardly know how to push, and who might think they are riding a “skateboard.” Longboards and skateboards rarely compete for real estate—you’ll never see a skatepark or Tompkins Square swarming with longboards—though territory isn’t the issue at the root of the hostility toward longboarders. Unlike their hatred for BMXers, which stems largely from bikers’ ability to seriously injure everyone else at the skatepark, skateboarders’ distaste for longboarders is more purely ideological.

Skateboarders, an intentionally inarticulate bunch, might not be the best to ask why. Blessed with the art-school dropout pretense that taking part in an urban subculture can provide, and saddled with the pot-choked vocabulary of their ancestral homeland, skateboarders are very opinionated but economical with words. Asked how they feel about longboards, they typically resort to simple, timeless insults. Longboarders are kooks. Longboarders are losers. Longboarders suck. Superficial as it may seem, their blunt loathing is the key to understanding why the longboard is an insidious, parasitic vehicle.

To an outsider this might appear to be a classic case of the narcissism of small differences—Freud’s term for the hatred that tends to exist between two distinct groups with more similarities than differences. They exaggerate the minor differences that exist between them to maintain a stronger sense of self. Scotsmen and Englishmen, for instance. Northern Californians and Southern Californians. Skateboarders and longboarders.

There’s some merit in this Freudian take on the feud, too. After all, skateboards and longboards are made of the same stuff—wood, trucks, wheels, bolts, bearings, and sometimes grip tape. But when it comes to the question of what they can do, or rather what they enable their riders to do, the differences between skateboards and longboards start to pile up. A skateboard allows you to take part in nearly half a century of progress; a longboard enables you to roll and powerslide (and this only if you get really good at it, and if you have protective gloves).

The street skateboard has evolved hand-in-hand with street skateboarding, changing as skaters’ abilities and needs changed. As skateboarding in Southern California’s drained pools gained popularity during the drought years of the ’70s, the boards got larger, and eventually ramps were made to replicate the experience. And when Powell’s Bones Brigade ruled the day, the single-kicked fishtail boards, best suited for vert and kicker ramps, dominated the market. And as skateboarding moved to the streets of San Francisco, and Justin Hermann Plaza was the epicenter of increasingly technical street trickery, two-kicked street skateboards became more popular—the rails on the boards gone, the concave and kicks relatively flat, as pressure flips were still considered a real trick. Then, during the mid-to late ’90s, this innovation in skateboarding technology sort of ceased. Now, the kicks are steeper than an early ’90s board, the nose and tail thinner and more similar to one another, and the outside edges of the deck have lost their curve; the skateboard is now better primed for larger sets of stairs, more switch, nollie and fakie tricks, and flip tricks, that actually leave the ground.

Year after year, wrongheaded inventors would try to improve upon the skateboard’s now perfected design. These dreamers came both from within skateboarding and without—the latter group often more extravagantly wrong than the former—and none of them have managed to make a significant, fundamental change to the design of the street skateboard. Innovation in street skateboard design ceased maybe thirty years after the ollie was invented.

The longboard, on the other hand, is deliberately primitive. With its tropical design elements and surfboard-esque shapes, the longboard takes skateboarding back to a past that never quite existed. Though skateboards evolved from surfboards, even in their earliest forms they were never nearly as large—they were tiny compared to what street skaters ride today, and an order of magnitude smaller than longboards—the need to stay afloat not necessary on land. That, and the wheelbase provided by roller-skate trucks was quite narrow. These little things could hand you your ass, if they wanted to. Skateboarding, even in its nascent form, was never free of risk.

And though the longboard was designed with downhill skateboarding in mind (which is incredibly dangerous and requires both balls and talent) they are more frequently found on city streets and on college campuses, in bike lanes and walkways, used as a sort of cowardly and silly compromise between biking and walking. The convenience and ease of use they provide is a major selling point. Not only are they easy to use; they’re incredibly limiting, too.

You can’t even ollie with a longboard. The simplest of tricks, the one that has enabled everything that street skateboarding has become, is by design simply impossible with a longboard. Even those that do have a tail are too massive to reliably take off, and so long that it would take a massive ollie to even guarantee your rear wheels clear the smallest of curbs. They’re the dodo bird of the skateboarding world. Unfortunately, unlike the dodo, they won’t go away.

Perhaps they’re more like the ostrich: not only flightless, but also oversized, stupid and cowardly.

Due to their sheer mass, longboards provide a certain safety bubble for those who ride them, and this is precisely why they are popular. The massive decks, the wide wheelbase, the butter-soft wheels, all these things add up to the sort of luxuriously smooth ride one might reasonably expect from a Cadillac, not a skateboard. Whereas a skateboard will punish you with loose gravel ground into your palm for not ollieing over a crack, a longboard's wobbly-deck suspension will make it seem as though it weren't there. While a skateboard will throw you to the ground for hitting the most minuscule pebble, a candy-colored longboard wheel will absorb the debris, and spit it back out as the wheel turns again.

This safety makes neophytes comfortable taking to the streets immediately after purchasing their first Sector 9, riding what appears to be a skateboard the wrong way in the bike lane, with no idea how to stop moving, and little incentive to learn. (A company called SkateBrake has even invented a handheld brake for longboards—just $109.95!) They'll never be forced to deal with the dangers inherent to skateboarding, because longboards are designed to protect their riders from the concrete by providing them with an unseemly amount of real estate to stand upon. And for this very reason, they proliferate, and bike lanes and college campus walkways become clogged with mongo-pushing, mall-gripping longboarders, almost none of whom know how to stop, and none of whom likely give a shit—they just want to cruise.

And it’s this apparent harmlessness that, counter to logic, makes longboarding a more pernicious threat to skateboarding culture. A popular New York City skateboarding blog recently speculated that, should a longboarder, coaxed onto First Avenue or any other busy street by the false sense of security that longboards provide their users, get killed by a passing vehicle, the City of New York might move to ban skateboarding from the street entirely—missing the distinction between longboards and skateboards, longboarders and skateboarders, with skateboarders getting the raw end of the stick. (The author of the blog refused to comment about this, having deleted the post after a deluge of longboarder hate mail and comments—I’m prepared for the worst.)

Not only are longboards comically outsized, castrated, and flightless versions of skateboards, there is ample reason to believe that they could potentially make skateboarding look even worse in the eyes of the law than it already does. This is the more insidious threat that longboards might pose to skateboarding, and skateboarders: that this subculture could be defined from its lame and fainthearted fringe rather than from within.

Longboarders, like Blue Dog Democrats or guys who sag skinny jeans, do everyone a disservice by refusing to pick a fucking side. In the rare instance that they do pick a side, it’s usually against traffic. As someone who still skateboards more than they sit in front of a desk writing might put it, longboards are fucking lame.


Share |

Comments

Very nice blog and articles I am really very happy to visit your blog. Now I am found which I actually want.Thank you and waiting for your new post. link building service

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. transfer Zurich

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. web design Singapore

This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you. essayhave

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with extra information? It is extremely helpful for me. א.ד.מ ניהול ואחזקת מבנים

Thanks a lot for sharing us about this update. Hope you will not get tired on making posts as informative as this. Christmas carols

Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =). We could have a hyperlink change contract between us! IPTV BOX

Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot. bluereefpools

i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future.. Graphic Design For Small Business

Great Article it its really informative and innovative keep us posted with new updates. its was really valuable. thanks a lot. farmacie aperte a lecce

I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites blog site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my site as well and let me know what you think. טיפול באקנה מבוגרים

Great! It sounds good. Thanks for sharing.. plumbers marblehead ma

I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. web hosting

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. real estate

Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up!.. lingerie shop

This is my first time i visit here and I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially it's discussion, thank you. http://www.sezmi.com/chicago-seo

You have provided such great information I really love that! Keep up trying well….
Country Hills Storage

The skateboard is now better primed for larger sets of stairs, more switch, nollie and fakie tricks, and flip tricks, that actually leave the ground.useful site

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site Executive Development Program

Superb web journal! I discovered it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any recommendations on the best way to get recorded in Yahoo News? I've been striving for some time however I never appear to arrive! Welcome it. http://www.epicelectricskateboards.com

Kitchen Soak Tanks come in several different sizes which are measured by the amount of water they hold. This water is replaced monthly. Think of the hot water savings here compared to water usage required in a three compartment sink. Typically a three compartment sink will use around 800 gallons (3,028 Litres) of water per day. With the cost of water averaging around US $2 per 1,000 gallons (AUD $3 per 1,000 litres) – it does not include water heating costs. With a Kitchen Soak Tank the extended use and associated costs of using your three compartment sink can be dramatically reduced. Soak Tanks

I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative website. argan oljeprodusenter

I am truly appreciative to the owner of this website who has shared this nice article at this wonderful place.
BSOD

Guys you did great work. I’m very pleased to say that these are wonderful articles and blogs. Thanks for this.
Bookkeeping services blacktown

I dispatched your articles links to all my contacts and they all mate it including me.The one and only Poke Coins hack

Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on. car cover

It is imperative that we read blog post very carefully. I am already done it and find that this post is really amazing car cover

Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family.click here for gems

Buy backlinks I was searching the blogs for a long time and that is good to know that I have found such blogs here. Great working! Keep it up! visit this site hurry !!! Dofollow Blog Comments

Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it. car covers

i am continually searching for some free stuffs over the web. there are likewise a few organizations which gives free specimens. cheap dab rigs

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.ถุงฟอยด์

I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work.Baltimore Maryland wedding photographer

Lots of useful information and inspiration, both of which we all need !Relay appreciate your work.car covers

I am getting expertise all the time by reading such pleasurable posts.
have a peek here

This is an awesome motivating article.I am practically satisfied with your great work.You put truly extremely accommodating data. Keep it up. Continue blogging. Hoping to perusing your next post. writework

Hey eager stuff precise substance your response on girlsdoporn

I wanna thanks to a great extent for providing such informative and qualitative material therefore often.
limousine credit card processing

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read !! After you read this post, you’ll be wishing you worked from sunrise to sunset Alaska time. manchester united stream

What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. Sheridan, Wyoming Lawyer

What a fantabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. I am grateful to you and expect more number of posts like these. Thank you very much. Sheridan, Wyoming Lawyer

Thanks a lot for publishing the new good stuff for us. I’ll really get the great advantage from your good stuff.
term life insurance with fixed rates

niche relevant backlinks Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has importations your hard work and experience you have got in This field. Brilliant reading .I love it. high trust flow backlinks dofollow

This is a superb post I seen because of offer it. It is truly what I needed to see trust in future you will proceed for imparting such a magnificent post.... forskolin reviews

Many thanks for offering the good information I'm finding this type of knowledge ..
carpet cleaning champaign

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. casino sbobet

I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point, You just got a new biggest fan!.. haus verkaufen

Hey,This is a very nice post and vrey interesting. it is real quality writes as offered on this post. tact advisory

Wowwww!!! You have done an excellent job. I’ll undoubtedly dig it and in person recommend to my friends Halloween Costume Canada

We are the first high class escort service agency in all of North Goa. We provide both incall & outcall services in Candolim and surrounding areas. travel more for less