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

Waow this is quite pleasant article, my sister love to read such type of post, I am going to tell her and bookmarking this webpage. Thanks https://www.enutrition.co.uk/

Here you will learn what is important, it gives you a link to an interesting web page: Judi Online

Waow this is quite pleasant article, my sister love to read such type of post, I am going to tell her and bookmarking this webpage. Thanks top supplements

I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today. yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion. if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did. the web will be a lot more useful than ever before. agen bandarq online

This is an informative post review. I am so pleased to get this post article and nice information. new orleans personal injury lawyer

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me Web Development Cyprus

Your post is very helpful to get some effective tips to reduce weight properly. You have shared various nice photos of the same. I would like to thank you for sharing these tips. Surely I will try this at home. Keep updating more simple tips like this.  final thoughts

I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. agile training

This is really the sort of data I have been attempting to discover. Much obliged to you for composing this data. bridal robes

This is an informative post review. I am so pleased to get this post article and nice information.Thanks for sharing with us prediksi bola

I Really Liked the Font You’ve Chose to Use in This Article. Could I Please Get The Name Of That Font? I Wanted To Use It In My Project Now. Thanks Very Much! don trudeau benistar

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work. Save on gas bill

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. Gas and electric

Thanks for sharing ! I am happy to find this post very useful for me. bandar capsa uang asli

I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. Entertainment Centers

Great point! From your post, I could comprehend that you have well thought. You need to attempt to include more imagination in your post. It will soon attract in any reader. personal injury attorney new orleans

This post has been written extremely well. The person who has written this post possesses extraordinary writing abilities and I would like to see more of this person's abilities in the future. reputacion online

The writing here is very impressive. This writer really knows how to write in the best way and that is evident here. Would love to see some more great articles like this from you. hackear rapido

Brilliant showed data. I thank you about that. Undoubtedly it will be extremely valuable for my future ventures. Might want to see some different posts on the same subject! Phoenix SEO companies

I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. opiate treatment Maryland

Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. sexual lust

That’s a great site you folks have been carrying out there. rid lice

Great point! From your post, I could comprehend that you have well thought. You need to attempt to include more imagination in your post. It will soon attract in any reader. business analysis training

Love what you're doing here folks, keep it up!.. apartment in mipec riverside for rent

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Web Development Cyprus

Really impressive. I’m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog like this. Keep sharing :) SAT preparation

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. freezer for ice cream

it was a brilliant opportunity to visit this sort of site and I am cheerful to know. much thanks to you such a great amount for allowing us to have this open door.. Judi Sbobet Online

I always expect world class writing from you and you always deliver that in your articles. Your writing skills are the absolute best in the business and I would love to see more articles from you. voyance gratuite immediate par telephone

Very good topic, similar texts are I do not know if they are as good as your work out. Poker online Indonesia

This is a fantastic website and I can not recommend you guys enough. I really appreciate your post. It is very helpful for all the people on the web. poker online Indonesia

I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! domino 99

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging cty s?n xu?t tvc qu?ng cáo

Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more. penis blood flow increase

La información que nos proporciona este artículo es absolutamente excepcional. Como escritora, no pude estar más impresionado con un artículo de lo que estoy ahora con este artículo aquí. Bien hecho! hechizos de amor

This content is very interesting I enjoyed it so much. event producers nyc

The amount of useful information here is immaculate. It's very rare for me to read an article that delivers as much useful information that this article has delivered to me here. I am extremely pleased right now. significado de los sueños

I recently found many useful information in your website especially this blog page. Among the lots of comments on your articles. Thanks for sharing. 1 Airport Cab Minneapolis

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. Thank you for your clear information. 3d animation studios in vietnam

Once again, you have provided us with the article that gives us all the information for our next project. You have given us so much information and I am extremely thankful to you for that! gestion de reputacion online

I’m inspired with the surpassing and preachy listing that you furnish in such little timing. voir

Once again, the writer has done a fantastic job! I think this is one of the most impressive articles that I've read on this site. Love this writers' work and would love more work from this person. nationwide car shipping

When your website or blog goes live for the first time, it is exciting. That is until you realize no one but you and your.
http://giantcheats.com/angry-birds-match-hack-cheats-tips-guide

Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success Advocaat Maastricht

They’re also cast as heels, allegedly crafted due to the McMahon family’s belief that the far right cost Linda the election. A tag feud between these two seems a natural fit, with Darren Young cast as the good guy. Hire detectives

Being a foreign pensioner in Morocco also has tax advantages. Indeed, you will benefit from a 40% deduction on the declared income, with, in addition, under certain conditions, 80% reduction on the tax due. site

The person who has wrote this post here has a lot of writing talent and it has been put on display here in the best possible way. I would love to read more posts from this person in the future. medical biomagnetism

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.  Dog Crate Trainer

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog. play subway surfers on pc and mac with bluestacks android

I felt exceptionally glad while perusing this site. This was truly exceptionally enlightening site for me. I truly preferred it. This was truly a sincere post. Much obliged!.  whenyougarden.com