Though this season's spring weather has brought chilly winds and downpours of rain, students have snuck out of their hibernation — whether it be their dorm room, greek house or Roy O. West library — in order to get fresh air. Along with pleasant spring weather comes various forms of transportation or recreation, traditionally bicyclers and Rollerbladers. But sophomore Alex Riggs and his friends travel by longboard.
On one of these days, Riggs was riding to class on his longboard when he accidentally rode into the grass and stumbled in front of a couple of passing students.
"See," one student said to the other, "I told you. They're everywhere!"
Riggs looked at the student in disbelief, picked up his board and rode away.
"He was right in front of me," Riggs said. "Like, I could hear him say it. I don't know what his problem was."
The passing student may have been referring to the recent rise in longboards across campus, a mode of transportation far more common on the west coast where most longboard stores are located.
The longboard itself is shaped like a rectangle with smoothed edges. Longer than a skateboard, it does not allow for the usual tricks the shorter skateboard might. However, a longboard does come in several different sizes – though all longboards are still much longer than a skateboard.
TheLongboardStore.com mentions in their FAQ section the advantages and disadvantages of different longboard sizes. "A longer longboard is going to be more stable and are great for longer commutes and cruising," the site says. It also reveals that a shorter board, though harder to handle, "turns much quicker" and is "easier to carry with you to the office or class."
Riggs believes longboards are extremely efficient and easy to ride.
"I could probably do the Forrest Gump thing on a longboard," Riggs said. "And just ride it across the U.S.A."
Riggs also explained that the boards allow a student to get anywhere on campus in five minutes or less.
Not only do the boards provide an efficient way to travel they're simply, "exhilarating," said freshman Rob Weidner. "You can't do as much on bikes."
His friend, sophomore Robby Spichiger was quick to correct him.
"Absolutely not," Spichiger said. "Rob, that makes no sense."
Spichiger then explained that a bike is faster and easier for traveling long distance. However, he added, "[A longboard is] cheaper and easier to fix. You don't need a lock for a longboard."
"You can just take it with you into class. It saves you a lot of time." He also added, "You don't need a kick stand for a longboard."
Freshman Chip Potter is a proud owner of a recently purchased longboard. He said he finally caved in and purchased his longboard after seeing Weidner, his roommate, with one.
"I've had my longboard for one month," Potter said. "It gets you from point A to point B really quickly. I get to all of my classes in about 3 minutes."
Potter mentioned that at least five or six of his fraternity brothers also have a longboard. However, he insisted that the longboard was not just a fraternity stereotype, as it is often perceived.
"They're absolutely bro-tastic," he agreed. "But there are people who aren't bros that have longboards. It's a square versus rectangles thing."
A firm advocate of longboards over bikes, Weidner still warned of the dangers of longboarding.
"Those spike balls are my downfall," Weidner explained. "The ones that fall from those trees get you every time. And getting my wheel caught in a hole. Hate that."
Yet, the board's positive aspects seem to far outweigh any negatives. Though a fellow fraternity brother heckled Weidner, Riggs and Spichiger about "tearing up the concrete waves," the longboard certainly is growing in popularity across campus, despite the encounter Riggs had with two turned-off students.
Potter advised future purchasers to stick to the Internet when searching for the right longboard.
"I got mine off the Internet for a fraction of the price it would've cost [at a store]," Potter said. "I'd always wanted one, even in high school. It's a great way to get around."
Though Weidner had not yet developed a name for his longboard, Potter already had a name in mind for his board when asked.
"The Icebox, because it's so chill."