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The joy of longboarding

Sector 9 is the way cool longboard that I've rode around campus since November of '98. The board is a full 48 inches long...the average skateboard that you see people doing tricks with is about 24 inches long. I used to ride a regular board, but I love the longboard. The longboard is meant for going fast, carving smooth curves, and basically "surfing the sidewalks". Super-soft (noticeably squishy between your fingers) wheels as well as a flexible Russian birch deck and a large wheelbase soak up road bumps and noise. The ride is heavenly...if you skate but you haven't ever been on a longboard, I highly recommend giving one a try.

Most people don't hear me coming up behind them until I've passed them. Loose trucks also mean a tight turning circle...I can turn 180 degrees EASILY on the bike path on the U of A mall (try that on a short board). On the other hand, longboards are only capable of a few "tricks", whereas shorter boards were designed to do tricks. Since I'm not the adventurous type, the longboard fits my personality. I prefer silently gliding and carving (and speed!) to jumping and making a ruckus.

Longboards do have their dangers, however. If they get going too fast, they begin to fishtail uncontrollably because of the looseness in the trucks. Stupid me, I promise not to do it again, I latched onto the bed of a U of A Maintenance truck one day in February on 4th by the PAS building. He got up to about 20 mph (he didn't check his mirrors so I didn't get caught hitching the tow), and the board started waggling. I was afraid to let go of the truck because it was the only stable thing I had, with the board going crazy underneath my feet and the pavement flying only inches below. But I was afraid to hold on because he was still speeding up. So, I jumped off and tried to run and slow down. That plan lasted for about two steps, and WHAM...zzzzzzzZZZZZ. I ruined a new shirt, burned a couple holes in my backpack, and burned a hole in my right arm that still hasn't finished healing (it's been more than five months). The pedestrians that witnessed the wipeout seemed impressed with my quick apparent recovery, but it started really stinging a few minutes later, and I just felt like an idiot for having done something so unsafe. So, I won't do it again.

I no longer have my original Sector 9 board. Well, I do, but it is sort of bent. A while ago, a guy backed over my original chariot in the Safeway parking lot while I was loading groceries into my trunk; the board rolled under the truck next to me and *SNAP!*. Although I think the Sector 9 company makes an awesome product, I didn't feel like shelling out another $150 for a new one, so I built my own board with a template traced from the original while I was home for the summer. I still have the original soft wheels (78As) and tight-turning US9 trucks, so the only thing I had to do was get a new piece of wood, shape it, and finish it. I stained it a beautiful cherry color, finished it with a deep gloss satin polyurethane, and added two 1” wide strips of non-skid material for grip tape and an added sporting appearance. It feels as good as the original and looks a lot better, so I’m happy.