Students find longbording to be an efficient, relaxing mode of transportation
“Longboarding’s been blowing up,” senior Luke Robison said.
Not literally, of course, but longboards are becoming increasingly more popular on Augustana’s campus.
Though South Dakota isn’t traditionally known as a ‘longboard state,’ a large number of students were actually introduced to the activity at Augustana.
Senior Matt Hugen started longboarding his first year at Augie after one of his friends, Dylan Buehler, brought his longboard with him to school from Montana.
“I started riding his board, and I got the hang of it really quickly. Eventually I got a board of my own,” Hugen said.
Sophomore Tim Weber had a similar experience.
“I was first exposed to longboarding when I came to college the fall of my first year,” Weber said. “Jeff Nielsen, a wrestling teammate, came to school with one, and by springtime it had seemed to gain popularity and you started to see longboards around campus much more frequently.”
Before and after classes, the sidewalks between the academic buildings are bustling with various means of transportation, longboarding being one of them.
The crowded sidewalks lend to various reactions from pedestrians.
“Some people get mad,” Robison said. “I mean, you’re going down the sidewalk pretty fast, and it gets crowded between class periods, so you get some weird looks. But other longboarders normally smile at you. It’s like a common understanding.”
On the other hand, Hugen notes that he’s never been scoffed at for riding his longboard. “It’s pretty accepted here at Augie.”
Students and faculty alike have noted its prominence on campus.
“I normally leave my longboard by the door during classes,” Robison said. “My professors ask about it sometimes. They seem pretty interested.”
As interest in the hobby increases, current boarders urge individuals to give longboarding a try.
“Augie is longboard-friendly,” junior Krista Youngberg said, meaning there are few obstacles for boarders, such as rock or gravel.
But wipeouts still occur from time to time.
Robison reflects how “Last year I was flying by Tuve and this girl came in to sight at the last moment, so I had to swerve to the side to avoid hitting her. I ended up flying off my board and landing on my back. She laughed and helped me up, but it was pretty embarrassing.”
Despite the occasional fall, most longboarders find the pastime both convenient and calming.
“It’s nice; I can jump on my longboard and zip to class quickly,” Youngberg said. “But more so it’s just relaxing. I’ll ride around and listen to the summer hits of the 90s on Pandora. It brings me back to childhood.”
Unfortunately, students interested in picking up the hobby should note that the boards often come with a hefty price.
“I wanted to try out longboarding, however I was hesitant to shell out anywhere from $150-$200 for a bent piece of plywood with some wheels screwed to it. I instantly thought I could make my own,” Weber said.
This may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but Weber notes that the process was fairly quick and saved him quite a bit of money in the long run.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Weber said. “There’s huge self-satisfaction that comes with riding on a longboard that I built myself.”
Whether you’re ambitious and want to custom-make your own longboard, or merely interested and want to try your hand at the trend, longboarders across campus extend a welcoming hand to you.