You’ve probably noticed a lot more people riding around on wheeled platforms this year. They’re not regular wheels though, they’re extra wide, and extra soft. The soft, flexible, polyurethanes that we have today weren’t always around. Longboarding today owes its existence to the evolution of durable, yet affordable plastics, not to mention to the invention of trucks.
Of all the many benefits of longboarding, here are the TOP 5 REASONS why I longboard.
1. Short learning curve.
When you’re busy, picking up a new sport is the last thing on your mind. But to reap the many benefits of longboarding, it helps that the sport is damn easy to learn. In the words of a fellow Tristan, “There was literally nothing to learn” (in the context of me teaching my sister how to longboard).
WHY is it so much easier to learn than Snowboarding, Skateboarding or Wakeboarding?
The ANSWER may surprise you. Continue reading, or scroll down.
2. Worry-Free Six Pack
When you get into the habit of Longboarding, your six-pack just happens. Impossible? It happened to me, and it can happen to you.
I’ve only had a true six pack twice in my life. The first was when I was in my mid-teens. Back then, I had the self-discipline to go to the gym and do sit-ups 3 days a week. That gym was a dungeon, but it was all worth it for those coveted abs.
Then highschool rolled around. Along comes partying and fast food. Before I knew it that six-pack shrunk to a four-pack, then to two pack.
The beauty of longboarding is that your abs develop naturally as you move from A to B. You don’t have to think about isolating muscle groups, or cramping your back. Your abs develop on their own, because they help you progress in the sport. Your abs are flexed naturally, not forcefully.
What would you do if you stopped thinking about your gut, and started thinking about something else? Who knows. But thinking about your gut is a huge waste of time, no?
There’s nothing wrong with a gut, and you shouldn’t feel shame for who you are. But if you want a solid core, and you’re like me and just naturally lazy, taking up Longboarding will surprise you in more ways than one. Your woman (man, or lack there of) will thank you for it.
3. Shorter Commutes.
If you’re like most recent grads, you probably take the bus, or public transit to get to work. (I’ll get to you car and bike people in a minute!) The problem with transit isn’t just the speed of the vehicles. Admittedly, the transit stops slow you down, but in many cases transit saves you time because transit vehicles often have the luxury of avoiding traffic with dedicated lanes or by being underground.
What really kills transit as an efficient transportation option (in terms of total trip time) is traveling to and from the stops! Longboards really cut back on this time. Your walking time can be reduced by 2/3rds, with a longboard. Easy. And what about those days when you get up a tad too late and you miss your bus? No sweat- beat it to the next stop! More often than not, you can catch up to the bus with your longboard, and save your late butt from having to make up an excuse. Longboarding is a refreshing way to wake yourself up.
Then there’s the time you save walking in your neighborhood- getting to and from stores, your place, restaurants, the post office, fast food, the bank and so on. Individually, the trips don’t seem like much – 10 minutes saved here, 2 there – but collectively, small savings can free up a lot of time. I calculated that I save 30 minutes per day by longboarding around my neighborhood. That’s a 90 hour savings for a 6 month season (seasons are generally 8 months in Canada, but I took out 2 months to account for rain days).
So longboarding frees up an extra 90 hours in my life, what will I use that time for? Well, I’ll use it for sleeping in. I’ll get more work done in a day. Relax more. Read more. Socialize more. What would you do with an extra 90 hours?
Bike People. I hear your skepticism. Why not get a bike? You murmur. Bikes are, after all, faster than longboards. You’ve got me there.
Here’s the thing. The average speed you travel is not the only factor at hand. Disagree? Then might I suggest you take an airplane to work? Clearly there’s something else at play here- albeit exaggerated in the plane example. Speed isn’t the only factor that affects how long it takes to get from point A to point B.
Taking an airplane would be absurd traveling across town to your office. Why? Because you can’t walk out your front door and onto a plane. You have to set up your flight, and get to and from the airports and wait for your bags to finish rotating around a metal conveyor belt. Waiting, security and boarding will eat away at your time. Now, at sufficient distances, taking a plane does make sense. At some distance, a plane and a car actually take the same amount of time in total.
Total Trip Time = Distance /Average Travel Speed + Set Up Time + Put Away Time + Delays
Now, unlike bikes, with longboarding, you can ride right out the door every single trip. (Most people don’t keep their bikes in their front closets.) And when you’re on a longboard, you can take shortcuts that bikes simply can’t pull of. Bikes make sense for distances of >1 KM. (up to a certain point)
Longboards make sense for distances <1 KM.
I drive. Not a ton, but enough. Cars are good at what they do, and since they’re a permanent fixture of you place of residence, the set up time is pretty modest. But what about parking…
Parking kills your time gains. Looking for it, walking from it, paying for it, defending yourself for where you do it. Don’t even get me started. But hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Parking is one of those annoying facts of life and owning a car, but you can still save time with a longboard! I longboard to and from my dad’s car wherever I go.
Most people don’t associate time-savings with longboarding. But here’s the catch- when you’re doing something to save time, you will naturally do it more. Commute your gut into a six pack, and save time in the process.
3. Sweet, sweet carving.
I’ve cross-stepped around the biggest selling point of longboarding. You can carve down a street, the way you carve down a snow-covered hill. You can even propel yourself across mostly flat terrain. No holding onto a rope behind car, though that does sound like fun. I never thought it would be possible to feel a smooth road in the same way that you feel power on a hill, or perfectly flat water at the cottage. I was wrong.
4. The terrain park is already built.
Just take a look in your backyard. If you’re like most people, you live in a city. Your city is your playground. I guarantee that if you live in any decently sized metropolitan area you will discover a ton of great longboarding spots, that are already there!
Board Sports are my thing. I was weened on Waterskiing, and have indulged in Skiing, Snowboarding, Surfing, Wakeboarding, Kneeboarding and Wakeskating over the years. I was never a fan of Skateboarding because I didn’t have the patience, or the tolerance for pain. The fact of the matter is, these sports are great, but I can’t live in the city and get any good at the same time. They simply aren’t accessible. I can’t wakeboard home from the bank, though if anyone finds a way to do this, kudos! Drop me a line.
5. The price is right.
You can get a decent complete for $250. And the nice thing is, you aren’t paying for gas for your boat or for lift tickets. There’s barely any maintenance and you can use the helmets and pads you likely already own. And if you substitute transit, for longboarding you can put those savings towards a better board. Then there’s the value of your time.
Bottom Line: When it comes to board-sports, you simply can’t beat a longboard in terms of value. I discovered Longboarding last year and am on my 2nd season. Today, I’m maneuvering the streets in ways I hardly thought I was capable of last year. It’s really that easy.
5. bonus; help the environment by consuming less fuel.
I’m not saying a longboard the solution to the environmental crisis, but it’s a step in the right direction. The less we burn the better.
So why is Longboarding so much easier to pick up?
Simple- accessibility. Unlike Wakeboarding and Snowboarding, you can typically longboard within 2 minutes of walking out your front door. The result? While the sport might not be THAT much easier pound for pound, it is much MUCH easier to get the time in. Not to mention, you save yourself all the extra work and energy involved in putting on snow gear, or filling up your boat with gas (and recruiting a spotter) every time you want to go out. That effort can be redirected towards getting better, and getting better faster.
And what makes it easier than skateboarding? Cracks. Longboards can ride over cracks with ease, (due to the big urethane wheels). Skateboards can ride over cracks too, but for beginners, cracks can bite, and seriously turn you off the sport.
And lastly, if you’re from Canada, check out our commerce store. We live and processing orders as of Friday August 19, 2011.