**This Article was written by Hadi Salloum, Welcome to the team bud**
Wood, polyurethane , metal, some paper with a little grit on the top, and a bit of clever
engineering. That’s all it takes. It amazes me how a few seemingly simple materials combined
with some good old fashioned human ingenuity can come together to make an item that can
change a person’s life forever. To the untrained eye, a longboard can seem like a simple little
piece of wood, a set of wheels, and some metal to keep it all tidy. They’re not wrong, however,
those who ride, know that a longboard is so much more.
From the moment you take that humble, off balance, awkward first kick off of the pavement, and
that board rolls forward, to the day you hang up the helmet and the pads. Longboarding is a thing
so many fall in love with so quickly. It can be picked up with a few different things in mind: To
impress those fly honeys around the block, to get your fat ass off of the couch and get fit, or to
simply try something new and exciting. These original notions often fade away as a person
progresses on with riding. Longboarding can go from being a way to pass the time, to being
something you actually set aside time for.
Why do we do it? That’s a question quite a few people have asked me. Time after time, skating
in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, I’ll be honked at, flicked off, or simply asked “What benefit does
riding that death trap bring to you?” It doesn’t surprise me, people are afraid and confused of
what they don’t understand and what they’ve never experienced. I simply shrug it off, and when
that confusion is nice enough to come in a civilized question, I say, “Because when I’m on this
board, nothing else matters.” Yeah, I know, that’s some touchyfeely bullshit, but it’s nothing
short of the truth.
I’d say the large percentage of people who ride longboards are young folks, and everyone knows
that we younglings have our fair share of issues. We’re just starting to figure out what we’re
going to do with our lives. This is a tricky time, when emotions and hormones can run wild.
Break ups, unexplainable crying in public places, peer pressure, the whole nine yards( never
really figured out what that phrase actually meant). All of these problems seem to be forgotten
when we step on our boards and ride to our heart’s content. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a
peaceful night cruise on the boardwalk, busting a 35 foot switch toeside slide, or hauling ass
down Pike’s Peak, Longboarding is a sport that demands constant focus, from the moment you
step on, to the moment you get off.
I can’t speak for everyone who has ridden a longboard, but I have been around this community
for just about 3 years now. I have seen the undeniable passion people have for it, I have been a
part of the culture. It’s a community like none other, one that offers nothing but sincere
encouragement, and good vibes all around.
The only thing holding you back from accomplishing new things in longboarding is yourself, and
maybe a little bit of gravel. It is an unforgiving sport, but the joy we get from it far overcomes the
pain. There’s nothing like the feeling of working on a new, challenging slide. Working at it,
practicing your form for weeks. Eating the pavement hard, time and time again. But eventually, it
all starts to click. You land that motherfucker! And then you land it again, and again, getting better
everytime, and the slide glove clad hands shoot up into the air in ferocious triumph. The joy, the
indescribable feeling we get from doing this wacky thing. I think that’s it right there, I think that’s
what it’s all about. We never have to stop, and that’s quite alright. Keep it sideways.
Writer: Hadi Salloum
Photographer: Hadi Salloum