The history of longboarding
Longboarding has become increasingly popular in the past few years. The casual board is an accessible way for novice skaters to get in on the fun. Because longboards have a larger surface, they are much easier to balance on and riders typically don’t use them for kick flips and tricks. Longboarding has become just as much a means of transportation as it is a hobby. But where did it all begin?
While longboarding isn’t a far cry from skateboarding, its innovation differs slightly. It was avid surfers, rather than avid skaters, that conjured up the longboard to occupy their time off the water. The longboard is more comparable to surfing with the precise gentle carving and turns. Surfers were not as interested in the tricks and speed that traditional skateboards offered.
It is said that in the 1960s Makaha and Hobie (two skate and surf shops) began to produce the first longboards inspired by the waves of the ocean. As more and more surfers began to pick up longboarding in their spare time, the boards were honed. The clay wheels of the first models were not the best for maneuverability and speed, so the availability of urethane wheels was a welcome innovation. The increased traction meant better control, allowing riders to step up their rides.
The longboards of today benefit from improved technology and materials. The similarities between longboarding and water sports don’t stop at surfing. Some longboarders use a land paddle similar to stand-up paddle boarding on the water, which the Hawaiian surfers created. The paddle, or stick, is used for propelling the rider forward and balancing while turning. The next step in longboarding is unknown but with the increase of interest in the sport, riders are sure to find tweaks and innovations that will make the sport even more accessible.