Boarders break barrier stereotypes
Published: Friday, March 4, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
What looks like a surfboard, is spotted all over campus and rides like a magic carpet? That's right, it's a long board. Students ride long boards around campus all the time whether it be riding from class to class or cruising around with others. Long boarding culture has continued to grow around campus and is only going to get bigger.
Seth Fry, a skate shop worker at Moosegus and current Blinn student, said that anyone can long board and it's easy to learn. Since Seth became a part of the long boarding culture two years ago, he developed an interest in long boarding and makes it a part of his daily life.
"What's unique about long boarding is that it doesn't take as long to master rather than skateboarding," Fry said. "Another thing that long boards stand out from skateboards is the wheels getting stuck in the cracks on the roads and sidewalks. Since a lot of construction goes on at A&M, it's easier for long boards to ride through the cracks and cruise along."
Avant Garde Skate Team, a student long boarding organization, meets in front of Kyle Field Tuesday nights at 10 p.m., with the exception of Silver Taps. Daniel Ramirez, a senior mechanical engineering major and member of the organization, said the skate team is a club where people join to either prove their skills at long boarding or to cruise around with others who share their passion.
"As a member of the Avant Garde Skate Team, we try to get rid of the prejudice of anyone that rides something representing a skateboard has a motive to cause vandalism," Ramirez said. "The good thing about our student organization is that anyone can come and join. People can come out and try long boarding out for themselves."
Experienced long boarders find it difficult to locate places around Bryan-College Station to ride due to the lack of hills, the type of environment long boarders prefer. Long boarders that seek competition go to places in Texas such as Austin, San Marcos and Nacogdoches due to the hilly landscapes.
"One tournament that goes on with long boarding each year is the Nacogdoches Bash [or Nac Bash]," Fry said. "This kind of tournament is known as an outlaw tournament, which means that the streets aren't cut off and open traffic can come at any moment. So we as long boards have to look out for each other and avoid accidents."
Long boarding was introduced in Bryan-College Station during the early 2000s and primarily consisted of men. In recent years, women started to develop an interest in the activity.. Sotha Heng, a former member of 12th Man Skate and class of 2009, said that one indication he sees around campus is the rise in female long boarders.
"From what I have seen, it seems that there are a lot more long boarders around campus back when I was a freshman six years ago," Heng said. "When I was president of 12th Man Skate [a former student organization no longer active] there were only two girls in the club. Now I see tons more cruising around campus."
An issue concerning the long boarding culture is the stigma attached to people who skateboard.
"We're [the Avant Garde Skate Team] not your typical skateboarders," Ramirez said. "We know that there is a stigma on people like us, but we want to change that. We only want to bring the sport of long boarding to other Aggies that want to embrace on what we're passionate about."