I know that no matter how much time passes that there will always be a division between longboarders and skateboarders. Where I live you can’t even bring up the word, “longboard” without receiving a ton of hate. I know the division isn’t nearly severe in other places, but from where I am standing it’s pretty bad. What are your views on the skateboard vs. longboard division? Have you ever received criticism for ditching the short deck?
I’m sorry to hear that you’re finding such a division in your local hood about skateboarding, but frankly I’m not surprised. It’s similar to being a member of an extremely exclusive elementary school clique—like one of those ones that meets behind the dumpster after school in secret. Then one day another group of slightly different/”nerdy” kids starts an extremely similar club, but invites everyone to join the party, disregarding any prerequisites or discrimination towards its members.
The fact of the matter is that longboarders are an inclusive group of skaters. This inclusivity deviates a great deal from the side of the culture that clings on to the belief that skateboarding should be exclusive. The ease and expanded usage of the new equipment available today is attracting people to skateboarding who may simply just enjoy riding, but don’t necessarily care about or understand skate history—sometimes such cultural disconnect may be interpreted as a lack of respect for the more traditional forms and culture. I can imagine it’s pretty hard for a street skater to see some kid doing a power slide at 5mph and hearing things like “gnarly” and “progressive”, all the while knowing full well that dudes are crushing 20 stair handrails. So I’m not surprised that these divisions are drawn, especially when we as longboarders, at times, seem to be the ones who agree with and promote these divisions. I don’t think street skaters actually like being called shortboarders or told they are riding trick sticks? It just sends the wrong message.
As far as actually stopping the division, I’m at a loss as well. The only thing we can do is try to take the individual responsibility to stand up for our form of skateboarding when it’s being hated on. There are gnarly downhill skaters out there, and some of them are doing shit that even the best street or vert pro wouldn’t try. I think for a while to come, unfortunately, we will still be seen as the flip-flop wearing, “dudebro” saying, skaters with little to no skill, but don’t let it get you down—I have found a technique that seems to help squash the beef. It takes a bit of guts and the ability to project your voice, but the next time you hear some shit being flung at longboarding don’t be afraid to standup and challenge the stereo types head on. Tell those haters that you’re bummed that some people gave them a bad impression of longboarding, but that we’re not all that way. This usually works best if followed up with a free beer/ safety meeting, or some other exchange of gifts and personal introductions. Things like this can go a long way to help break the stereotype, but at the end of the day, some minds are just too closed-off to fathom the concept of alternative forms of skateboarding.
As a reformed member of this exclusive club, my honest answer is this: I feel that there are no divisions in skateboarding. There is only the fun that results from it. Gnarly or not gnarly, skateboarding in my eyes will always be about effort, not skill. You’re either putting in effort and reaping the benefits in the form of fun with the homies, new things learned, and a positive outlook on life; or you’re not putting in effort and you’re continuing to portray the stereotype that’s causing this division in the first place. No matter what happens, keep your head high, skate with the people that allow you to have fun, stick up for you preferred form of skateboarding when you can, and don’t get down with all the hate. You sure as hell won’t change everyone’s minds, but with a little respect we can definitely convince a few more people to step out from behind the dumpster and see that our inclusive club ain’t actually all that bad.
GENERAL DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this column are meant to be interpreted satirically and not to be taken too seriously. To all you skaters out there, you’re awesome; please don’t take this shit to heart and then try and track me down in some weird internet-witch-hunt. Do remember, it’s all about fun.
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