Downhill Drifting: Students adopt longboarding as way to get around campus, city

Junior Chris Kelland boards down the training hill next Hunter Stadium.
Photo by Kyle Rainey

Video by Lindsey Fiala

LINDSEY FIALA Online Editor

Longboarding has become a popular hobby for many students who use it for convenient transportation as well as a way to blow off steam.

According to Disrupt Sports, longboarding became popular after skateboarding became a hit in the 1950s.

According to the article, “Surfers who were looking for something else to do when the surf just wasn’t cutting it, decided to make longer boards and essentially ‘surf on the ground.’”

While many people can’t tell a longboard from a skateboard, there are many differences, including size, shape and wheels.

Another difference between the two is that skateboards are meant for kicks and tricks, while longboarding is for those who want to ride down hills at great speeds.
Junior Valentin Finociety has been longboarding for as long as he can remember. He started with his friends back in France where they helped each other learn to ride.

The hobby changed when Finociety came to Lindenwood and he, along with many other international students, began to use the board as a mode of transportation.

“When I came here, I realized it was the easiest and fastest way to get to class,” Finociety said.

“I had a friend tell me that when she sees me walking, I look different than before because I am longboarding everywhere I go.”

Valentin Finociety on his longboard surfs down the street near his house. His gloves help him slow down as he barrels down roads at high speeds.
Photo by Lindsey Fiala

Juniors Chris Kelland and Mark Andrew Naude are also longboarding enthusiasts, and they use it as a mode of transportation as well. A mutual friend on campus introduced them both to the hobby.

“My friend from Zimbabwe started longboarding and got me into it,” Naude said. “The biggest thing was that I needed a way to get to work on Main Street since I didn’t have a way of transport.”

When they first began longboarding, Kelland and Naude took to the streets around 4 a.m. to practice their newfound hobby.

“The campus was absolutely dead, so if I was going to learn how to longboard, these dead roads would be the perfect time,” Kelland said.

“So we went boarding through the streets of St. Charles for about two hours. Ever since then, I’ve just really enjoyed longboarding.”

Both Kelland and Naude love to longboard during the late hours of the night. One night they stayed out so late longboarding around a 5-mile radius in St. Charles that they boarded to Denny’s for breakfast.

“We rode down Fifth Street around 5 in the morning; all of the lights were on, and there was no one on the road,” Kelland said. “We were riding across the lanes without having to worry about cars. It was surreal.”

Even though they are both just casual longboarders, Kelland and Naude push the limits by weaving through people and cars while boarding to class.

Many students on campus frequently longboard, which has started a conversation about creating an official longboarding team for Lindenwood.

“I would be down for making a team,” Finociety said. “I would love to be able to block off some roads for us to use and to teach each other about what we know.”

Finociety said that anyone can longboard; students just have to jump on and do it. And while everyone is going to fall, mastering the skill is worth it, he said.

“Longboarding is beautiful; once you know your longboard, you can pretty much spend all of your time on it,” he said.

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