Hillcrest might be UP’s sports campus, but Hatfield campus is giving them a run for their money, or rather a ride for their money. UP’s newest phenomenon are their campus longboarders, who demonstrate the far reaching athleticism of UP students. Although, attention is afforded to the formal structures under which sport is conducted, with Varsity Cup and Varsity football being two of the most anticipated sporting events of the year, longboarding has proven that the beauty of sport carries beyond the confines of a track and field.
Longboarding is a form of land surfing that originated in Hawaii in the 1950s. According to Longboard History by Benjamin Harrington, a writer for Outdoorboarding.com, longboards come in various shapes and sizes due to the varying techniques and uses that riders have developed. The primary use for longboarding among UP students, and riders globally, is transportation. However, longboards have many other uses – for example, downhill bombing, freeriding, and longboard dancing. Similar to skateboarding, longboarding is still in its formative stages and has not yet become a mainstream sport. Still, the tightness of the community has created a palpable culture that has affected music, art, and fashion.
Longboarding ranges from being casual and calm to being quite the daredevil’s sport. Freeriding and longboard dancing remain highly technical but are not as shocking as downhill bombing. Now you may be wondering what downhill bombing is – essentially, it is riding a longboard down a hill at speeds of up to 120 km/h while maintaining control over the board. Feats such as these demonstrate the fearlessness, physicality, and adventure-seeking nature of longboarders – qualities that should be highlighted above the stereotypes.
With all students back on campus, more longboarders can be seen cruising in and around Hatfield. This led PDBY to interview longboarder, Joshua Hunter, who commented that he was extremely excited to see an influx of people on campus with whom he shares a common interest.
The longboarders of UP are coming together to create a group of riders, the Campus Cruisers (the name is still being finalised), who will meet up and cruise around campus. They are looking to form a group chat and invite anyone on campus who has a board or is eager to cruise with them. These riders aim to create a space where newcomers feel comfortable learning how to longboard. Alongside this, they wish to explore the different elements of longboarding and build up the small community at UP.