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News: Longboarding Scene
Fall 1997

The bulk of this information was gleaned from bits and pieces picked up from the Internet. While it does reflect what is happening, it's probably skewed in favor of activities that are posted on web pages.

To look at most mainstream media, you hardly would know that longboards exist. Generally about the only time you'll see a longboard in a skateboarding magazine is in the Sector 9 ad. While the extreme sports media seems to be ignoring longboards, last month's Active Sports Retailer (ASR) show indicated that a growing number of skateboard companies are making at least some longboards with a good number making longboards exclusively.

One such company, Black 29, had a great show. According to owner, Ken Daw, he spent the ten days after the show, scrambling to meet orders. In addition, Mike Mayo of Phat Cruizeboards commented that, while he was disappointed with the orders placed at the show itself, leads that he picked up have come through with some sizable orders.

Longboards are making in-roads in the area of speedboarding (stand-up downhill). Professional speedboarder and street luger, Jarret "Dr.GoFast" Ewanek expects that speedboarding "will soon eclipse street luge in marketability" The last leg of the professional season will be held on November 1 and 2 in Lake Elsinore California, more on that later.

A number of longboarding videos are in the works, one from Sector 9, keep an eye on their web site for details, and another from Irwin Longboards. Steve MacDonald, who got his feet wet last year with a short video, covering mountain boarding and downhill roller blading, as well some longboarding, is now getting ready to do a new video, dedicated entirely to longboarding to be shot mostly in the SF Bay Area.

Want to hear a blast from the past? What about tandem skateboarding? Mark Gale and a group of friends have been doubling their pleasure in and around Capistrano Beach, California.

On the down side, the longboard magazine, Cruz, scheduled to debut in the summer of 1997, is dead according to a recent post on the Northern California Downhill Skateboard Association (NCDSA) page.

Regional Longboard Scenes.    Probably the most well-organized scene is in the San Francisco Bay area. The NCDSA holds rides almost every weekend, and, I don't know whether this has happened or not, they've been looking into employing a flatbed truck shuttle service on rides. Other active scenes can be found in Portland, Vancouver, and Toronto.

In San Diego, you see a lot of longboards cruising the beach, but on the surface there seems to be no real organization driving it. But I recently discovered that Tuesday evenings at Temecula Skatepark is becoming something of a "longboard night" with team riders from various companies all shredding together. I plan to be there one of these Tuesdays and will have a full report later in the month.

Other Skateboarding News.    AB 1296 is signed into law by California Governor Pete Wilson! AB 1296 adds skateboarding to an existing list of hazardous recreational activities, such as tree climbing and mountain biking. What this means is that if you hurt yourself in a public skateboard park, you can't sue the city unless you can prove that they were grossly negligent. Liability to lawsuits was what ultimately led to the demise of skateparks in their heyday in the late-70s/early-80s. This legislation is a big step in getting more skateparks built. AB 1296 takes effect January 1, 1998, but already several California cities are already developing their plans for new skateboard facilities. More than 30 new skateparks are scheduled to open around the state by next summer.

The final leg of the Triple Crown of Skateboarding was held, October 4 and 5, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood. First place in the Vert went to Bob Burnquist, whose superb regular and switch stance skateboarding was too much for the competition. Tony Hawk and Rune Glifberg took second and third, respectively. In other events, Tony Hawk and Brian Howard won the Doubles competition, with Best Street Trick going to Pat Duffy on Saturday and to Pat Channita on Sunday.

Events.     The Fresh Tracks Ford Board Riders Expo will be held October 25 and 26 at The Pyramid, CSU Long Beach. Featuring over 80 exhibitors from the snowboard/skateboard industry, there will also be skating on a vert ramp, live ska music, and free giveaways. In addition to door prizes, each attendee will get three free lift tickets. Tickets to the Expo are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For more info, call (714) 376-6942 and (562) 985-4949 for directions to the show.

The last race of the 1997 Extreme Downhill International season will be held November 1 and 2 in Lake Elsinore, California. The event will feature Street Luge and Formula 1 Gravity Cars. At this point it is still up in the air whether speedboarding will be included in the event due to some legal red tape. For more info, call Biker at Extreme Downhill International (619) 272-3095.

Yesterday's News

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Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1997 Chris Sturhann