After my senior year of high school, my best friend Zak and I decided to devote our summer to building and learning how to longboard. We went to Lowe’s; bought plywood, wood glue, sand paper, fiberglass, and clamps; and before you could say, “Gnarly, bro,” we had built two absolute death traps.
We both eventually caved and bought boards, but not after we’d encountered sufficient amounts of road rash and angry motorists.
Historical: None of my family members (except my sister) have ever been into any type of skateboarding. About 5,200 years ago (3200 B.C.E.) Mesopotamians realized that their pottery wheels could be used for transportation, and since then, wheels have become integral to industrialized society. The first skateboards arose in the 1940’s-1950’s as a way to “surf” when the waves were down. They eventually became mass produced and are now used for recreation and transportation.
Proximal: Zak and I decided to build our longboards after watching this video.
(let it be known that I will never be that good at skating)
Basically, I started longboarding because it looked so freaking cool and fun, and I wanted to be freaking cool and fun. Plus I figured that it would be good exercise and a means to get around a new college campus.
Developmental: I was moving away from home 3 months after I started skating, so I was desperately trying to gain my independence from my parents and my family and discover myself. I wanted to gain a hobby that no one else in my family did. Longboarding seemed to be the perfect original/rebellious act for a middle class white girl living in the ‘burbs.
Functional: Unlike other apes, humans have an achilles tendon. This is critical for longboarding. . The motion used to kick-push a longboard or skateboard is the same as running. Without the achilles, running and kick-pushing would be awkward and difficult, and humans probably wouldn’t be able to balance on a skateboard.