North Texas Daily

Longboarders spread word of club to help skaters

Longboarders spread word of club to help skaters

Longboarders spread word of club to help skaters
January 30
01:10 2014

Jordan Ottaway // Intern Writer

On Bryan Street, three things can be found: Denton Skate Supply, a big hill and a club that takes advantage of the two. This is where the Denton Longboarding Club can be found.

Some call it “downhill skateboarding,” but there is actually a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The Longboarding Club was founded six years ago with the intent of getting longboarders in the Denton area to come out and enjoy themselves.

“It’s a group of guys and girls just cruising around campus skating,” said chemistry junior Andrew Tran. “It’s a chance for everyone who longboards to come together and get to know each other.”

Getting out and skating with other longboarders, regardless of their skill level, is what the club is about. Though the club doesn’t compete in any big competitions, it doesn’t stop them from building each other up to be the best skaters they can be and simultaneously bringing in new members.

There are weekly meetings at 6 p.m. every Thursday night at the Library Mall where members skate and talk about the club to passersby. From there they will either skate in the area or go to Bryan Hill.

Bryan Hill is the hub for the club because it’s where the skate shop is located and where members like to have sessions.

Recruiting is done mainly by word of mouth since the club doesn’t have booths at UNT events. Members try to get people to go look at the Denton Longboard Club Facebook page to learn more about the club, other skating locations and possible events.

Word has spread plenty since the beginning, as the club has grown to more than 350 members. Information technology freshman Nick Partridge joined the club a month ago.

“I actually bought a longboard and was skating around and someone said ‘Hey, why don’t you join this [The Longboarding Club]?’” Partridge said.

New members have two reactions when they join the club: they either take on the challenge and strive to get better or get intimidated and shy away. Regardless, veteran members are there to teach in a positive environment.

“We were all new at one point, so we are big about letting whoever come out and skate,” member Kyle Ming said.

When new members come to meetings, the club stays in the Library Mall to teach them safety drills, since they must learn the basics before going out to big hills at high speeds.

“We don’t go 40 miles per hour on people’s first time,” Tran said. “That’s where the Library Mall comes in handy because we can teach them the basics and still have fun too.”

When new skaters feel they have progressed in skill they will go and try out Bryan Hill, where the members perform slides and other types of tricks. On average the club will have between five and six people who come out consistently to sessions. New members often come and go.

Most of the members who are in the club were skateboarders before, which is different from longboarding. The biggest distinction is speed. Seeking the thrill of speed is common among the members.

“Looking up, not noticing the board and feeling like you’re flying,” said pre-communication design sophomore Nicholas Glad. “It’s the closest thing to ground flying.”

Denton Skate Supply co-owner Josh Kiley said ever since he and his brother opened the shop in August 2013, club members have stopped by frequently. Kiley said the members are very helpful, friendly and do a good job of supporting the local skate scene.

“They help out our store a lot,” Kiley said. “We know Denton is the type of city that supports local, so this is where we wanted to be.”

The two types of longboard competitions that happen all over the state are races, where competitors go down a blocked-off hill to see who can go the farthest distance in the shortest amount of time, and slide jams, where skaters are judged on the biggest, longest and fastest slide.

The club doesn’t participate in official competitions because it is an independent organization with no travel resources, but members always go watch smaller scale events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“We like to go to show everyone what skill you can get to if you keep on practicing,” Tran said.

Members will sometimes have unofficial competitions among themselves to have fun, and get a taste of what an official competition is like.

Even if some members have not been a part of the club for long they have still formed tight bonds with one another sharing a similar passion for the sport.

“Most of my best friends longboard and are a part of the club,” Tran said. “After you skate for so long you get close to the guys you skate with.”

Members say they would not be where they are today if it weren’t for the Longboarding Club.

“I’ve improved tenfold since I’ve been in the group,” Partridge said. “I have become so much better than I would have trying it out on my own.”

Feature photo: Undeclared freshman Andrew Tran and friend Hayden Bradshaw take a turn down a hill. Photo courtesy of the UNT Long boarding Club Facebook page 

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