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Jul. 21 2010 - 11:39 am | 86 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Longboarding Takes Off — While B.C. Mourns 28-Year-Old Competitor Killed Last Week

A 40 inches long longboard (skateboard)

Image via Wikipedia

From The New York Times:

Whether on a hair-raising rural road in the Pacific Northwest or in teeming Midtown traffic, longboards have become the fastest-growing segment in an otherwise sluggish skateboard market. In recent years, they have lured new participants to a pastime traditionally dominated by teenage boys and young men performing perilous stunts.

“There’s a real neo-hippie, everybody-welcome kind of vibe to longboarding,” said Adam Goldstein, 43, who skates with his 10-year-old son around Manhattan.

Goldstein, who directs commercials, says he takes a longboard to commute while working in Los Angeles or Toronto. “You can just go anywhere,” he said.

With decks usually 34 inches or longer; trucks (axles) adapted for easier turning; and big, soft wheels, longboards provide a smoother skating experience than boards designed for performing tricks. Their size and stability make longboards well suited for cruising streets and college campuses. The price of a good longboard starts at about $150.

Yet last week, several newspapers featured stories on Glenna Evans, 28, killed while longboarding after she failed to negotiate a turn and slammed into a van:

“Glenna Evans was a serious longboard skate competitor for several years and has placed well in international competition in the US and Canada,” her family said. “She was practicing in full racing gear at Mount Seymour.”

The Vancouver woman, who had raced competitively in the past, was an Honours student in the Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University.

Comments of grief and sympathy were pouring in Saturday for their “coast sister” on online forums for longboarding communities.

Mike, a 25-year-old North Vancouver longboarder, told The Province that “everyone is really shaken up” over the death.

“It’s like losing a sister because it’s a really small community of longboarders,” said Mike, who did not want to give his last name.

This is one of the times it helps to read more than one media outlet, let alone across borders. The Times piece offers a cool, fun new sport — while the Vancouver Sun obituary column (where I first noticed Evans’ picture and age) tells a very different story.

Have you tried it?

Would you?


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    Former reporter and feature writer for the Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and the New York Daily News. Winner of a Canadian National Magazine Award (humor) about -- what else -- my divorce. I've been writing frequently for The New York Times since 1990 on almost any subject you can think of -- yup, I'm a generalist. Author of "Blown Away: American Women and Guns" (Pocket Books 2004). Canadian born, raised and formally educated, I've lived in New York since 1989.

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