Loving Longboarding

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Original Article published at localmagazine.ca

Longboarding is a sport, an art form, a lifestyle and a culture. Kids and adults have been doing it for decades and it has now even become an extreme sport. Everybody can benefit from longboarding even if just recreationally, not only does it get us outside, it also provides a green form of transportation as well as the ability to keep active and challenge ourselves.

A longboard is simply a larger version of the traditional skateboard, in both length and width, with a couple unique differences. Longboards take advantage of larger/softer wheels and wider/more stable trucks, producing a distinctive riding platform that provides more control, stability and versatility than its smaller counterpart. These improvements combined with the diversity the sport offers participants, has produced the explosion in its popularity.

Every day, regular people, young and old, are discovering what makes longboarding unique and are adding their passion and personality to this growing community. For kids, it is the perfect activity – jumping on a longboard gets kids outside, keeps them active, teaches responsibility and discipline and ultimately, helps them develop healthy self-esteem. This unique learning environment allows kids to express their individuality and free their creativity, there are no limitations in regards to how and where they can take it. Mom and Dad, if words like “duro”, “standie” and “thane lines” are becoming regular topics at the family dinner table, your kids might be showing the early signs of longboard fever.

Longboarding is a “lifestyle” activity that brings its own sense of camaraderie, as with surfing or snowboarding, and promotes the development of friendships and positive self-image in a fun, encouraging environment. It is an activity that is open to all age groups, requires no membership and shows no bias towards gender, race or socio-economic status. Everyone is welcome, creating a fantastic activity for families to participate in together. A day spent out longboarding with diverse group of people is an amazing way to get involved and stay connected with the world.

Longboard Haven’s philosophy is simple, “if we won’t ride it, we won’t stock it”, we are focused on providing the best equipment, customer service and expertise. Longboard Haven believes that choosing the ‘right’ set-up is a personalized process and is dependent on a rider’s age, ability and desired function. LBH coordinates a range of events catering to riders of all abilities including beach cruises, learn to skate classes, and longboard rentals.

No matter your age, longboarding can enhance one’s lifestyle in a variety of ways. Beyond being fun, longboarding provides a full-body workout, increases flexibility and improves coordination, reflexes and balance. For many, they are able to get all this and save time since longboarding provides a great commuting alternative. Get where you want to go faster and have a workout and a ton of fun on your way.

Longboarding has an easy learning curve that allows you to get up and running quickly. There is an addictive quality to the feeling of freedom you enjoy while rolling along. This is what leads longboarders to band together for large group rides, smaller outings with friends, and events where skills are shared, friendships formed and everyone has fun. The sport is undertaken at international competitions, but is as popular on the bike path along the boardwalk. A few years back, a local group of kids (photo below) started Longboard4Kids, a ride that raised money for charity. I’ve been around longboards for over twenty years and have seen the sense of joy, comaraderie and freedom the sport brings to those who get involved. Longboard Haven has a shop team who compete in Ontario and worldwide. There is no end to where you can take your love of longboarding, whether you want to ride to the office, or compete.

As both as parents and active participants in the Ontario longboarding community, our goal is to provide a positive environment that acts as a living classroom, providing a glimpse into our history, while providing knowledge and advice to ensure every rider has the tools to skate the streets safely. Sections of the store are oriented towards connecting customers to the local skate scene and its history. The downstairs lounge features a signature wall and art pieces by local artisans are scattered throughout the shop. Come and visit us at 183 Queen St. Across from Moss Park Arena.

In the end, it is all about fun – #tell your mom!

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