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LDP FORUM - THE MILE/MARATHON/ULTRASKATE


 

 

In 900 A.D., the Polynesian surfers from Tahiti didn't just free ride the face of perfect waves...on small and soupy days, they were "pumping" the most out of each swell.

More than 1000 years later, "sidewalk surfing" and pumping on a long skateboard is basically the same thing. Except it's on asphalt. There's a ton of that stuff nowadays. And these days longboards offer a lot of high performance options, turning paved surfaces into something closer to those ancient long pumping cruises toward the shoreline.

Generating motion without touching foot to ground, this rhythm and groove moves you anywhere from a couple of feet to 100 miles. Once you've gone a few miles and start to see inclines flatten out, you're on your way to the addiction.

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The gist of this is:

· ...one push-off. Feet touch pavement miles later. Perpetuating momentum this way isn't "new", but only a dedicated few strive to ride marathon distance on a skateboard.

· …that size does matter, and now it's proven. Get a longer board to get your groove on!

· …finding and riding over your perfect center. The board allows you to move around and shift gears, exploring new grooves. When you're really dialed in, switching stance just happens.

· …riding to rhythms with goofy upper-body motions. Like dancing in the bedroom only you're doing it on a public trail passing hundreds of people. Helps to wear shades and pretend everyone *else* is a goofball, or that they're all naked, whatever works for you. But rhythms and grooves are key, and an MP3 player is a helpful accessory (just keep the volume low enough to hear the passing bikers...)


There's this long learning curve while you're just lookin' like a complete fool and giving people a freak show, but once you've nailed it, YOU will be the one smiling -- and that's all that matters.

Many moons ago Munson and I spotted each other longboarding the Burke-Gilman trail, and thus began a long exploration through many different riding styles, decks, tunes, and great discussions on our respective pursuits toward the most efficient long distance longboard travel. Addicted to competitive slalom, I'd been working on perfecting a slalom 'pump' on flats for long distances, but found that it was good for only a mile or two before resting or pushing again. Munson's influence was heavily tied to circular movements and the 'ki' concept in aikido, and also to musical grooves. That guy can groove!!

Plus, having a paved asphalt trail 12-miles from work to home, with the challenge of naysayers and skeptics (something worthy to rebel against) - provided all the incentive needed to perfect the technique and find or create the best equipment.

We experimented on all kinds of distance setups using 101 Flywheels, 76mm Avilas, to 60mm NoSkools, in durometers galore. Decks included the carbon-fiber RollsRolls, the Landyachtz DH, a Curve/Subsonic drop-deck, the Loaded Vanguard, RoeRacing boards, Sector9's, flexdex, etc...racking up quite a quiver of experimental decks toward what would be the ultimate ride.

And after many broken kingpins and destroyed bushings and decks, we've got the equipment almost dialed.

But that's the NEXT story...

©2004 jpeters

 

JAMES PETERS