I remember when a longboard was a wierd skateboard. Oversize trucks and long wheelbases on flat planks shaped to mimick the moves of a longboard surf board. The best place to cruise was the boardwalk and smooth flat surfaces around town. Boards have evolved so much since my first Envy 57. The sacred board was given to me by a fellow camp counselor in Evart, Michigan. Dave Knight and I were responsible for driving campers at Springhill Camp around a private lake in Northern Michigan. I was 18 at the time and Dave and I had a full summer of free Nautique boat access for some great wake board hits after work. That summer I was fresh graduated from high school and preparing for a wild freshman year at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Late in the season I suffered a pretty bad shoulder dislocation and my wake boarding was put on hold. Dave to the rescue with an extra demo Envy Classic 57 and my summer blues were over. I learned to drive the boat in a sling and I spent my evenings pushing around my new longboard. Freshmen year was a blur, literally. My longboard changed my perception of time as I was able to accomplish more tasks, meet more friends, enjoy more activities and best of all SLEEP IN LATE! The board was an amazing upgrade in my life.
October 2001 was my first year as a student athlete on the Calvin College swim team. I was invited to the first party of the year and discovered 4-5 guys on the team had longboards from California from a company called Sector 9. All of our shapes were different except a few similar S9 Pintails. I was stoked to have new rider friends and team trips were better because we could accomplish more commuting on our boards.
I remember the day my Envy suffered it’s first traumatic hit, that snapped the board completely behind the front trucks. My cousin Matt attempted the dare devil stunt of bombing the steepest hill in Grand Rapids. He fell, the board rolled fast, hit a curb and snapped clean through 11 ply Baltic Birch. I was ready to test some new boards.
100’s of board shapes and setups later I still remember the day when my 1st setup snapped and how I felt. My reaction was to smooth the broken nose, drill new holes and skate a blunt nose 45″. Thrilled, its all history from there. I love making/modifying longboards.
Central Park Race is Saturday. My rider crew started with 3 riders. This weekend we expect 300. Long live longboarding.