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Midlife Crisis: The Unaccomplished Longboarder

 

Most of the time this blog features something obviously related to fly-fishing, although admittedly The Unaccomplished Angler does occasionally veer ever so slightly off course. With today’s content those reading (all 13 of you) may think that I am officially and completely off my rocker, but I ask for your patience. If you wait for it I promise that you’ll see how it relates to fly-fishing as I drone on about my latest endeavor.

I’m hooked on Longboard.

I turned 52 this year and my mid-life crisis appears to be skateboarding: longboarding, to be exact. For those not in the know, Longboard is both a brand of beer that I rather enjoy, as well as a style of skateboard whereby the wheelbase and deck are considerably longer than the skateboards that we currently-middle-aged-types grew up on. Starting typically at 40 inches in length and extending farther, today’s longboards dwarf the 20-something inchers of 40 years ago. The manner of riding a longboard is also vastly different from what was considered ‘rad’ back in the day. The way of the longboard involves ‘campus cruising’ and downhill racing at breakneck speeds, as opposed to what we did as kids. No doubt there are still those who do tricks and ride skateboards at contoured skate parks around the globe, but it’s the longboard that intrigues me at this point in life.

Look, Ma—no helmet!

As a youth/teenager in the mid to late 70’s—when Saturday Night Live was in its infancy, disco threatened to musically ruin the world, Pet Rocks were all the rage, and every adolescent boy had a certain Farrah Fawcett poster on the wall of their bedroom—skateboards came on the scene with all the intensity of a raging storm off the north shore of Oahu. My first recollection of the skateboard craze was when 7-Eleven stores began selling cheap, plastic-decked boards with ‘rubber’ wheels: One could walk into a convenience store, grab a Slurpee, a pack of Bubble Yum and a skateboard for less than what a week’s worth of Starbucks Caffè Frappamacaccino drinks cost today. Overnight it seemed as though all the cool kids were getting skateboards, and in my ill-fated attempt at being cool I awkwardly jumped on that bandwagon. I distinctly remember my first board: a Makaha. It had a kicktail which were all the rage at the time. It was orange. I thought it was pretty boss.

A blast from the past.

I don’t recall how much my first skateboard cost but I can safely assume that it was not a high-end offering. My older brother, Hal, got in on the craze as well. I vividly remember his board for its unique translucent blue deck which apparently allowed one to view the road underfoot, like a glass bottom boat. His board was made by Nash Skateboards, which I only know from having found the information on the internets: a veritable treasure trove of information designed to jog a fleeting middle-aged memory.

With the advent of the polyurethane wheel in the early 1970’s, gone were the dangerously slippery clay wheels of yore (and the steel wheels that preceded even clay). The modern rubbery wheels gripped the pavement with an added measure of efficiency—and safety, which was a undoubtedly a good thing because back then helmets hadn’t yet been invented. I was never overly accomplished as a skateboarder, but I did a fair amount of riding. While empty swimming pools may have been a much sought-after pursuit for concrete surfers back in the day, that wasn’t my scene. Aside from an inherent lack of swimming pools (empty or otherwise) I was in a much lower class of skateboarder. I spent my time after school pushing around the junior high school grounds, tick-tacking and trying a variety of other slow-speed tricks, nearly all without success.

I had an orange shirt like the awkward kid in the background.

I seem to recall hand stands on a slow moving board being rather difficult, which should not have come as any great surprise given that hand stands on solid ground weren’t something I was very good at either.  No, I definitely wasn’t one of the cool skater kids, like Steve Johnson. Steve was a junior high classmate who I believe may have been imported to the Pacific Northwest from Southern California. If Steve wasn’t from SoCal, he gave off that vibe. Steve was surf-cool; a veritable skateboard god and many, including myself, worshipped the board he rode on. I think I remember that he’d gone on to at least a brief career as a professional skateboarder. I wonder what he’s doing today? If he’s a fly fisherman I’ve no doubt that he’s a very accomplished angler.

Farrah, and a woody.

In an attempt to break out of my rather unaccomplished skateboarder status I figured the first thing I needed was an upgrade from my plastic cookie-cutter board. And so, in junior high wood shop, I made a board from a thick slab of oak much like the one featured in the photo above (and yes, I even had the same iconic Nike Cortez shoes). Being a teenage boy, wood figured prominently in my adolescent life and as one might imagine it (the skateboard) was very stiff. I scraped together my babysitting earnings and purchased a new set of trucks and wheels to adorn the new woody. These were obviously not the highest quality components because the open wheel bearings were prone to losing their marbles, as it were, the results of which were never good.

Life before sealed bearings.

Fortunately there was a skateboard shop at the local strip mall near the south Mercer Island QFC and Lakeside Drugs. The shop proprietor kept me in a steady supply of extra bearings, all the while encouraging me to upgrade: there were far better wheel systems that wouldn’t spew their bearings while riding. I salivated over the good stuff every time I was in the shop to buy bearings; always longing after the cool gear that my budget didn’t allow for. Much to my dismay I would remain quagmired in a state of economic repression for the remainder of my skateboarding youth. I have no particularly fond recollection of the homemade oak board whatsoever. I may have begun to lose interest in skateboards shortly thereafter, although more than likely the board was simply so horrible to ride that I banished it from my memory—there’s nothing like a thick, unyielding plank of hardwood to make one lose all sense of touch with the ground underneath. As 9th grade rolled around it marked the end of my skateboarding career and after that I never gave it much thought.

Until, that is, I began snowboarding when I was in my late 30’s.

Not an Olympic Gold Medalist.

I had never been more than a very average snow skier (at best), but I was ultimately forced to give up skiing altogether due to foot problems that were exacerbated by the confines of cruel ski boots. The pain while cautiously snow-plowing down green runs had become unbearable and I resigned to never setting foot on the slopes again—until one fateful day. While sitting pathetically around the ski lodge while my family was out enjoying the slopes, I decided on a whim to rent a snowboard. I’d never been on one and had no idea what I was doing, but after a couple hours on a bunny slope I knew I had found enlightenment in the comfy footwear associated with snowboarding. After a private lesson during which I learned to link turns, I once again took to the slopes with a newfound enthusiasm. At the time, the overwhelming majority of snowboarders were half my age or younger: Punk kids. Young cool dudes. Shredders and slackers. I didn’t fit the mold but I did enjoy snowboarding immensely; content to cruise and carve sweeping turns while giving terrain parks a very wide berth. I’d never been a surfer, but riding the snowboard caused me to harken back to my youth—back to my skateboarding days. I dug the snowboard thing, a lot. Still do, although I rarely get up to the slopes because I’m too cheap to spend the money on a lift ticket: another sign of advancing age.

It costs too damn much!

Riding a snowboard is very much like riding a longboard, but the latter, once past the initial investment of a board and protective gear (a helmet, at the very least), is comparatively inexpensive. Even a decent quality longboard won’t set you back more than a couple hundred bucks. And there’s a lot of appeal in an activity of which I can partake beginning at the end of my driveway: there’s no travel time required and riding is free—sort of. We do pay property taxes which help to maintain road surfaces, but there’s no shelling out an exorbitant user fee each time you set foot on the asphalt. Look at it this way: you pay for the roads so you may as well get as much use out of them as possible. But I digress…

Lest one should think I rushed into this latest endeavor blindly, I assure you I did my homework. I knew exactly what I was up against: decaying reflexes and increased healing time following injuries. Not to mention disapproving naysayers. It comes as little surprise that a lot of middle-aged people roll their eyes when another middle-aged guy declares that he wants to get a skateboard. Common are the off-handed remarks about asphalt’s unyielding hardness, emergency room visits and how skateboards are “an orthopedist’s dream,” so quoteth a friend who is an orthopedist.

Quit harshin’ on my mellow, man.

(Sorry, I’ve been told by my daughter NOT to try to sound like a skater dude)

Others dismiss it as juvenile and unbecoming of someone of my age. One’s wife may even encourage said skateboarder to leave the neighborhood and ride elsewhere—someplace where nobody knows your identity. Friends turn on you:  Morris, in a Firehole Rangers group message, was even threatening when he said, “I know winter is hard on us anglers, but if Kirk misses even one fishing trip for his new longboard addiction…”

H8ers gonna H8, brah.

Can’t we all just get along?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to wondering if getting on a longboard was perhaps not the best idea I’d ever had, and I honestly tried to talk myself out of (or perhaps into) it. To that end I delved into the dark recesses of the internet for articles on ‘longboarding for old people‘ (yes, I used those exact search terms). That’s when I came upon a series of blog articles written by a youthful guy from Oregon who took up longboarding at age 63. My first thought was, ‘Sixty three?! Good hell, man, I won’t be that old for another 11 years!’

If this 63 year old dude could do it, I could do it.

At this point I realized age was no longer a valid excuse to not get one and I rationalized my final decision to acquire a longboard by taking stock of my physical condition: I’m in good shape, reasonably athletic, and I’ve been practicing martial arts since 1993 so my sense of balance is probably better than average. Add to this the fact that I’m vertically challenged and I had a number of things in my favor: standing 5’7″ on a good day means it isn’t far to the ground in the unfortunate event of a tumble.

So much for talking myself out of it.

Through these series of articles on Brian Hines’ blog (hinessight.blogs.com), I also discovered an aspect of longboarding I hadn’t previously been aware of: Street Paddling. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s just like stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the water, with obvious differences. First and foremost, street paddling, or land paddling, is done on terra firma, on a long skateboard, with a long pole outfitted with a rubber foot instead of an aquatic paddle blade. And while the weather may not be always conducive to street paddling, the asphalt tide is always in.

What’s not to like about this?

Did you know that some anglers fish from SUP boards?

Fly fishing from a SUP.

This land paddling discovery added an altogether unexpected and intriguing dimension to owning a longboard: an upper body workout. If I could benefit from increased fitness, this longboarding thing would take on a whole new level of significance beyond just being fun. I surmised that it could be excellent cross-training activity to stay in shape for rowing my boat down rivers (yet another fly-fishing reference).

I was, like, all in, dude.

Wood is good. Bigger is better.

I carefully selected the style of longboard I wanted: something for flatland cruising and very (emphasis on very) gentle slope carving. A classic pintail design appealed to me, and aesthetics were important. I came dangerously close to purchasing a 39-inch Arbor Fish (for the obvious reason that I like fishing) but in the end I decided I wanted a longer longboard so I opted instead for an Arbor Timeless Pintail. I always admired Arbor snowboards but never owned one, and now was my chance. The Timeless is 46″ of shapely sleekness capped with a top deck featuring beautiful Hawaiian koa wood. With a recent trip to Hawaii still fresh in my mind, anything from Hawaii is cool by me. The deck has a gentle flex to it which allows that surfing vibe to shine through. Needless to say my new board is nothing like the oak plank of my youth.

Not your father’s skateboard (unless you’re my kid).

I could have ordered a complete board directly from Arbor but I opted to have the board built with slightly upgraded components by Nordboards of Chico, CA. The deck is outfitted with Paris V2 180mm 50-degree trucks (with 1/4″ riser pads), Arbor Sucrose Initiative Summit 71mm Blue wheels, and NordiK Abec 9 bearings with spacers. All geek to you?  Yeah me too, pretty much. The Arbor pintail set me back $223 and change, with free shipping (I like free). That’s roughly equivalent to 3 lift passes at a local ski area (not including lunch and a beer, and gas to get there an back), or about 2 months’ worth of Starbucks Caffè Frappamacaccinos. This is certainly far cheaper than my investment in fly fishing gear, but let’s not go there—Mrs. UA may be reading and she doesn’t need to know how many rods and reels I have hidden in the closet.

The Kahuna Big Stick

I also purchased a street paddle from Kahuna Creations. I selected the bamboo model because wood has soul, man, and it’s all about that flexy mellow groove when you’re out paddling the asphalt, hangin’ ten with the wind in your thinning hair. I also bought a helmet and elbow/knee pads just in case. Nobody ever expects bad things to happen so I can’t say with certainty that I won’t collide with the asphalt eventually (knock on koa). However, I’ve no need for speed whatsoever.

It’s that slo stoke I’m after, man.

(apologies once again to my daughter)

Gear that I didn’t have as a kid.

Admittedly I am just getting started but I can say confidently, after logging more than 20 miles on my board, that this street paddling thing is a great workout. I have a 2.5 to 3 mile course marked out and by the time I’ve completed the loop my heart rate is up and the feedback from my legs and upper body lets me know that I’ve gotten a good workout. As I seek out longer rides all that will increase as well. And I’ve also got a grin on my face the entire time. In my enthusiasm for this new discovery I even managed to recruit a few buddies to join in the fun. My wee lad, Schpanky, has also applied for membership in the club, bringing the average age down significantly.

Playdates are more fun on longboards.

Soon we’ll be paddle surfing the streets en force like a rogue band of mostly gray-haired, mostly middle-aged adolescents; ripping through cul-de-sacs adorned with children’s sidewalk chalk art at speeds often exceeding a brisk walk. People won’t be able to help but take notice. Why, just the other day a considerably younger gentleman, out walking his dog, gave me an approving ‘thumbs up’ as I paddled past.

Street paddling in Duvall will be #trending soon.

In my assessment a mid-life crisis is the act of a 50-something year-old (usually men) as they embrace something from their youth. Like, for instance, skateboarding. Well, I also fancied the 70’s era Plymouth Hemi Cuda when I was a kid. A good one, if you can find it, will set you back considerably more than a skateboard. Mrs. UA should consider herself lucky that, while perhaps a bit immature, at least I am fiscally reasonable.

It was either a longboard, or this.

In closing, I offer you this timely quote from a NY Times article:

“My kids grew old, so I got a dog. My dog grew old, so I got a skateboard.”

The article is from 2012 so apparently I’m not quite a trend setter when it comes to Skateboarding Past a Middle Age Crisis.

 

35 thoughts on “Midlife Crisis: The Unaccomplished Longboarder”

  1. Tom Kennedy says:

    Kirk – Great meeting you in the StreamTech booth at the show. You have jogged my aging memory (definitely too many concussions doing headstands on skateboards and still scars where raspberries once lived on elbows, knees, and hips). It appears as though we had a similar interest on the same “rock”. I was in the class of ’77 at M.I. High. I used to build aluminum boards in Mr. Knapp’s metal shop class out of aircraft alu. and wood ones in Mr. Horsfal’s class. Spent some time as a demo team rider for The Ski Store in Bellevue in the mid – late 70’s. Speed runs on my longboard down 40th to from Island Crest to 78th under the cover of darkness to avoid the law were a favorite (it was considered highly illegal to skateboard on the streets by the MIPD). This story has intrigued me… perhaps a longboard in my future. P.S. – I had hair like the awkward kid in the orange shirt. LOL! – Tom

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Hey Tom, wow—small world, eh? (MIHS class of ’81 here) So you were one of those cool dudes that I always and unsuccessfully wanted to be! To show just how uncool and ignorant I was, I didn’t realize there were downhill boarders back then. Didn’t even know there were boards capable of such an endeavor—how was the equipment? Speed wobble much? I highly recommend a board—age is no excuse, as I discovered. If you click the very tip photo of the bearded old timer, it’s a link to a video. Could be in your future?! Great to meet you at the show as well, and thanks for the comment!

  2. deanwo says:

    Holy hell, Kirk. That’s a freaking novel, not a blog post ;-).

    I encourage you to explore the new world of long boarding and your journey to get there is equally amazing.

    The recollection of skateboards in your youth triggered my dormant neurons holding a painful story from my youth.

    When I was 8, my dad took a job in Monroe, MI and moved the family from Long Island to Sylvania, OH. On move-in day to our modest suburban home, my new neighbors, recently transported from southern CA, introduced me to this cool thing called a skateboard. This was 1967. It was great to move in and have next door neighbors my age that welcomed and encouraged me to try this skateboard on their relatively flat drive way. I was reluctant at first, but wanting to make friends and show I wasn’t scared, I got on the board and slowly starting rolling down the driveway. My initial excitement was quickly turned to panic as our 18 wheeler moving truck slowly turned on to our cul-de-sac street heading past the neighbors house towards ours. My panic of being run over by a truck, had me quickly jump off the board on to the grass and we watched in horror as the skateboard slowly rolled under the double wheels of the moving truck. A loud crunch rattled our eardrums as the board split in half. A great first impression and friendship off to a rocky start. The friendship never really took off with the neighbors.

    To this day, I avoid skateboards or anything not attached to my feet with wheels on it. I also have a similar experience with motorcycles, but won’t drone on about that now.

    I will enjoy your longboarding adventures vicariously through your social media posts and thanks for sharing this fun looking sport with us. Be safe and please no broken bones….

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Dean, admittedly I am never at a loss for the written word, which is why me and Twitter have a challenged relationship. That said, I appreciate that you took the time to read my novel. The nice thing about our very mild Pacific Northwest winter is that I’ve been afforded ample time to spend on my longboard, whereas if I lived where you do that would not be the case. Sorry that your childhood experience with a skateboard was destined for failure—think of how different your life might be today had that not happened: you would have fostered a strong friendship with your SoCal neighbors and grown up to be cool in school and successful in life. 😉 Thanks for the comment, and I promise not to break any bones (knock on koa, again).

    2. If you desire fitness and ride a board consider Stand Up Spike and Spikeboarding. Both have youtube channels. SUS will climb big hills, 9 miles 2500′. Spikeboarding and the two strokes is uses rip you a la Nordic roller ski. Check it out.

  3. Mark says:

    If you Sir have nothing against, I would advice to take a glass of Longboard after your skateboard or whatever. Sir, save your precious health for fly fishing.
    Keep your line tide on.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      A Longboard following some longboarding is an important aspect of the program: Rehydration. Rest assured I shall partake of both, in great moderation, so as not to crimp my fly fishing endeavors.

  4. Mark says:

    I can not believe.
    If it is true I take a deep bow in front of You, and your recharged or poisoned by sea turtle battery.
    Keep your line tide on Sir but do not exaggerate please.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Believe, Mark. But there’s no need for bowing. I feel as though the battery has taken a trickle charge. Exaggerate? I’m sure I have no idea what you mean 😉

  5. Duke Juka says:

    DOOD you are a longboard scientist. The thought that wet into the custom design and components and then the finished product is… “rad.” As far as the cost the first I thought was wow that’s more expensive then I would have guessed. But then a number of things came to mind: 1) anything that well designed and with top of the line components is going to cost quite a bit more than my $29 walmart skateboard. 2) my skis without bindings cost $700. 3) my midlife crisis 78 CJ5 cost 5k and I’ve put another 5k into it over the last 8 years. Hmm suddenly I feel ridiculous. Anyways great account, ride wild, ride free.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Duke, I’m blind. I can’t see, and my face feels like pulled pork. I’m not sure that top-of-the-line would describe my componentry, in fact real skateboard dudes would denounce mine as entry level girl man stuff. I’m OK with that. Your 78 CJ5 is a man rig, not like my Barbie CJ7 from years ago, which you may recall because it was your fault. Chhh. Ride on, Walmart Boy. Itsa.

  6. mike doughty says:

    i liked this read…..brought back my childhood and all the rave that it was

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks, Mike. I figured the older folks might enjoy a trip down memory lane on a skateboard.

  7. Mark says:

    Dear Kirk/Sir,
    By use the word “exaggerate” I didn’t mean nothing serious :-). My late father used to say that when he was young he was able to catch birds with his ass.
    In our age, I’m 62, we have to take council of the years. Thats it.
    Whatever you bring I read with real pleasure.
    Keep your line tide on,:-)

  8. Ken says:

    Dear Sir,
    The post has made me jelous with your life. keep moving..

  9. Trevor says:

    Cheers Kirk – thanks for the excellent novella…err…blog post! I haven’t been on a board since I was a kid (just over 3 decades ago. wow.), and found your write-up just at the point of considering either a Landyachtz Bamboo Pinner or a Legend Dervish. That almost gives the impression that I know what I’m talking about, but I really don’t. Undeterred, Imma gonna give ‘er! Thanks for the encouragement, and if anyone questions my sanity I will absolutely claim that some guy named Kirk said it was okay.

    Very best,
    Trevor

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Trevor: I’m glad I could provide the necessary source of blame for your decision to get a board. Go forth and get your stoke on, brah! And I recommend you look at a ‘stick’ too. The paddle is what really makes it for me. I’ve been out for a couple longer rides (8 miles round trip) and I don’t think I could do it if I was pushing with my legs. Besides, the stick allows you to clear a path when walkers refuse to yield 😉

  10. Dave Lober says:

    Check out the Facebook group “Skaters Over 50”, there’s nearly 5000 members, all of them older guys and gals still into skateboarding and longboarding.

  11. Trevor says:

    Kirk – Well, middle-age be damned, I’m a rider now. Picked up a sweet Landyachtz Bamboo Pinner, Paris Trucks, Blood Orange wheels, and Bones bearings. Slick, smooth, and glide-worthy. Best purchase in a few years. Spent hours on it over the weekend. I’m in love. I’ll some pics somewhere sometime and throw a link up here for you.

    It’s all your fault. 😉

    Trevor

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      First off, congrats, Trevor. And you have my apologies. If haven’t already, check out a stick (land paddle). It adds a whole new dimension to riding. The workout is great too, and chicks dig middle,aged dudes on longboards with land paddles. Or so I’ve read.

    2. Learn to switch kick and your world will change. It did for me at age 46. Never would I have thought it was possible. Once you switch kick you are very close to a CXC stroke in SpikeBoarding which is near to Nordic roller ski. Both will rip you to shreds. I use both to train for the American Birkebeiner, the countries best 55 km Nordic ski race in Wisconsin Feb 22 2016, race is well over 40 years old now. SpikeBoarding and Nordic roller really really mix well. Same exact spike tip and the same vector line is used in both sports.

  12. Silver Skater says:

    Have just shared with our https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeryOldSkateboarders/. Love the Duvall Old Asphalt Paddlers sign.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for reading and the share!

  13. Michelle says:

    I picked up a longboard after I tried out my 4 year old’s scooter. “Ooo. I remember this feeling!” I thought.

    A crappy board from Walmart “just to see” turned into a trip to a local board shop where–to my surprise–the owner didn’t flinch at my 49 years. Instead, he set me up with a Loaded Bhangra, Paris trucks, and Sector 9 wheels smooth as butter and way beyond Simms Pure Juice.

    Last summer I never heard the end of “you are going to kill yourself” from my spouse. Happily, that’s over.

    I’m a college professor, so flying across campus (and occasionally off the board) has scared the bejesus out of a good number of students. (A plus in my mind.) And now, going out with my 5 year old means we get to spend time together and he thinks mom is a badass. Which, of course, she is.

    I am waiting for a hard crash but 5 years of martial arts taught me how to fall. Those falls I’ve taken have gone nicely and I pop up unharmed. This summer I picked up a push board. A little lower to the ground and 39 inches means it’s easier to push than the Loaded board. Bike trails are now my best friend.

    In short, it’s loads of fun to carve and cruise: I’m digging it!

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Thanks for the great comment, and good on you! I can just see the look on the face of your son’s kindergarten teacher’s when asked the question, “What do your parents do?”

      “My mom is a bad ass.”

      Try a land paddle some time—not only does it add an element of upper body workout, but the stick may come in handy for clearing a path on a crowded campus.

      1. Try flat water sup, I am on the Hudson River and east river 4 times a week all summer in NYC, if anyone wants to paddle water. SUP rocks.

  14. Maggie says:

    Loved finding this blog post on longboarding! I had the brilliant, revolutionary idea today to get into skateboarding at 52. I hit the internet and discovered it wasn’t very revolutionary after all. Perhaps it is since I’m a woman. Everything I’ve read so far is about middle aged men. I was disappointed to find judgmental articles accusing those men of going through midlife crisis. One even called them posers if they didn’t have the skills.

    Being someone who never cared what people thought, I’m not letting that deter me. I love to kayak but that requires traveling to the lake or river. When I watched the neighborhood children skateboarding this evening, I decided that would be fun exercise I can do anywhere.

    I was never much of a skateboarder in my youth–just zigzagged down hills. Everyone starts as a beginner. My starting at 52 doesn’t make me a poser, just someone who is interested in having fun when I exercise! Hopefully I’ll inspire like-minded individuals to join me someday.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      I’m just relieved to find another 52 year-old who refers themselves as being middle aged. Many naysayers claim 52 is past middle age. I say, “poppy cock!” Goon on you for forging ahead and having fun! Thanks for reading and taking time to comment.

      1. Maggie says:

        I love your blog, Kirk! Earlier this month, I asked the neighbor kid if I could try his skateboard. It was on flat ground felt super unsteady just standing on it. I don’t know if it was me, the board, or both. Probably a lot of both. It was a cheap beat up board that cracked in half when he was doing a stunt a few weeks later. (Swear it wasn’t my fault. I’m just over 100 lbs and was only on it for a minute, tops!) I’m thinking maybe I need to hit a balance beam first.

    2. Have a shot at SpikeBoarding Maggie, fun and rips you head to toe.

      1. Maggie says:

        Thanks, enrique! I just googled it. I might give it a try. Looks much more stable.

        1. Michelle says:

          Maggie–try a long distance push board. I use a Bustin Nomad with Otang wheels. It’s low to the ground and has some nice flex. I go to the local bike trails, gear up, and push that thing as fast as humanly possible. It’s a great cardio workout–I’m not worried about upper body workouts. (I lift weights for that.) I am more interested in balance and speed. :) My other board is a tan tien. Also nice flex but higher from the ground, it serves a different purpose.

  15. Sean says:

    I thought you might be amused to know that I found this almost exactly the way that you sought information on longboarding; I googled “middle aged longboarding.” I’m 47 and in the exact same place you were- trying to talk myself out of (or into) buying one. Half the thing that has held me back up til now is (I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit) the prospect of walking into a skate shop at my age and asking for information and advice from someone all but guaranteed to be young enough to be my kid. Nonetheless, I think I’m going to do exactly that tomorrow.

    1. Kirk Werner says:

      Half the challenge of walking into a skate shop, at the advanced age of middle age, is setting aside those feelings of self consciousness and doubt that we had when we were kids (you know, the appropriate age for rising boards). Just march in there like the adult you are and say, “So, dude. I’m like totally looking to get my stoke on. Show me some tasty boards that rip.” If the kid behind the counter shows you any disrespect or ridicule, grab him by the neck with your old man strength and squeeze just hard enough to let him you won’t tolerate anyone harshing on your mellow.” Or something like that. Good on ya–hope you’re riding by the end of the weekend!

      1. Sean says:

        Well, they didn’t openly snicker at me, but the local selection consisted of three boards- none of which really appealed to me. Tomorrow I’m taking a road trip to a longboarding dealer. Some things I can’t buy without holding in my hand or I’d order on line. Anyway, thanks for the fun read and advice. Hopefully be riding by tomorrow evening.

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