Here I am, timer-photo'd with my iPhone propped against my backpack, standing in the shadows on a sunny October Oregon day, on the Minto Brown Park trail which runs along the Willamette River (in the background) near Salem.
I like the looks of my new longboard, Kahuna Creations Haka Moko 47".
Since my birthday is approaching -- I'll be a freaking ancient 64 -- I felt entirely justified in getting myself a present to give to myself, my only problem being that I now need to forget what I've done so I can surprise myself on my actual birthday.
Where's senility when I need it?
I've got nothing bad to say about my first longboard, a Landyachtz Switch. I was just curious to see how a longer longboard, made by the same Kahuna guys who came up with the Big Stick (in my right hand) that I like a lot, would feel like.
After a hour-plus of riding on Minto Brown trails, I can say, great.
The Haka Moko feels more stable to me. And I think it turns a bit more agilely. Since I don't know how to do any tricks on a longboard, including "switching" (a 180 turn), I'm not missing the bi-directional design of the Switch.
I think the Hako Moko is also more pushable with the Big Stick. Can't be sure of this, because my Big Stick technique is steadily improving. But it seems like I can lean forward into a push better on the Hako Moko, since the drop-deck design of the Switch keeps me a bit further back on the board.
Aesthetically, the embedded beach sand on the top of the Hako Moko is cool (and grippy). It even feels fine barefooted. The blue on my Big Stick matches with the blue of the Hako Moko, which matches with the blue semi-tied laces of my Teva shoes.
Today a bicyclist yelled at me as he went by, "Nice way to surf." For sure. No need to drive or fly to the beach. No need to wait for a wave -- the trails are always ready for a ride.
I also took a upclose headshot, something I'm usually reluctant to do. One of my main techniques for coping with getting older is not looking closely at myself. (See "When a man goes to the dermatologist.")
Hey, not too bad. I'm old, but pretty damn fit.
And with that look, if longboarding doesn't work out I can always get a Harley and sit around on Saturday afternoons at Starbucks with the other gray-haired geezers having their end-of-life crisis. However, right now I much prefer senior citizen skateboarding.
Longboarding with the Big Stick is great exercise.
In 40 minutes I go about three miles, including a few stops and some walking, feeling both the aerobic buzz and some serious core/upper body workout. I get some puzzled looks from other trail users, but if I saw me coming along on a skateboard, pushing my way along with a metal stick, I'd be puzzled myself.
(Note to self: if you ever decide to rob a bank, don't make your getaway on the longboard. It's kind of difficult to look inconspicuous on it when you're 64.)
Hey, except for the little 'chick down' coming out from under your helmet, you look pretty good! Have you tried going down your driveway yet?
Posted by: Frank Haynes | October 04, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Frank, I have a minor (well, a major) problem with stopping. Meaning, I can't. Not on a steep'ish downhill. These damn skateboards don't have brakes!
Dragging a foot, or a Big Stick, works OK for stopping on a slight incline. But more than that, and you need to know how to slide in one fashion or another by twisting the board sideways so the wheels skid rather than roll.
Someday I hope to learn how to do this. Stand-up sliding, along with a "speed check" (basically a short slide, then continuing on) are my dream techniques to learn. Until then, I'll stick to level and mild uphills/downhills.
Posted by: Brian Hines | October 04, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Practice stopping by dragging your foot. Pivot so your whole body is facing forward, bend slightly at the knee of the leg you keep on the board and plant your foot firmly on the ground. Applying more pressure to slow down more, and vis versa. It takes a bit of getting used to. But its the easiest and safest way to stop. I downhill race and can slow down with foot breaking even when I'm going 60 MPH! As usual, practice makes perfect and good luck!
Posted by: Trevor | March 20, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Trevor, thanks for the tips. Before I got into land paddling with a Big Stick on my longboard, I was more comfortable with foot dragging, even though I wasn't very good at it.
Now that I don't push with my foot any more, it feels strange to take a foot off the board to stop. Also, disconcerting at any sort of speed. I realize this must sound strange to a "traditional" long boarder, since for you standing on the board with one foot is commonplace.
Since I don't go down big hills, my inability to drag my foot or slide isn't a big problem for me. I'd like to be able to stop and slow down better, but at the speeds and slopes I frequent, dragging the Big Stick or just hopping off works pretty well for me.
I might do some practicing with foot dragging, though. Seems like I could combine it with dragging the Big Stick.
Posted by: Brian Hines | March 20, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Posted by: stevie | September 04, 2014 at 02:12 AM