More students longboarding on campus


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Amid chants of "Go Bass" from his fellow boarders, UI freshman Sebastian Alcantara tripped as he attempted to complete a 180-degree slide — a trick that allows skaters to turn their boards in a half-circle while remaining on top of it.

"Not enough speed that time," he said.

His second attempt at the trick was perfect.

The 18-year-old said he's been long-boarding for approximately two years, and he is a big fan of the "skateboarding culture."

"I don't know if I'm advanced," he said. "I'm just really comfortable on my board."

Alcantara has made long-boarding a style.

"Obviously, I dress the part," he said, gesturing at his DC skating-company shirt, baggy jeans, and Nike shoes. "I like the easy-going [long-boarding style]. The swag of it."

Many people around Iowa City are jumping on the long-boarding bandwagon.

"It's booming," said Mitch Dettman, the owner of The Full Kit, 332 E. Washington St. "It's a great way of transportation."

He said he has sold approximately three times as many long boards as he did last year, and he expects to sell even more in upcoming months. Those sales have competed with those of regular skateboards, he said.

Long boards, which cost approximately $130 to $350, are efficient because of the limited amount of parking in Iowa City, said Dettman as he sat in his store. And long boards are quite similar to conventional skateboards but are easy for beginners because of their larger size — usually around 3 to 4 feet in length and up to 10 inches wide — and bigger, softer wheels.

The ease of transportation is one of the main reasons UI students choose to use long boards around campus.

"I use it over a bike because I don't have to lock it," said UI sophomore Jonathan Coath.

His skateboard, a Landyachtz with an image of a giraffe on the back, is perfect for getting around as well as simple tricks.

"I like to call it the board that can do everything," said the 19-year-old from Barrington, Ill., noting that he bought it for about $250.

Coath said he enjoys turning his friends on to the emerging sport as well.

"Just by giving people a board and a little bit of time with it, they fall in love," he said.

UI sophomore Jordan Corpman, Coath's roommate, just recently started long-boarding — and has the scars to prove it. He held up his right hand, showing off a large gash that he got in a "freak accident."

"I was being stupid," he said, describing an incident in which he attempted tricks outside his house and slid on gravel.

"It's a little bit sore," he said. "I'm so new to [long-boarding]."

But a few scrapes hasn't stopped the Iowa City native from trying to improve — he often skateboards to work at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and cruises around the UI Health Science Campus, he said.

The group of friends joked and laughed as they took turns carving — a way to gain momentum by rotating weight on the board — and sliding, boarded down Dodge Street last weekend.

"It's not as trick-oriented as skateboarding," said Coath, who has also been long-boarding for around two years. "Long-boarding is all about getting there."

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