Story by Clara Firtos, Contributing writer
Skateboarding is a nontraditional sport on campus that is often overlooked. However, just like any other sport, there are a variety of ways for someone who is passionate for it to get involved.
“Sports are just different forms of physical competition,” said Nolan Winbun, sophomore from Versailles, Kentucky. “Skating is both very physical and mental, whether it is vert skating, street skating, downhill longboard racing or freestyle.”
Winbun has been longboarding for more than two years. He said the reason he began boarding is because he felt he had always been an adrenaline junkie.
“It’s hard to explain how much I love longboarding,” Winbun said. “My favorite thing about skating is that it helps me relax after class, it has introduced me to a few of my best friends, gives me a good reason to go outside and I always have something to work on. I can spend hours on learning a new slide or a new trick, and it takes my mind away from whatever stressors I have that day.”
Nathan Jones, freshman from Slaughters, Kentucky, enjoys boarding as well. Jones has been boarding since his first semester at Murray State.
“A sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against others for entertainment,” Jones said. “And as longboarders or skateboarders we constantly use physical assertion and skill as we continue to learn new tricks and learn from our mistakes.”
Jones uses his board to get to his classes, but also as an escape from the stress college classes can bring.
“My board adapts to whatever I’m feeling,” Jones said. “If I need a place to get away from the college life, I’ll just get on my board and life’s good. If I want an adrenaline rush, I’ll bomb a hill and life’s great.”
Jones said that with dedication and practice anybody can learn how to board.
“Almost any skate shop should be able to help you pick out a good beginner’s setup,” Winbun said.
Winbun said it’s important to remember that it takes everyone a long time to get comfortable on a board.
“Also, you are going to get the sudden urge to grab onto vehicles or a campus golf cart to let them pull you,” Jones said. “That is not a good idea- do not do that.”
Jones said it’s important to remember to get back on your board as quick as you can when you fall and to make sure that you’re always wearing a helmet every time you ride.
The prices on boards vary between what type, shape and producer. Popular types of boards on college campuses include penny boards, traditional skateboards and longboards.
“I recommend spending a good amount of money on your first board just because it makes it easier to learn and you won’t have to replace it for years,” Winbun said.
Winbun has had his first board for a little over two years.
Longboarding competitions aren’t very big in Kentucky. If the men wanted to compete, they would have to travel to competitions held by International Slalom Skateboarding Association and Midwest Longboarding Association. For now, they ride around on campus.
Jones said if students see him on campus, he’d be happy to give some pointers and make friends.