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IT’S NOT JUST A PIECE OF WOOD

longboards march 6

By Nurilyn Elli

Skateboards. Longboards. Pennyboards.
These especially designed boards (also called decks) to which four wheels are fitted on the underside used by an emerging number of students have become a blaring issue not only inside the Silliman Campus but in Dumaguete City as well. With a new ordinance regulating the use of these skateboards and longboards (longer skateboards), let’s take a look at how the board has transcended from being an item for cruising, to an anti-drug, to a city-nuisance.

History. The existence of skateboarding is credited to the earlier sport surfing. In the late 1950’s, surfing had branched out into two separate disciplines which are skateboarding and finally, longboarding. Skateboarding focuses much on performance tricks and short cruises while the latter involves weighty cruising and level travel.

The burgeoning of skateboarding was in California when surfers realized that they wanted to surf on pavements instead when the waves were flat, hence it was earlier called as “sidewalk surfing.” Apart from surfers, there’s uncertainty about who invented the skateboard but several groups take credit. One of the famous groups of original skateboarders/longboarders in the 1970’s who popularized the sport is the Z-boys (Z being short for Zephyr), a clique of skaters who rode under the Dogtown label. Two of the members of Z-boys namely Stacy Peralta and Tony Alva, who were regarded as legendary skaters, revolutionized this sport.

Along with the widespread use of longboarding in the 80’s, it was associated with the breaking of laws and counter-culture. It’s as if history has truly repeated itself as it is greatly connects to the present issue about the regulation of skating on roads which is tackled on the later part of this story. 

Function. Other than it being a sport, it’s also majorly used as a method of transportation, with much skill needed in balancing. Skater enthusiasts could just use their boards and slide it on the road and direct it to the place they wanted to be as far as they could. One good side of this mode of transportation compared to transportation that runs on fuel is that since there’s no machine or fuel used, it is environment-friendly as it leaves less carbon footprint. As a complement, longboarding at the same time contributes much in the hampering of global warming.

Most of the individuals who decide to skate, are those who really want to know and explore what real life is. The gusto you see on their faces whenever they’re skating on the road with their groups is priceless. The essence of fun that longboarding offers keeps the skaters motivated. It is evident in their eyes and the smiles and it’s even convincing to believe that it’s not just a sport but a sense of passion as well.

For them, there’s life in longboarding. On the contrary, a day without even  just a minute of rolling on those boards on the road is more like suicide.
Longboarding is not just a mere sport alone but it’s a kind of friend that you can count on whenever you are lost in your way and at times when you want to express something. Skater Ryan Villa puts it, “Injuries may come with what I love to do, but what also come with it are thrill, competition, and excitement. I have found a hidden talent and I will not stop because of some scratches. It lets me escape. It’s my anti-drug. It is longboarding.”

Regulation. An ordinance was proposed by the Dumaguete City Council which seeks to regulate the use of skateboards, longboards, roller skates, and scooters on public streets and sidewalks. Councilor JV Imbo stressed that the ordinance is for the promotion of the safety of all road users and to impose penalties for every deviant behavior which is not in accordance with the ordinance. There were a handful of boarding enthusiasts and representatives of public transport sector who participated in the public hearing. The concern directly started after it was observed that the freedom of skaters in every part of the streets without enforcing regulation was an explicit threat to everyone’s safety. 

It was said that the skaters were not against the proposed ordinance but they defended some concerns such us limitations upon which places they are allowed to skate. Prior to this, they were asked by the city council to observe conditions like time limitations and the proper use of safety gear, basically the helmet. Based on the report from the Philippine News Agency, the use of skateboards, longboards, roller skates, and scooters are not included in the laws within the Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines.

Longboarding as a sport is healthy and motivates everyone who is willing to jive with it.

This piece of wood reminds us that in everything we do, we must be open-minded and considerate of the things around us to avoid any undesirable circumstances. As long as you love what you are doing, go with the flow, but never break the law.

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