A Longboard Lifestyle

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Michael Thorson ’14 flies downhill on his longboard

Michael Thorson '14 flies downhill on his longboard
Michael Thorson ’14 flies downhill on his longboard

By Elise Feider ’14

The Prep Panther sat down with junior Michael Thorson ‘14, renowned long boarder and general nice guy. Michael proclaims to be a Passion Pit and Pink Floyd fan, will quote Perks of Being a Wallflower at will, and enjoys an occasional slice of pizza from the cafeteria. Catch him in the math room, skating down Interlaken, or participating in a long board race. Read on to find out more about our interviewee, the culture that surrounds skating, and his new sponsorship.

EF: When did you first start skateboarding?

MT: I picked up my first skateboard in the fall of 2009, but by the summer of 2010, I bought my first long board and cruised around before I realized I was obsessed. I started downhill skateboarding seriously when my parents bought me my first real board on my birthday in October.

EF: How did you initially become interested?

MT: Well, to be honest, in 2009 I picked up the video game Skate and I was like, ‘wait I wanna do that.’ But after, in 8th grade my friend Dillon started long boarding and I saw a video of him going 40mph or something. I became determined to pick up long boarding downhill.

EF: What are the main differences between skateboarding and long boarding?

MT: Basically, a long board is a skateboard (it is a plank of wood with trucks and four wheels) but the sport of long boarding is quite different than that of skateboarding. Skateboarding, as most people probably know, consists of people riding small boards with two “kicktails” and hard wheels and flipping their boards every which way to pull of thousands of ridiculous tricks. Skateboarding involves a lot of leaving the ground to fly through the air and what not. Long boarding on the other hand harnesses the power of gravity to propel riders on longer boards with softer wheels down hills at speeds upwards of 50mph. Long boarding was founded on and is still based on sheer speed.

EF: What stereotypes are you aware of about skateboarding?

MT: Everyone thinks skateboarders (be it street of longboarding) and just dont care about life, honestly those stereotypes aren’t always true one of my friend skates and he’s studying to be a nano-biologist.

EF: Do you listen to music while skateboarding? If so, what?

MT: I usually don’t, cause when I do, I feel like I’m going to be hit by a car. If I did, I’d jam to Tribe Called Quest or Madvillain, or something.

EF: Where do you long board?

MT: I look for super steep hills with fresh pavement and lots of sharp corners. Interlaken is a fun run, but it has a lot of cars.

EF: Who do you long board with? Specifically, who from prep?

MT: I really don’t long board from anyone at prep… I used to skate with Nick Danielson ‘12 and sometimes my homie Darius Escander ‘12! But both of them are off to college.

EF: How often do you compete?

MT: During the summer, there are copious amounts of big races in North America. Each summer, I race in four or five of those and then on the side there are some local races that I go to.

EF: Like impromptu races?

MT: When you get fifty or more skateboarders together in one small location…well, people don’t tend to like it. Still one happens every other month or so.

EF: Is long boarding a sport that needs to be practiced a lot? Has it replaced your ability to participate in the normal season sports at Prep?

MT: No, it hasn’t. I run cross country. The thing about long boarding is you can practice it at any given time. I don’t schedule days when I go and work on specific things. I just go outside, do what I love, and keep getting better and better.

EF: You take photos and make long boarding movies too?

MT: Yes, I make videos and take lots of pictures for fun, but recently I’ve started making promotional videos for the company that sponsors me. During summer, I sent a video of me skating to a local company called DB Longboards (they make skim boards too) and they agreed to sponsor me. Basically, I test and develop new boards and promote their products. I helped design the DB “Lunch Tray,” so I’m stoked about that.

EF: Any closing words on long boarding?

MT: As Bricin Lions once said, “blood for breakfast, scabs for lunch” Cheesy and deep enough for you?