At this point in the semester, many students have seen their fair share of other students cruising past them on longboards heading to and from classes.
Starting next semester, the University of West Florida’s Student Longboard Organization will be recognized as an official campus club by UWF, which means the club will receive their own budget from the Student Government Association.
For those who may not know, a longboard is a longer version of a traditional skateboard, which is less than 33 inches. Longboards are typically classified as any skateboard over 35 inches. The added length provides increased stability, which is why they are most commonly used for cruising or downhill racing, whereas regular skateboards are more commonly used for doing tricks and skating ramps.
Adam Mayorga, a junior pre-professional biology major, founded the organization and is the president. He has been skateboarding for just under three years.
“I love doing it, and I thought I was pretty good at the time, so I could teach others how to do it,” Mayorga said. “I wanted to teach everyone else the basics so I could form a race team or a slide team and really get something solid going.”
Mayorga learned the majority of what he knows from watching longboard videos on YouTube as well as on the website for the longboard brand Loaded.
In order to become a part of this group, students merely need to show up to Building 58A on Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m. There are no membership fees, and membership is more of a personal decision than a formal induction.
Members of the club have the opportunity to participate in races throughout Pensacola and surrounding areas. The cost to participate in the races will be covered by the club, and if the race is far away, Mayorga says the club will cover the cost of gas and food too, as long as the club can afford it.
This past weekend, the club went to Defuniak Springs for the “Defuniak Outlaws Circuit.” Two of their three skaters ranked in the top six with one coming in 4th place and one in 5th out of 30 competitors. All of the racers from the UWF team reached speeds of up to 40 mph at one point on the half-mile course. Two weeks prior, at the “Pensacola Outlaw Race #12,” two SLO skaters finished in the top ten, coming in 3rd and 7th place out of 35.
If students show up regularly to group meetings, they will be acknowledged and considered a member. These meetings typically consist of a quick discussion covering any announcements or issues that the group may have. After that, it’s time to skate.
Matt Long, a freshman mathematics major, has been coming to the meetings regularly since attending UWF and will be taking over as president next semester in place of Mayorga.
“If there’s not a lot of people (at the Tuesday meetings), we might go off campus,” Long said. “Usually we’ll stay on campus and skate by the gym. There’s a nice hill over there.”
SLO has raised enough money through fundraisers to acquire some loaner gear for skaters who do not have their own. The club requires that all skaters wear helmets.
“Safety is definitely our first thing,” Long said. “We have hand signals and stuff when there’s a car coming. We clap our gloves together so everyone knows to stop and get off their board.”
Mayorga stressed the fact that the club is co-ed. There are generally two or three female students that attend the meetings, but they would love to have more female students join so that the range of races they participate in can be broadened.
The group holds downhill clinics on Fridays at 2 p.m. outside of Building 58A. They are considering starting a Sunday clinic to focus on freeriding, where skaters can learn how to do different tricks on their boards.
For more information on UWF’s SLO, contact Adam Mayorga at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the club’s Facebook page.