By Jacob Embuscado
In the summer I often go to Dallas to visit my family, and occasionally I end up seeing my cousin, Andrew. Andrew and I have always been close because we can connect over nearly everything. Longboarding was no exception.
My interest started when I turned 13. Andrew came over to my grandparents’ house one day to hang out since I usually would stay with them for the majority of the summer. He went to his car and pulled out a longboard.
Andrew started out teaching me the very basics of the sport such as how to push off with your foot to get yourself started and how to stop properly. After I learned the basics came the real challenge. Longboarding down the declined street my grandparents lived on was the true test.
So I headed down the street while my heart was beating abnormally fast. As I’m riding down the hill, my speed starts to increase. With Andrew overseeing my progress, I started to approach the cul-de-sac. I felt excited to have made it this far. The only thing I needed to focus on was being able to turn at the speed I was going. Unfortunately, I failed.
After trying to use my momentum to carry me around the cul-de-sac, I clipped a rock in the street, which brought the board to an abrupt stop. There I went, flying into the air. With the fall happening so suddenly, it almost felt as if I was levitating from the ground for minutes.
It probably took about 10 seconds before I hit the ground. It was safe to say I was done longboarding for the day, but the fall didn’t stop me from wanting to keep trying. Despite the pain I felt after falling, I knew I wanted to keep on riding.
Being only 13 at the time, I remember feeling incredibly nervous. Thinking about the first time I longboarded still makes me feel weak at the knees. Looking back, I have no idea how I was brave enough to attempt it.
After that incident, I’ve learned how to become a competent longboarder. Still, I can’t do tricks or go down ridiculous hills. But slowly and surely, I’ve worked on keeping my balance.
I could stand on the board for longer periods of time than before and became confident in my abilities. Not only that, but I’ve learned how to tinker with my board such as changing out the parts or figuring out which parts work well with specific boards.
Now, I’m part of a longboarding community on campus called Gator Longboarding. While the name suggests they are affiliated with the campus, they are actually sponsored by Freeride Surf and Skate Shop. While I don’t go to many events, I stop by the shop every so often to buy things I may need or just say a quick hello. Being a part of a community like this truly feels great.