My first steps longboard dancing

Longboard dancing, stepping, or whatever else you call it, is almost like regular dancing. The biggest difference is how hard it is to take that first step.

After that, it’s all about remembering that you’ve already taken that first step, and the tens, hundreds, and thousands of steps that will follow.

To maneuver around the board, I need to remember where my weight is and where it’s going. All the while, I need to purposefully place my feet where they need to go next on the board. It’s an awesome balance of mental and physical focus that affects me like meditating would. Only, I also get a great work out of it, so it’s a win win hobby.

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My Longboard warm up

You’ve felt it, right?

When your foot cramps up like there’s an iron ball in the arch of your sole. Or the morning after, when you can’t walk up a staircase without wincing from the pain that’s coursing throughout your poor, oh so sore, joints?

Well, so have I.

And after doing extensive (ahem) research, I’ve made the executive decision that these 3 exercises could very well keep YOU from ending the day with weak inner thighs, swollen ankles, achy achy joints, or even a crippling fall. That’s right, keep reading, and you’ll fall 50% less than if you hadn’t. Probably.

First, some heel drops for your ankles and thighs:

As we longboard, we constantly rely on our ankles to support our weight as we sway through carves, hold out humongous slides, or even cross-step down a humongous longboard. In conclusion, they never get a break. And this is a humongous problem.

Maybe you’ve experienced this before, but maybe not. Swollen ankles and sore calf muscles are common after long slide or cruise sessions, and I’ve experienced this. I’ve also experienced how doing heel drops can really help assuage these longboarding ailments.

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The heel drop is a personal favorite, before and after longboarding, because I can almost visualize my muscle tendons being stretched out as push my heel halfway to China. I use these to strengthen my ankles as well as warm up my calf muscles for harder carving and slides. Feeling the burn is the goal with any stretch, but I think this is the only one that actually feels good.
But maybe that’s just me?

Next, take care of those thighs with some butterflies:

Thighs, inner thighs, to be exact, have never been a recreational focus of mine. But apparently, not tending (you get it, right?) to them properly can come back and bite you in the butt. Most of us don’t regularly exercise our inner thighs, so when we try a new trick or have the misfortune of falling a new way, the muscles we count on to keep our legs in control will stress out, fail to do so and will not hesitate to remind us of that fact in the morning. Ouch. That’s why I started doing the butterfly stretch again. Yay…

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Use your elbows to press down on your legs so your knees move closer to the floor. This is a static stretch, so take your time and breathe into it. Just in case you forgot your middle school gym routine. These are very uncomfortable and require commitment, but they’ll keep you from limping up the stairs, so do ’em.

Lastly, side planks to boost balance (and safety!) :

After reading a study on how hockey players who could hold a minute long plank with good form were 80% LESS LIKELY to be injured in a given season, I immediately incorporated side-planks into my longboard warm up routine. And it was true! I started falling less and, in turn, injuring myself less.

IMG_2621_2Basically, side-planks strengthen your core as well as your thigh muscles and are extremely beneficial to balance and injury prevention. Like the butterfly stretch, side-planks have a propensity to exercise those muscles that might not get as much love as other areas of your body from daily life. Work up to at least a minute with good form, just like those hockey players, and remember to breath throughout. It’s easy to lose your form but you’ll get the most out of planks when you keep a straight line from your ankles, through your spine, and to your head, while consciously engaging your core.

Incorporate, don’t concentrate:

Now, I’m not saying do these 3 things and nothing else. But rather, consciously incorporate them into your existing routine (do them already? good for you!), remember how you felt before you started these 3 exercises, and decide what’s best for you and your style. I wrote this post because I’ve experienced the benefits of these exercises, ESPECIALLY with respect to a longboarding lifestyle.

Have fun, be safe, and have a super cool day!

-Sam

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Board Place – TART trail, Traverse City Longboarding

Traverse City showcases some of the best beauty in Michigan.

In the morning, I watched the fog roll over Lake Michigan and then disappear an hour later. I took this picture at the bottom of Pyramid Point right before trying to beat my girlfriend’s best time of  4:20 climbing back up.

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My time was 8:40.

Pretty pretty, right? I snapped a few more.

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But anyhoo, on to the subject of Longbo- oh wait.

The next day we ate at this awesome Microbrewery called the Filling Station and ate THIS:

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The pizza is called the Berlington Northern, it’s delicious, and here’s why:

Garlic Oil, Roasted Garlic, Red Onion, Fresh Pear, Prosciutto, Brie, Parmesan, Balsamic Reduction.

AND, unfortunately I’m a few months shy of 21, but I think I think I have a good idea of what I’ll be doing to celebrate my birthday.

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Basically it’s a bar on wheels. See those white cup holders? They hold beer while you drink, pedal, and are navigated to pubs by a chauffeur-type.

NEATO!

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ANYHOO, Here is my Longboarding video post. My editing skills have DEFINITELY improved the second time around. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to shoot.

We shot the amazingly fun TARTtrail, a network of interconnected paved pathways that I can’t wait to get back to.

Also, apologies for the video quality. I would rather not discriminate against the mobile users.

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Thanks for the support and have super cool day.

 

 

elby longboard shoes

Best Longboard Shoes? – Elby

picstitch(1)I’ve been wearing through these Sanuk’s since about April of 2013. Aside from from not wearing them during the winter season, I’ve used and abused these Sidewalk Surfers pretty consistently up until now. I’m actually surprised they lasted so long. They’re marketed to surfers, not bearders. They also didn’t offer any support whatsoever, but boy, did they hold together.

I’ve always thought of stereotypical skate shoes as being a bit bulky, big-tongued, and all around not-so-attractive. So, I never made any effort to find any “skate shoes” for myself. Yet, one google search for “longboard shoes” returned these these slick kicks: Elby skate shoes by Brooklyn Workshop. Here’s a review by Silverfish Longboarding.com.

1621727_726517380706037_1925452973_nThey look awesome, right? Unfortunately, according to their kickstarter, they won’t be for sale until at least July. I should probably (okay, definitely) take advantage of their early bird special.

Also, if you ever wondered what the difference between vulcanized and cup sole shoes are, then check out this video. Basically cup soles are tough, while vulcanized soles allow for more board feel.

Board Place – Preserve Longboarding

Hey, you.

This first week, I want to share my longboarding experience at the Preserves of Dexter MI. It’s a beautiful valley with a lake, a few emerging McMansion, and most importantly long smooth roads that that carried me all the way to slide city and back. The video below should give you a taste of the place!

As you can see, I love to slide! Although, I mean that in a very casual sense. I’m really not one for intense downhill sliding. This video is the first time I have ever worn a helmet while boarding, and one of the few occasions on which I’ve wore my gloves. Yes, I know, very stupid. I learned my lesson the two days prior to filming my Preserve Cruise. I still have the elbow injuries to prove it. Maybe I should invest in some G-FORM for my more ambitious cruises. However, I’ve always been one for long and level cruising. Sometime soon, I hope to have the time and means to check out a marathon push race.

Which brings me to my next point. By the end of my Preserve Cruise I had gone up and down the hills so much that I could barely lift my standing leg without feeling intense pain. And, after doing some research I found this groin stretch video which helped a surprising amount. Plus, I appreciated the fact that the guy showing me how to stretch is also wearing jeans.

Thanks for checking out my first post! I hope you found it helpful, relevant, or at least a little interesting. More Places and experiences abound!