Does the idea of cruising down very long, very steep roads in a very beautiful location at 100kph on a small piece of wood interest you? A similar kind of rush has been said to bring about groups of shared interest in the sport that is an evolution of the skateboard we have once known. But what exactly makes longboarding distinctly worth trying? We meet up with the rapidly growing, year-old Doha Longboard Crew (DLC) in Qatar to find out.
Also known as “sidewalk surfing” in Hawaii where the sport originated, longboarding has been invented to supplement the desire for a longer, smoother riding board when skateboards started becoming shorter and wider for tricks. “While a longboard is, in fact, a type of skateboard, it is designed with cruising and better maneuverability in mind,” says Rolly, one of the crew’s core members. “Compared to conventional skateboards, a longboard is longer in length, hence its name,” adds Vans, another one of the four guys who accidentally started the group.
Thanks to social media and the power of hashtags, the crew found one another on Instagram. “We were kind of using the tags #longboarding and #doha #qatar altogether,” Rolly recalls, “and I can’t exactly remember how we sent private messages to one another on Instagram.” What remains clear to them, however, is that on May 16, 2015 the eight guys (Rolly, Jovanie, Gustav, Flauber, Jason, Jude, Peachy & Clariz) met up in Aspire Zone for a one-time session that evolved to be the regularly-meeting and continuously growing group they are today.
In the course of a year, since DLC’s establishment in 2015, the group has successfully held competitions that not only encouraged sportsmanship and healthy competition, but also brought about growth, in terms of members and support, to the crew. The latest of which has been initiated by Alon with the aid of members Win-Win, Bruce, and Nell. “We called it B.O.B. for Battle of the Best,” he explains. “Fifteen participants in defined categories that serves as a meet-up and some sort of reunion for longboarders in town. Last B.O.B. brought together an overwhelming crowd of nearly fifty.” Today, the DLC is 102-member strong with around 45 of which active. The community continues to strive in encouraging people to longboard in Qatar. “Although there aren’t dedicated parks or areas to practice in Doha, it doesn’t stop us,” Rolly says. “We typically meet and play somewhere in Markhiya, at the Sheraton, and in Aspire.” Equipment aren’t as complex either. “While DC or Vans are great brands for hardcore training, longboarding does not necessarily require specific skate shoes to begin with,” says Gustav. “Boards are also in some sport shops around the country, but we recommend Stokas Online Shop and Edge Boardshop from the US.”