Safety important to longboarders

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Longboarders may appear to be a little crazy for “bombing” down hills, but they do have safety on their minds.

Every once in a while you’ll see a longboard-riding student glide across Dixie State University’s campus. What about safety concerns?  At the Jan. 15 meet-up on Green Springs Drive with the Board Dixie Club, answers were found among an enthusiastic group of boarders.

While I think it is super-fierce to longboard, I am an ever-cautious person and I wouldn’t want to watch someone crash and burn. 

First, my backstory. At one time in my life, longboarding as a mode of transportation appealed to me, especially when I was (literally) running across the large campus at my past college, just trying to make it to class on time.

So, I bought a Sector 9 longboard and practiced around my neighborhood, in hopes of one day being able to board around the campus.

In the end, I never felt successful as a longboarder, so I just kept the running shoes on. It was a fear-based decision: There was a fear of running over a fellow student or a fear of falling face first into the concrete.

I ended up re-homing the board to my brother, who used it so much, he ended up breaking his arm trying to avoid hitting a jogger.

So what about safety? Am I the only one who was a paranoid boarder? 

Safety is a concern. Club president Rosalee Hafen, a sophomore psychology major from Ivins, said safety is important. For example, she said boarders should wear helmets, gloves and pads when going down, or bombing, large hills.

“I don’t do too much crazy stuff; I just like a nice cruise,” Hafen said. “There have been a lot of accidents, some fatal, and that is sad. I think that it is enjoyable if you are smart and safe. Don’t do it if you are drinking or on drugs.”

Hafen said that she enjoys longboarding now, but as she gets older and when she becomes a mom, being even more responsible and cautious will affect her hobby of longboarding.

At one time, longboarding on campus was banned, Don Reid, director of campus security, said during a phone interview. The ban has been lifted, and campus security’s role is to respond to any injuries, he said.

“My agenda is very narrow,” Reid said. “It is just safety. The only thing we have to do with [longboarding] is if there is an injury, [then] we respond as [emergency medical services.]”

Baylie Scott, a freshman nursing major from St. George, said she has been longboarding for almost a year. At this point she does not longboard on campus, but in the future she might board around campus for fun, she said.

“Maybe I will [longboard on campus] if I ever get to the point where I am comfortable,” Scott said.

I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who wanted to feel at a certain level of skill before I went cruising along the campus sidewalks. 

But what do others do to help longboarders feel safe? Hafen said share the road.

“Longboarders should be smart and board where there is enough room for them and cars,” Hafen said. “ [Drivers,] just be aware of your surroundings [and] look for us.”

In the end, be fierce longboarders, but know your limits and have safe practices for yourself and those around you.