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Yes, finally!! Last weekend a small but very significant slide session took place far east, in the land of rising sun. I’m sure that for most of you readers, our longboard scene here in Japan is a mystery. So here I am to share a little bit of what’s going on with some fresh photos and lots of stoked Japanese faces!!
Age doesn’t matter for a shredder’s spirit. Photo by Hideki Otsuka
Photo by Rumon Arai
The event was organized by a group of middle aged riders who call themselves “BooDeh TsuuKeh KaiDeh Union” which means “fat big ass” when you read it backwards in Japanese. There are 13 members of this master’s union scattered around all Japan, they got to know each other only through Japan’s main social network website called “Mixi” about two years ago. Since each member always skates alone they decided to start shooting videos of themselves longboarding and make a virtual slide jam each month which is the main longboard activity of this middle-age longboarders union. (Check out their latest video BELOW)
Photo by Rumon Arai
Finally one of these members, Soichiro San, got off his big ass and made a real slide jam happen!! On Sunday, August 19th, almost 40 riders (yes!! Only 40, but it’s a big deal for us!!) got together for this very first slide session at our local spot called “Super Hill” ( some of them call it “Valley of where the wind blows”), located in the Zushi area, famous for its beaches and Tokyo’s nearest surf spots, an hour and a half of driving south from Tokyo.
Before continuing the story, you gotta know that there are still very few people longboarding here in Japan, much less than what you might imagine compared to the popularity of other board sports such as surfing, snowboarding, or street skateboarding on our islands. It’s extremely rare to find someone pushing a longboard on the street, not to say it’s illegal to skate in the streets here in Japan. If you find one, it’s like a finding real gnome in the jungle of Tokyo!! Now you might appreciate the number of people that got together for this event.
Photo by Hideki Otsuka
People started arriving around 10 am, some of them came from several parts of Japan, such as Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigi, and even all the way from Yamagata which is about 250 miles away!! It was a very hot day, about 93 degrees Fahrenheit with no clouds in the sky, so the local shop owner of Funwaves, Yoshi, showed up with several canopies so everyone could rest there when they started feeling like Rango in the desert. There was a brief meeting after setting those canopies as a meeting point, then everybody got into action!!
Local shop “Funwaves” owner Yoshi after setting up some canopies. Photo by Jun Iino
Local tech slider “Sekigio” killing it!! He loves Brasilian-style tech sliding so much that he combined his last name “Seki” and the famous Sergio Yuppie’s first name and calls himself “Sekigio”. Photo by Hideki Otsuka
At first, local riders led the session while riders who’d never shredded Super Hill warmed up in a flat area. Most of the non-local riders had never ridden such a steep hill, so at first they were scared, but eventually they started skating the steep course and you could see the stoke spreading in their faces.
Stoked faces in the Far East. Photo by Rumon Arai
Super Hill has 3 main slopes. The first one with a nice right curve, not so steep but good to get some speed, the second one with two curves and a very steep and fast straight, the last one starts with a steep straight then a right hairpin curve and continues to two curves with narrow roads. All of them are not so long, but definitely with a nice grade of gnarlyness. The best of all, is that it’s a completely closed road (not so common in Japan) and there are only local pedestrians who come to hang out with their dogs, so it feels quite safe.
Another local shop “Custom Pro Shop” owner Mr. Hiranuma shredding. He’s also a big supporter of Japanese slalom and park skate scene. Photo by Hideki Otsuka
Event organizer Soichiro, aka “Sou-san” getting into heelside standup!! Photo by Jun Iino
Mini handstand contest was going on meanwhile. Photo by Yousuke Hosoda
5 riders came from Shizuoka, driving about 130 miles, and they said, “It’s definitely worth it coming here and skating with such a lot of people. There is a lot to learn because it was our first time to skate such a steep hill, but we’re stoked!!”
Takuya Honma, a rider from Yamagata, said, “I am very happy to finally skate with lot of riders because I always skate alone. It’s much fun to skate with others and also good inspiration.”
Masatoshi Suzuki, one of the rider from Shizuoka getting on the steep road for the first time. Photo by Rumon Arai
7 year old Kaito was so stoked butt boarding. He calls his style “Mario Kart style”. photo by Yousuke Hosoda
Age doesn’t matter for shredder’s spirit. They’ll keep rolling!! Photo by Yousuke Hosoda
A unique thing about this event was most of the riders are over 30 and maybe half of them are even over 40!! Most of them are fathers and some of them brought their kids so there were only a pair of kids skating around, but there were definitively NO GROMS!!! This is a characteristic of the Japanese longboard scene, grown-ups are mainstream, but still no kids, no groms, no girls. This jam was a blast, sponsor free, with some sincere vibes from all the riders who are finally starting a real life bond, and not just virtual. Maybe this event was the beginning of the coming longboard Japan scene. It’s a little bit sad not having our young guns, maybe this is just a tendency of a country that is getting older. And anyway, age doesn’t matter for our shredder’s spirit, right?!
8 Longboard Wheels That Leave Huge Thane Lines by Motion Boardshop
ORIGINS OF A THANE LINE: Good thane lines come from wheels that shed a significant amount of urethane during a slide. Though these wheels will wear down much faster compared to other wheels that don’t tend to thane as hard, you get a unique feel to your slide that breaks away from traction very easily while remaining consistent and predictable.
BTW…this list of wheels is based solely on the opinions of Motion Boardshop team riders and employees and are in no particular order.