As the skate culture gains more and more popularity among young people once again, we direct our curious gaze towards one of its branches: longboarding. In this interview with Ahmed, we aimed to explore the versatility of longboarding and what makes it special in comparison to skating, cruising, or, surprisingly, snowboarding! So let’s move on to explore this adrenaline-filled journey of freedom, art, and fun.

1. First, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I'm Ahmed, I longboard whenever I have free time. I study life sciences at HU, and that's basically it.

2. Do you have other passions or hobbies besides longboarding?

A: Something I can't do often but I actually love to do is snowboarding, which is quite similar. Other than that, just watching series and eating food: I love to eat.  I also have my own podcast you can follow at @unc.studios on Instagram, or on YouTube at Uncensored Studios.

3. How have you come to longboarding?

A: Funnily enough, it started by snowboarding. Because of it, I already had some board feeling. Then my ex-girlfriend bought a longboard, I picked it up a couple of times, and I got the hang of it quite quickly. I bought my own board soon after, then another one and so on. Now I have around four, but I use just two of them, the others are mostly for spare parts.

4. For how long have you been doing this?

A: I would say this is the fourth year, something like that. Three or four years.

5. So quite a lot of time already. Why did you choose longboarding instead of skateboarding, penny boarding or cruising?

A: I do some cruising once in a while when I want to go somewhere that’s not so far that it requires me to use public transport. I chose longboarding because I like to explore my area and go travel for long distances, while having a little bit of a snowboarding feeling - which you don't get with any other board. Even with a longboard it is still not the same, but it's the closest to that feeling.

Why can't you get that feeling on a skateboard, for example?

Because of the trucks - the metal parts that are attached to the board and to the wheels. Comparing skateboards with longboards, the trucks are different, being placed at different angles and in different directions. Therefore, one has more of a carving feel while the other one has more sharp turns for you. Also, the longboard feels way more stable, because you have bigger tires and a longer wheelbase.

6. What is the feel of the longboard?

A: Honestly, it depends on how you ride it. It can feel comfortable and smooth if you just go straight. If you really put your weight into turns, it could feel a little bit more like snowboarding, because of your carving. And you also have pumping which is jumping and putting pressure in your turns to accelerate quicker. That one feels really bouncy because you're literally jumping from left to right. And there are other styles I haven’t really experienced that well. I did some freestyling, but I'm not at that level right now. Of course, going fast is the most fun part.

7. And how often and for how long do you go longboarding?

A: Lately I've been mostly busy with school, but, before that, I used to go out the whole day, between six to eight hours of longboarding, and some more hours of chilling, because it was during the Corona lockdown. So I had all the freedom to explore the proximities, do trips of  50 to 80 kilometers, and just feel free and wild.

8. Are there any laws that forbid longboarding in certain places?

A: Hmm. I think in public buildings, in the mall, for example. I still do it sometimes after closing hours, because the surface is so smooth.

9. What do you think is the most important thing in longboarding?

A: Find out whatever style works best for you, and which one you have the most fun with. Because there's a lot of choices.

You can do downhill longboarding which is really fast, easily reaching up to 80 kilometers an hour, and doing slides to take the turns. But there are also things like dancing or freestyling. Just be yourself!

10. Any tips for longboarding?

A: Using protective gear helps you get out of your comfort zone. Otherwise, you'll feel that you hold yourself back a little bit when trying to learn something. That's the only thing I wish I had already known.

11. Would anyone be able to do it?

A: Yeah! Just make sure you bend your knees and then that's gonna be easier. I'm not gonna say it's gonna be easy, but easier!

12. A quick online search says that longboarding poses great risks for those who practice it. How do you protect yourself from any dangerous incidents that might happen?

A: It depends on what you're doing with longboarding. As I said, you can do long distances, and that's not that big of a risk. However, if you do something like downhill longboarding and you reach really high speeds, yeah, there is a big risk. If you make just one mistake, you can hit your head and end up in a hospital. Learning how to fall is important in general, not just for longboarding.  And that's how I protected myself, by learning not to land on my hands. I tried to roll my body when falling and that helps a lot. Also, you can always use protective gear.

13. What was the most difficult or scariest thing you’ve done while longboarding?

A: There's this one bridge where you can go downhill on both sides of it. One side is kind of mellow, you reach a maximum of 30-35 kilometers an hour, but the other side is way steeper. I didn’t know that. So I went down it and reached a speed of 45 km/h. I started to have speed-wobbles, which is when you lose a little bit of control and the board starts wobbling underneath you. And I was like “Oh damn, I need to bail out”. I tried to jump into the grass, which actually worked, and I landed safely. The most difficult thing was learning to pump which is, like I said, being able to longboard without having to step on the ground.

14. What is special about longboarding for you? I know you already talked about the connection between longboarding and snowboarding, so it might as well be that, but if you have any other elements that are also great.

A: The feeling of freedom. When you get on the roads, it's just you and them, you can decide whatever you do. It feels like you're being free. I don't know why. The same thing goes for snowboarding, it feels very relaxing and liberating.

15. And what inspires you, for example, are there other longboarders or just other people, or artists that serve as an inspiration for you?

A: Well, there's one person I would call an artist. But he's not necessarily inspiring me, because he does a different type of longboarding than I do. There's nothing that really inspires me. I just like to do longboarding because of the gratifying feeling. It's also really therapeutic to do it for some reason.

Who is this person, and why would you call him an artist?

A: @lotfiwoodwalker. If you look up just one video of him, you’ll understand what I mean. He is truly an artist at longboard dancing, and apparently, he is also a world champion.

16. Reaching the end of our interview, what would you like people to know about longboarding?

A: That it's easier than you might expect. And there's really a lot of fun. Just try it out. If you fail, just continue trying it out until you don't fail, and then you'll notice how much fun it is. That's it.

Make sure to check out Ahmed’s podcast on Instagram at @unc.studios and on YouTube at Uncensored Studios!