As spring blooms and the skies clear, more and more students are bringing out their longboards and uniting in The Longboarding Club, or TLC.
TLC is entering its third quarter of existence at Ohio State. Members of the club congregated on the Oval Saturday afternoon for “TLC’s Board Bash,” the first major event the club has hosted since its inception.
Matt Forquer, a first-year in mechanical engineering, said a longboard is longer and heavier than a skateboard. The trucks are wider and looser, the wheels are bigger and the bearings are higher quality. All of these features make a longboard easier to control while riding, Forquer said.
Under a cluster of rain clouds, dozens of boarders carved, slid and rode the sidewalks, surfing the waves of Oval Beach. Two speakers blasting heavy bass beats provided the soundtrack as riders participated in competitions, contests and raffles.
TLC is a student club that Forquer founded Autumn Quarter. Forquer said Saturday’s event was intended to increase awareness and interest in the club.
“The whole thing was to get our name out there,” he said. “Recruiting was the initial goal.”
Throughout the day, people walking by or relaxing in the Oval stopped and observed the action. Each of the competitions had a crowd of about 30 people watching, composed of non-competing club members and spectators.
“Free pizza is always a big draw,” Forquer said.
The Hippie Jump was Forquer’s favorite part of the day, he said. In this event, a person rides toward a rod supported in the air. While moving, the rider jumps over the rod while the board rolls under it, lands back on the board and rides away. Each round, the rod was raised.
“It’s kind of like limbo,” club treasurer Jared Malvic said. “But in the opposite direction.”
Malvic, a first-year in materials science and engineering, said the highest “hippie jumps” were slightly higher than three-and-a-half feet.
“I really liked competing in the Hippie Jump,” Forquer said. “It is more relaxed.”
Forquer said the club was given a $400 budget for the event, most of which was spent on pizza and music. Different board companies donated the accessories and longboards that were given away in the raffles, he said.
Both Forquer and Malvic estimated that about 80 percent of TLC club members showed up throughout the afternoon. Forquer said there are about 100 people on the club’s mailing list. There are 89 people on the club’s Facebook page.
Forquer said in March the club had more than 20 official members. He attributed much of the recent membership increase to the club’s participation in the Spring Involvement Fair.
OSU is not the only campus seeing an increase in longboarding popularity. Last month, the student newspapers at the University of New Hampshire and University of South Florida each had a story about rising longboarding popularity.
Nick Gray, a second-year in marketing and head of media for the club, said longboarding is becoming popular with younger generations.
“We can’t even keep up with the kids,” he said. “There were some kids from Upper Arlington, and they won all of the competitions. They are all better than us.”