Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dude, this is going to be Awesome!

Kenton Durfee
From Kenton: Team Member Two From Mesa Arizona

I’m terrible at blogging, just throwing that out there… My name is Kenton, and I’m stoked to be posting to you today. I guess that’s what Family does for you, they make you better or worse. Alright so a little background on me, I have been Longboarding for years… gosh… since I was 12. The riding on the board actually came and went for me. I don’t know how it actually went down. Somehow this longboard showed at my house. I think it was my dad’s… anyways I stepped on the thing. It rode like a dream, the wheels were so smooth, and the board was stable. I could cut and curve, speed up or slow down. It’s all I needed. It’s like someone had given me my driver’s license, and a set of car keys.

From then on I was hooked, it doesn’t help that Mason came around one summer and we longboarded the whole time. The streets in my neighborhood were just repaved and it felt like riding on glass. I would compare this to riding a wake board early in the morning when the water is completely smooth, or ice skating on a clean sheet of ice, or even for those of you who have done this, running around your house sliding on carpet or socks on a wood floor. It’s amazing, for those of you who are beginning or even moderately good, I would highly recommend finding a newly finished road and just coasting. Enjoy your ride!

Longboarding Adventure
So if you want to know what I was like growing up, I was the type of kid who ate basically anything. I didn’t really taste it I just put it in my mouth. The flavor didn’t matter much but a full belly did. One of my fondest memories started around midnight, after I had been out with my friends. I had a strong craving for waffles… but eating by myself sounded really boring. So I woke my sister up to come eat with me. The next thing I know it we were having a wonderful time in the kitchen. We must have been loud because our dad showed up. He asked us what we were doing and sat down. He probably could smell the waffles in his room and just wanted some. Needed an excuse or something, anyways so all three of us feasted on Belgian waffles. Definitely one of those family bonding moments. And that’s who I am. And that’s my family.

Yeah so right now in my life I am going to college, working for a construction company and trying to figure out what I’m going to do with myself. I am currently living in my sister basement. Embarrassing but sweet. I have my own room, a place in the closet for my longboard, and a space in the fridge. So this is going to be an adventure. I am excited to longboard with Mason and to do something good by helping the children in Romania. I’ve got months of preparation and a cousin who is totally fired up about all this. I’ll be posting again soon. See you guys!

Kenton 9/27/2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Don't Forget!

Don't forget about the Bridge of Love's fundraising 5K, Dracula's Dash for Hope. It's coming up this October 13. You can register here for the event. Its a really fun race and a great family friendly event. This helps to raise money to help the to assist abandoned children, teens and young adults in Romania. This is the organization I am doing my longboarding trip for on April 29th. They are wonderful people who are doing a wonderful thing, and it is wonderful that they have these events so we can help out.

The kids race will begin at 8:30 am. There will be refreshments, medals and prizes. Costumes are encouraged but not required. The 5k is $25 through Oct. 1st or $35 after. The kids race is $10. Come and have some fun, get a workout, and do something great for children who need our help. 
Kids race and a larger 5K

Fun activities

Friday, September 21, 2012

Shoes: Experiment Number 1

What shoes to wear?  Thats something I've been wondering about as I train. To be perfectly honest I've never really had nice skateshoes. I figure, why do I want to buy something that I'm just going to quickly trash. I usually just buy a pair that fits nice from a thrift store. My last pair were given to me by my brother. Just a no-name brand pair.  They have been working pretty well.

When you're boarding you want a pair of shoes that has good grip. A good sole is important too because of footbraking. As you can tell from my pair, they are terribly worn down from braking. You can plainly see that I need a new pair of shoes. I also need to learn how to footbrake with my left foot too. That will double the life of my shoes.

The sad effects of footbraking.
My last pair of shoes.
Just a no name brand. They worked
well though.

Skate shoes are great for normal skating. For distance-skating thought, they are no bueno. They're too heavy. Have you ever heard the old hiking adage that a pound off your shoes is equal to five off your back? Skate shoes don't breathe at all. They are thick, they're padded, they're comfortable, but your feet roast in the summer heat. They also have practically no support. I need shoes that are breathable, light, Good support, with a tough sole.

I'm going to be experimenting with different types of shoes leading up to the trip. My recent pair is everything I've decided I need. I bought a shoe/sandal hiking shoes on sale, perfect for me to trash on my board. Here is a picture below.

As you can see these are very breathable, it is covered in holes. It is very light which helps a lot, especially for my knees. With a heavy skate shoe on the end of my leg it put a lot of strain on my joints when I would swing my foot to push. It is also interesting to ride with a hiking shoe sole as shown below.

The sole is tough. It provides a lot of forward push because hiking shoes get tons of traction. There is a thin layer of rubber though and then some softer material that the road will eat right up. I hope the rubber lasts for a while, or I'll be doing Shoes: Experiment #2 soon. I really do enjoy these quite a lot. I used them for my 6:00 am ride this morning and they are really nice.

Well, time to get out and trash them.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Longboarding Basics

My Physics Proffessor and I
I've had the chance to go longboarding with  some friends of mine recently. Most of them have either no experience or very little experiene longboarding. Each time I've assured them that I'll help them figure it out. That has been harder than I thought it would be.

Now is is no fault of my friends, the problem lies with the teacher. I've been longboarding for eight years now, and thats only part of my board sports. Snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, I even tried mountainboarding for a few months. I have found that, like my Physics 105 professor who is thinking far above the beginner student mind, the material has become second nature to me, a part of me. I have a hard time believing someone cannot simply stand on a longboard without falling down.

A moving sidewalk. Which does not usually change
speed or pitch to the left and right.
"Pretend like you're just standing on the ground," I told my friend about the longboard, "except the ground is moving and tilting. Like a dynamic moving sidewalk." "Mason," He replied, "that doesn't make any sense." and to my surprise it hit me that something that made so much sense to me, was in reality, complete gibberish.

Therefore, I have decided to begin posts about Longboarding helps. Things I wished I had known back when I was kicking my wheels as I pushed, losing my balance all the time, or wondering, as I was shooting down a hill which was far beyond my skill level, where on earth the brakes are. Well, lets start at the beginning .

What is a longboard?
A longboard is basically a glorified piece of wood (the deck) attached to two metal pivots (the trucks) which are attached to wheels. Between the wheels and the trucks are what we call the bearings, these are little metal rings within which are small metal spheres. This is what allows the wheels to spin. There are many different kinds of boards created for many situations, but I'll cover that later. 

This is your basic Sector 9 cruising longboard. About 46" long. Kicktail, camber, etc.

How to ride a longboard?
In an earlier post I explained how to find out your "footedness". Once you have determined this you are ready to ride.  I would begin on a small hill. Walk to a safe distance and step onto the board. Ride down and practice turning. This is done by learning on way or the other, toeside and heelside. Once you feel comfortable with this you can now begin pushing.
Longboarders on a slow hill in
Provo Canyon

Take your front foot and either leave it sideways or turn your toes to face the front of the board, whichever is most comfortable. Now, take your back foot and push off the ground with it(this can be done in reverse with the back food on the board and the front foot kicking. It is known as "mongo"). Remember that your weight should resting on the foot that stays on the board. Try not to shift your weight too much towards your kicking foot. This may cause the board to get ahead of you which will cause you to fall backwards. 

Really the most important thing is to stay loose, bend your knees. Don't think about it too much. Viktor Frankl calls this hyper-reflection which means, thinking too much about it distracts you from letting it happen. Just have fun. Don't worry what everyone else thinks. Don't bother yourself if anyone is better than you, they had to start from zero once too and they have the scars to prove it. Also, if you fall down, get back up and try again(unless it is physically impossible for you to get up. In which case I would have you or your friends call 911 and once you are healed I would get back on the horse and try again as a wiser, smarter rider), MOST IMPORTANT, wear a helmet, please.

Well, have fun. At a later date I'll post about different types of boards, how to stop, how to change your bearings and other neccesary information. Until then, have fun riding. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Farewell Roxanne

This long trip is going to need a lot of equipment. Backpacks, tents, low-riding longboards, etc. Sometime soon I'll post a list of everything I'm taking with me. A lot of these things are expensive. In preparation for my trip I have been liquidating my boards for additional funds (speaking of which, if anyone is looking for a good mountainboard I'm trying to get rid of mine). I don't need three boards, I just need one. Just a few days ago I sold one of my longboards to a friend. This wasn't just any board, it was my very first longboard I ever had.

My first board was a Krown. Krown is not a high end longboard company by any means, but it is a perfect beginners board, especially for the price. Her name was Roxane, I don't know if I got that from Cyrano de Bergerac or the song by the Police but it just seemed to fit. I had Roxanne for years and years. The nose of the board was chipped from when I hit a car, the flat deck was a little warped, but I loved her still.

I never spent time with Roxanne except for carving down big hills, like I said, Krown is a good beginner board and I have since moved on, so she spent a lot of time on a shelf. That is why I am happy to see her go. My friend is just getting into longboarding and Roxanne is the perfect beginners board.

But still...I'm sad to see her go.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do What You Love, For What You Love

Oradea. I lived here for six months of my two years
School has started and I'm quite enjoying it. My classes are a lot of fun and so are the people I'm with. I'm really grateful for my opportunity to gain an education and better my own life. To be honest I feel like I've lived a charmed life. This is one reason why I'm so excited for this trip, not just cause longboarding and camping with Kenton will be a blast, but because I feel like its another good opportunity to give back, to give to so many important things in my life.

Romania. I loved my time in Romania. Living there with those great people and talking to them each day. I went to serve them and help how I could, but more than helping them, they helped me. My mission influenced my life and has shaped me to be much of who I am today. I gave two years to be in Romania and I am excited to be able to give more. Especially to help the struggling children in Romania.

Longboarding. I'm happy to be about to promote the sport of longboarding. Board sports are an amazing thing. There are no real teams, no huge clubs, it can be a very solitary thing, but somehow it has become a culture and activity that has grown. It has been a pastime of mine for some years now and I really love it.

I'm happy to be longboarding, or doing something I love, to help Romania, or for something I love.

It is much to vague though to say, "Lets raise money to help Romanian children!" What does that really mean? The Bridge of Love foundation needs a lot of things, but one area we can help is in education for the orphan children. Going from the orphanage to foster homes and entering schools, many of the children struggle and can't get the attention they need. While it is important the help the children to get better care, they also need help getting a chance to succeed in life. Education is where their chance is to improve. Education is yet another thing I love and it is exciting to me that I can help someone get a better education. I've had my help, good teachers, scholarships, and if I can help out in a small but similar way, I fell privileged to be able to do so.

What we are hoping to do is to kick start the tutoring program from the foundation. We are hoping to raise enough funds to hire a tutor for the first year, and from there we can keep it going in other ways. Now, this begs the question, how much does a tutor cost for a year? In the States it's quite a bit of money, but in Romania it isn't that much at all. We have the estimation of $6,000 to hire a tutor for a year. I feel like this is a goal that is within our grasp, if we get enough people, who want to do something, no matter how big or how small, to change the world, to make a difference.