Long days bring out the longboards

Longboarding expert Michael Brooke shows how it's done. (Kristin Eliason/Toronto Observer)
Longboarding expert Michael Brooke shows how it’s done. (Kristin Eliason/Toronto Observer)

With summer well-established, it’s time to review the rules of the road.

Michael Brooke, founder of the magazine Concrete Wave and avid longboarder, took time out from a recent talk with East York college students to give some advice on how to stay street safe aboard longboards — a longer variation of the skateboard.

The most important thing, he said, is to be aware of what’s around you.

“If you’re going to be skating in traffic, you have to use your head,” he said. “Your brain is your most important piece of equipment, so it should be protected.”

Brooke recommending donning a helmet and gloves, while Marcel Dionne, an employee at Roarockit, a local skateboard company, added that beginners should also consider elbow, knee and butt pads.

“All of these things go a long way to helping you avoid road rash,” Dionne said.

Both Brooke and Dionne say that in order to be safe while skateboarding, boarders should have an astute awareness of their environments.

“There are no parks for this kind of thing (or) closed roads that you can really hit. So you really have to be aware of… all kinds of things,” Dionne said, using traffic, pedestrians and animals as examples. “You always have to have a sixth sense about you, especially if you’re riding on roads.”

Being cognizant of the time of day that you’re boarding is also a good idea, according to Dionne. Avoid boarding during rush hour; try going early in the morning or later at night.

As well, Brooke warns boarders to avoid hills that go onto major thoroughfares and to wear proper clothing when boarding at night.

“Skating at night is tough,” he said, “but have something that at least gives you some brightness.”