Skateboarding and longboard dancing explained by Kent State students

Cameron Shank, a 21-year-old senior construction management student at Kent State, doing a hand trick called the Tiger Claw.

Cameron Shank, a 21-year-old senior construction management student at Kent State, doing a hand trick called the Tiger Claw.

Liam Morrison


Wheels cruise on the pavement of campus along with the sound of a pop of a board in the effort of someone trying to do something spectacular. Another flies by on a longer type of board as they walk up and down the board in a fluent motion before hitting a trick. Whether it’s skateboarding, longboarding or any of the other types of skating, people find solace in these activities.


A skateboard is a shortboard mounted on small wheels that are used for coasting and for performing athletic stunts. A longboard is longer than the conventional skateboard, varying in different sizes and shapes.  


Trent Scheller, a 22-year-old senior at Kent State who is an architecture major, has been skating since elementary school. 


“I started when I was younger from like third or fourth grade,” Scheller said. “I had like a crappy Walmart board, but I really started freshman year of college.”


It was not until his freshman year of college that he got his first board from a skate shop, along with trucks and bearings. Skate bearings are the small circular devices that allow your wheels to roll, and trucks are the T-shaped turn parts found under the deck with wheels attached. 


Scheller first wanted to get a skateboard to get to classes, but he only started practicing tricks when he got to college. 


He said he started getting into doing tricks due to “a lot of heartbreak” and “needing to fill a void.” 


When Scheller was a freshman at Kent State, he explained that he had gotten out of a three-year relationship and had just gotten to college with a lot of time on his hands. 


“That’s when I ramped up on skateboarding, and it just filled the void,” he added. “For when I had time on my hands and when I didn’t want to think about stuff, I just went skating.” 


Scheller enjoys skating because it is a “very progressive sport,” he said. 


“You get better every time you go out and that’s a very enjoyable feeling, like just getting that accomplishment that you’ve succeeded or progressed,” he said. “I think that’s what keeps me going.”


Another variation of skating is longboarding or longboard dancing. Kent State has its share of longboard dancers. 


Longboards were made to mimic surfing and snowboarding, versus a skateboard, which is used for more flip tricks. Longboard dancing is still fairly new, and people are still making new tricks for this. Some people can even do flip tricks on longboards. 


Cameron Shank, a 21-year-old senior majoring in construction management, has been skating since the fourth grade. He picked up longboard dancing when he started at Kent State because he saw Longboard Jesus doing it. Longboard Jesus is a rider who does longboard dancing around campus from time to time and has sparked people from picking up the sport.


“One day, I just decided, I love longboarding,” Shank said. “I was always longboarding at Kent, and I wanted to figure out how he (Longboard Jesus) was doing these moves. So, I bought a board and started teaching myself.” 


Shank eventually met Longboard Jesus, and he started helping him learn some moves. 


“I really like doing it just because it’s fun to just grab a speaker and toss on some music and try to work on dance lines,” Shank said.     


Aaron Milliren, a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in visual communication design at Kent State, has been on a board throughout his life. He picked up longboard dancing his freshman year of college. 


“Back home I have a unicycle, a pro scooter, two longboards [and] a shortboard (skateboard),” Milliren said. “So I have been on boards, bikes, scooters [and] unicycles for a very long time, but longboard dancing, specifically, probably like just a little over a year.”  


Milliren added that longboard dancing helps him get outside and stay active


“And I don’t have to walk past people because walking is overrated,” Milliren said. 


There have been some issues with skaters at Kent State in the past but not a lot. Assistant Chief of Police at the Kent State University Police Services, Bill Buckbee, has not had many problems with riders.  


“I have been here a long time, so you know my history goes back quite a bit,” Buckbee said. “So there have been some issues here and there, but I wouldn’t say it’s a common one.”


The biggest concern is property damage. There have been some instances of chipped masonry. 


Buckbee said that there was also some damage caused to the May 4 Memorial a couple years ago.


“That hasn’t been a problem for some time, but there is a university policy about skateboards, rollerblades, bikes and similar things on campus,” Buckbee said. 


Kent State has two policies that relate to skating on campus, an administrative policy and an operational policy.   


The administrative policy explains that skateboards, rollerblades and bicycles can provide a recreational outlet and a convenient and economic method of traveling across an expansive campus. It also explains people need to operate these in a proper manner and have regard for pedestrians.


The operational policy talks more about being safe when traveling on campus and watching out for pedestrians. 


The only places based on the university policy where skateboards are prohibited are Risman Plaza and inside buildings. 


“My general opinion is that, anywhere from five to 10 years ago, there were a lot of problems, … but since that time it just seems like you know, they’re pretty well-tolerated,” Buckbee said. 


Scheller, the senior who skateboards, advises people who want to get started with skateboarding to “just do it.” When he was first starting out, he said he used to be anxious about people making fun of him.  


“I think you kind of just need to get over that and do it because it is enjoyable,” he said. “It’s like exercise, so, like you’re working out, you’re getting better.”  


He also urges people to progess and to go at their own pace when practicing because everybody progresses differently. 


The longboarders advise people who want to get started to just get a board. 


Milliren said that getting on the board is the start to it all. 


Shank said he started practicing dance steps in his room without any wheels attached, just the deck on his floor. 


“It just needs time just like anything else, and some people pick it up really, really quick,” Shank said. 


 Liam Morrison is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].