Has anyone seen the movie Back to the Future? That one scene where Marty Mc Fly goes around on a ‘hoverboard’ being chased by bullies set in the future. Yep! that one scene made gave us millennials our first exposure to the sport- skateboarding and longboarding. Frankly speaking I thought that by the time its 2020 we would be ‘hoverboarding’ ourselves to work but guess that ain’t happening pretty soon. But what does Back to the Future, the Olympics 2024 in Tokyo and children in a tribal village in Janwaar, Madhya Pradesh have in common? Well read on to find out our coverage of Longboard Crew India (no that’s not boatload of Vikings) and how board sports like longboarding and skateboarding are giving a hope to thousands of youngsters to turn into professional extreme sports athletes and starting a movement of unity, peace and prosperity which is uniting the world.
Although it’s existed since the 70s, long boarding is a relatively young sport even internationally. ‘What started out as people drilling holes and attaching wheels into surfboards sparked off a revolution across the San Francisco bay area now, India doesn’t have much of a history when it comes to longboarding or skateboarding but what got me involved was this film called ‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’ it really influenced me and that’s how I started longboarding on the streets of Mumbai. “I had no effing clue about what I was doing bro, but yeah! then I gradually met Boris and we slowly started out as a crew,” says Nikhil Bhosale, founding member of Longboard Crew India(LCI). The sport is currently enjoying a massive fan following, especially amongst youth thanks to social media and the internet which is a longboarder’s best friend. The community lives online and establishes contact with extreme sports fraternities across the world without the barriers of red tape and policing. A good example of it cited by LCI-Manipur chapter’s member John Oinam- “You would be surprised to know that Xavia racing an exclusive biking apparel manufacturer based in Pakistan helped us here in India by giving out freebies like gloves and pants when we organised a boarding event in the North East,” says, the tall and lanky John Oinam. New longboarding videos appear on Youtube daily and new online forums and groups spring up constantly which are a source of constant motivation for people interested in this sport.
In India longboarding has come onto the scene thanks to people like Nikhil Bhosale, Boris Nongthomba, Mingkhwa Chang and a few other guys and gals who started giving it a try using a basic board that they got their hands on during the time. “We used to conduct weekly Sunday sessions in Mumbai that gave an opportunity to a lot of other people around our area to come and join the team. 15th November 2013 is the official date when LCI was formed. Gradually a lot of guys along with a few girls started joining it and attending the sessions regularly,” says Boris Nongthomba, founding member of LongBoard Crew India who was recently in Odisha for shooting a promotional video.
The founding members are a mixed lot who are diverse in nature both in skill sets and also in ethnicity. Historically long board crews across the world have members who are someone else in their normal life but are bound by the ‘adrenaline rush’ of boarding. “See our crew members are an eclectic mix, Nikhil is 35 year old, a former skateboard trainer working for Quiksilver, he quit his job and started trying out longboarding and ramp skating. He is also the lead guitarist of the Mumbai based rock band Guns Reloaded. Boris Nongthomba who is from Manipur is an adventure sports person who is also a student activist. Mingkhwa Chang is 40 year old dentist, biker, a father of 2 girls from Mumbai, 13 years and 15 years daughters who are interestingly a part of the LCI team.” Says John Oinam, oh! we forgot to mention that he is also trying to found a New Delhi chapter of LCI while pursuing his Political Science degree at Delhi University.
What started out as a trend to cool and wow people longboarding is slowly but surely taking shape in India as a ‘big deal’ (We hope our rapper friend down in Bangalore takes note of this and does a video featuring longboarders. Will he or won’t he? Well time will tell). Coming back to the point as longboarding takes serious shape in India there has been some good news with regards to the sport of late. If you dear reader have gone through the news off late the 2022 Tokyo Olympics will officially introduce skateboarding (which is basically a shorter board) as an Olympic sport. Yes, folks you heard that right. “See India is dominated by cricket and in this scenario a lot of other sports get ignored because the money is channeled into Cricket. Talent which otherwise could have been a great board sportsperson just erodes away. But finally with such a move the worldwide community of longboarding does have a fair chance and its place under the sun. We are working towards a federation. Probably, we may not field a team in 2022 from India but hey, at least we have got the movement going man.” Says an upbeat Boris Nongthomba while sipping chai at ‘Khana cha dokan’ in Saheed Nagar all the while cursing the rain. Trust us when we say this he cusses like a gatling gun on overdrive.
Jokes apart, “Longboarding and skateboarding has been an inclusive sport where women have been always a part of ‘trailing, bailing and radical power slides. It is one of those new sports to have started in the 20th century which has an equal representation of women and men.” Says the one of the core members of LCI, Basica Salam.
“Longboarding is also something which can inspire people and that too at many levels. Especially when it come to kids getting education just like in the Janwaar skate park in Madhya Pradesh where tribal kids are exposed to longboarding as a sport and that is the single most reason why school dropout ratio has declined over the years. The kids attend classes in lieu of getting their shot at the skate park and it has a girls’ first policy. The sport is safe if you wear protective gear and it promotes a sense of safety and security amongst children and when you soar on the board it instills you with confidence and positive energy. Secondly, on an environmental level longboarding is eco-friendly and in our car dominated roads longboarding can actually be a good alternative even for public transport like the way you we use a cycle sharing program. Why not? Just think it’s about something which can really be of use in cities like Delhi, Mumbai or even in Bhubaneswar whose terrain is ideal for longboarding.’ Says Nikhil Bhosale.
On a final note- “Talking about Bhubaneswar and Odisha bro I think Odisha has a huge scope in longboarding. You have great roads and amazing places where you can longboard and through this article we would like to ask people out there in Odisha that if you are interested then LCI would really like to come up with a Bhubaneswar chapter very soon,” adds Boris Nongthomba.
With that, we at Coffee Bytes would like to see that this new Olympic Sport takes root in our state and we really look forward to a crew coming up here in Bhubaneswar. Corporate support for such new sports is necessary as it would also help corporates reach a bigger audience across the country, so we with our fingers crossed wait for the powerslides to begin in Bhubaneswar. Who knows when India hosts the Olympics one day we could have Bhubaneswar as a longboarding venue.