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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    AZ Push, Tucson’s longboarding club, is bombing a hill near you (video)

    Noelle+R.+Haro-Gomez%2FArizona+Daily+Star%0A%0AZane+Franz%2C+member+of+AZ+Push%2C+rides+his+longboard+by+the+UA+Main+Library.++Franz+is+a+sophomore+at+Mountain+View+High+School.
    Noelle R. Haro-Gomez/Arizona Daily Star Zane Franz, member of AZ Push, rides his longboard by the UA Main Library. Franz is a sophomore at Mountain View High School.

    Millions of brave souls regularly step onto those planks of wood with wheels and a basic turning system called skateboards. Hundreds of skateboarders exist on campus — and there’s a club just for them.

    The only requirements to join are a board, a helmet and paid dues.

    Longboarders aren’t just a nuisance for pedestrians. AZ Push is a longboarding and skateboarding club founded by club president Andrew Alejandre and treasurer Raymond Robinson. In an interview with the Daily Wildcat earlier this year, Robinson explained that he and Alejandre started the club in the summer of 2010, replacing an unofficial club.

    The idea was conceived during a 130-mile trip through California with nothing but longboards and backpacks.

    Currently, the club is working on representing itself on campus.

    “Right now, we’re just concentrating on getting shirts and getting a banner out,” Robinson says. “Those things were on our agenda (last year) and we never got it done. We were on the Mall (on Monday) advertising for our club, and we had a notebook with a paper sticking out, with ‘Longboard Club’ written on it.”

    But it’s not like the club isn’t hooked up. It’s working on acquiring multiple sponsorships and already has one sponsorship from local skate shop Starr Skates. According to Robinson, Sector 9 Longboards sent AZ Push 10 longboards to be used for a mentorship program in which riders volunteer to teach kids of all ages to skate safely.

    “We’re not going to put an age limit on it,” Robinson says. “If you’re 20 and you want to learn how to skateboard … we’re not prejudiced.”

    With more than 100 members on the club’s Facebook page, chances are if you know a skateboarder, you know someone from AZ Push. People of all backgrounds are welcome – you don’t even need to be a UA student to join the club.

    Enes Zekic, a Tucson local, joined AZ Push one year ago when his friends invited him to check out the scene.
    “It’s one of those sports you can’t really regulate,” Zekic says of skateboarding. “There are so many different facets of it, everybody likes to do a different thing on their board. It’s mostly a way for people to escape and express themselves in a non-traditional kind of way.”

    According to Zekic, the longboarding scene in Arizona is growing. He said pedestrians should treat skateboarders just like bikers.

    “(Skateboarders) are in control. Don’t be worried for them,” he says.

    Even so, Alejandre always emphasizes the importance of safety, especially for downhill riders. During a race earlier this year, several riders experienced road-rash, though Alejandre explained that serious injuries are rare in the club.

    “I don’t suggest people going out there and skating it with no safety gear,” Alejandre warns about a popular downhill road. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be out there. It’s not safe.”

    If you want to learn how to ride safely and get some new tricks down on your board, roll on down to the front of the Nugent Building at 8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Someone there will gladly teach you everything you need to know.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Greg @Philoboarder43.

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