Shreddin’ the streets of West Linn

You can hear Jeff Lofurno, junior, long before you can see him. And when you do see him, it’s not for very long. Lofurno flies past on his longboard at speeds of at least 30 miles per hour, weaving around cars and people, with the grind of wheels on asphalt fading in the distance.

Lofurno didn’t start his longboarding days until eighth grade when he first owned his board.

“My first board was called a sector nine super shaka and was flexible, long and symmetrical,” Lofurno said. This board wasn’t equipped for high performance as more flexibility and length limit chances to go faster. “I currently ride what’s called an Original Arbiter which is very stiff and much shorter.”

Lofurno’s inspirations to longboard started when a friend convinced him to design one in woodshop class when Lofurno attended school in Wash.

“Once I saw YouTube videos of the cool stuff you can do on them, I got very interested,” Lofurno said. The biggest difference between longboards and skateboards is the elongated shape of a longboard. They offer more control and stability when cruising, downhill riding, and even slaloming. With skateboarding dominating the history of the two, longboarding did not become very popular until the 90’s. In the past few years, longboarding has taken the drivers seat of popularity away from skateboarding.

While longboarding may seem like a leisurely way to travel, for Lofurno the art of speed is one he tries to master every day. He can be seen in elbow pads, knee pads, and yes, a helmet. Lofurno takes safety very seriously saying, “it only takes one kid not wearing a helmet and getting hurt to make the rest of us look bad. Always wear a helmet.”

When Lofurno is on his longboard he always tries to push himself to go faster and faster because he knows that’s what is most most difficult for him. Downhilling is a category of longboarding where the goal is not tricks, but speed.

“It’s difficult to tell yourself to go faster when at 45 miles per hour and up the slightest loss of balance can lead to total loss of control,” Lofurno said.

Many longboarders receive a bad rap from people as they seem to be rebels and lunatics. In fact, none of this is true.

“What many people don’t know is that we are in total control and can handle ourselves with other cars on the road,” Lofurno said.

Like any sport, longboarding has many technical difficulties. The ability to be in complete control of something rocketing down a hill at over 50 mph is not a skill very many people have. Whether it be balance, weight distribution, or calculated smooth movements, there is a lot to learn for any new longboarder.

“You need to know how to stop, kick the board out into a drift to create friction that eventually takes you to a stop,” Lofurno said. “Believe it or not, you need to know how to fall.”

As many young athletes do, Lofurno looks up to two boarders in Alex Tongue, downhill rider, and Liam Morgan, freerider. When talking about Tongue, Lofurno said he’s “inspired me because he is faster than most racers and looks good doing it and I always try to mirror him.” Morgan on the other hand, inspires Lofurno because he has the guts he has to do slides at speeds many people wouldn’t even consider.

“He inspires me to get out of my comfort zone and push myself,” he said

The amount of skill and the hours of time spent to improving defy social norms. Lofurno posts videos of himself longboarding on YouTube that can be seen under the username: longboarderjefafa