Longboard Club Presidency by Caitlin Yong
Hey Caitlin! From what I can tell, you’ve been doing a lot of work in your neck of the woods for longboarding, and I think you’ve got some relevant information to share with the college age skaters. I know you’re headed on to other locales, but I’d like to catch up with you on what you’ve been doing with your time at college.
Daisy: Where do you go to school, what for, and how long have you been involved with the longboarding club?
Cailtin: I go to school at Purdue University and I will be graduating in May 2013 with a degree in Natural resources and Environmental studies with a minor in Biology. I have been involved with the Purdue longboarding club from the start of it since I founded the club with Eric Davis.
D: What “role” do you play for the club, and how many other leaders are there?
C: I am the co-founder of the Purdue longboarding club and I was previously President and Vice president of the club. I passed down the presidency my last semester of college since I did not have enough time for studying, traveling and planning events for the club. Therefore, right now I am just acting as a moderator for the club to help keep the PLC going after I graduate.
For the spring 2013 semester we have Bryce Edwards from Sun Valley sports as the president, Stephen McCune from The Ripple as the vice president, Jake Del Ponte as the event planner, Casey Keyler as publicity and Brandon Manawat as treasurer.
As far as members go, have you seen the numbers fluctuate to sessions and events?
Yes, it has been amazing watching the numbers grow at the PLC events. We probably started with 15-25 people at our first callout and at our most recent callout we had about 50 people which is tremendous.
At events we get a lot of people from the Indianapolis longboarding group, IU club, Chicago longboarding society, and even skaters from the Michigan downhill crew.
Fall Callout 2010 vs Fall Callout 2012
Does your school recognize longboarding as an official club?
Yep, Purdue University recognizes the PLC as an official club. We are very lucky to have the support of our university to host a club that lets us meet fellow student skaters and share our love of skating to the rest of the campus.
What effort did you and your peers have to put forth in order to obtain that status, and what do you do to maintain it?
Eric Davis and I had to write up a club constitution that was approved by administrators at Purdue University. Also, the university asks us to choose a Purdue facility member to be our club counselor. We chose my biology counselor Gabe Bryant to be it since he loves to skate and showed an interest about helping us get the club accepted by the university. Now that our club is recognized by the university, to keep active status our executive board submits election reports to the administrators.
Do you work solely with Purdue Longboard club or are there other groups you’re involved with as well?
I work with other skate groups around the mid west like the Indiana University club made by Max Vickers and the Indianapolis longboarding group made by Garrett Wilson. The mid west longboarding scene is fairly young so we organize a lot of skate sessions and competitions to stoke up the skaters here.
How many events have you helped organize?
Too many. Just kidding. I’ve probably hosted more than 10 events. It takes a lot of work and makes you extremely stressed but, it is all worth it at the end.
What are 3 “musts” when planning a skate event?
2. A ton of prizes
3. An epic event flyer
Those are three “musts” because a lot of people do not show up to events if it is poorly organized and super chaotic in a bad way. I have been to a few events where no one knows what is going on. Usually, the police show up to close the whole thing down and when we turn to the event organizers, they don’t have a backup hill.
Another thing is most people do not show up to skate events if there are not a lot of prizes up for grabs. Of course people attend events to skate with a great community of riders but prizes gives them a greater incentive to travel the distance to get to some events. From hosting past events I realized when I had more sponsors on the event flyer, more people from out of town would take the great migration to compete. I love when we bring out the prizes for the podium at the end of the race, all the skaters gather around drooling and yelling to their friends to check out that sweet deck. Getting certain products from skate compa
nies to show the mid west scene what quality gear that is on the market provides a greater stoke. It really helps to publicize the sponsors because we don’t have a great local skate shop we can walk in and see every board of 2013. Most of the Purdue Longboarding Club members purchase their gear through online stores like Action Board Sports,Edge Board shop, and etc. because most college students do not own cars on campus. Therefore, it is awesome for club members to get their hands on skate gear from all kinds of different companies. Since, you can never really know a board til you see it in person and get a feel of the concave.
Lastly, the event flyer is crucial to the success of the event in my opinion.
A well made event flyer that looks like a graphic design student created it makes the event look official. Janky flyers that are black and white or poorly done through paint makes an event look unorganized, unofficial and a potential fallout.
How do you go about getting sponsors for events?
I send event proposals to the skate companies that would think is well suited to sponsor the event. Usually the event proposal states the date of the event, outlaw or sanctioned information, estimated number of people attending, and a brief
description of the event.
What was the most fun event for you as a skater, and what was the event that made you feel most accomplished as an organizer?
The most fun I had at an event I hosted was the Medusa Death race. This race brought out the really committed skaters because it was pouring rain, cold as ice, and sort of miserable but awesome. There was a high energy of stoke in the air and we just had fun with the rain. Sketchy 1v1 races down the wet switchbacks was insane. Probably everyone left with a couple knicks but we all brought home smiles and a great sketchy memories.
The event that made me feel most accomplished as an organizer was the Color the Gnar push race. Personally, I never ever been in a push race and I am really lazy… so I will probably not do one in my lifetime. haha. But, I wanted a race that was beginner friendly to bring everyone together in the beginning of the 2012 school year.
I learned that Push races are horrible to host if your campus has confusing roads and a lot of unavoidable uphill slope. Therefore, before you host an event make sure to extensively plan out and get a lot of volunteers. It is better to over plan then let it all fall apart at the end.
Daisy: That’s all really great advice that can be used to help plan events. What a great reward it must be to see people having fun after all you’ve had to do to make things run as smoothly as possible. Enough about what Caitlin has done for midwest longboarding for now.
What has longboarding done for YOUR college life, and how do you think things would be different if you didn’t skate?
Longboarding has shaped my college life in the greatest possible way. Without creating the Purdue longboarding Club with Eric Davis, I would have never been where I am right now. I have a great skate family at the PLC and through making the club I met two of my good friends Nell Almuete and Max Vickers. My college life would be nothing without longboarding and the PLC. Longboarding has become my life because of it.If I didn’t skate my life would be totally different. I would’ve been in a sorority still paying dues and going to chapter instead of spending my money on skate trips. Skating taught me to always stay true and forget the bullshit. There is no reason to have a front to fit into a community you hate. The skating community accepts everyone’s wacky and weird side. We are all from different professions and social groups but we all have a common passion. It is really amazing what skating can do to your life. I am really happy my dad taught me when I was younger on an old school Hosoi’s hammerhead skateboard. Thanks pops. haha.Do you or have you participated in other sports in your life, and how has skating affected your life differently?From the moment I learned how to walk, sports were always a huge part of my life.My dad taught me how to ski at 3 years old. That is pretty insane looking back at it now. I have been skiing/snowboarding ever since then. I wanted to compete in snowboarding but that dream was quickly shut down when I had a really bad injury from overshooting a kicker.
That snowboarding injury took me away from Soccer for a whole week in high school. One week sounds like nothing but it was everything when I was younger. I was super competitive in club and varsity soccer. I probably practiced more than 9 hours a day. I also ran varsity track and field in high school.Right now on my off time in Boulder, snowboard and lift when I am not skating. Skating is really similar to all the sports I have done in the past.But, with skating I am not as competitive. Maybe that is why I love it so much. From having so much pressure when I was younger to succeed in all the sports I have done, it is nice to take skating at my own pace and to just have fun with it.That is what it’s all about- just having fun.What discipline of skating do you like the best?Right now I really love to hard wheel slide and downhill. The feeling of pulling a ridiculously steezy slide just makes my week. And who doesn’t like to go fast? aha. I can’t wait to get more downhill experience when I move back to the west after graduation!What event are you planning now?Right now I am planning the Spring Shred Slide jam. It is going to be a gnarly slide jam in southern Indiana at the Dam. We have a band playing afterwards at our brown county campout. I can’t wait to get everyone out there shredding and enjoying the Midwest skate lifestyle together. Our sponsors are Action Board Sports, Gunmetal truck MFG, Mue apparel, Globes Sunglasses, Ladera skateboards, Bombsquad longboards, Gravity longboards, and Edge Board shop. So stoked!
What else is happening in the Midwest?
There are plenty of local Midwest races going on right now. Here is a Midwest event calendar done by Action Board Sports:
3/30: MidWest SPRING SHRED Slide Jam (Southern Indiana)
4/6: Gnar-Steeze Relay race and slide jam (Grand Rapids area, MI)
4/7: Action Board Sports Swap Meet & Used Longboard/Skateboard Gear Sale (East Lansing, MI)
4/20: Madness In The Mitten V (Lansing, MI) | Hummel Havoc 2013 (Omaha, NE)
4/28: 1st Annual Rage at The Ridge (Onekama, MI)
5/11: FSU Shred Presents: Fat Rapids River Rush!!!! (Big Rapids, MI)
5/18: Oakland University Skate Jam (Rochester, MI)
6/10: GET RAD OR GET LOST slide jam (IL)
6/15: The Rapid Movement (Grand Rapids, MI)
6/21: Go Skateboarding Day (errywhere)
7/5: Slide for a Cure (Chicagoland, IL)
7/13: TWIN CITIES SLIDE JAM 2013 (Downtown Minneapolis, MN)
Visit their website for a more updated list: http://absboards.com/2013/02/07/midwest-event-calendar-2013-last-updated-27/
Daisy: So rad Caitlin! I’m glad the midwest had you for college, seems like you and longboarding are a good fit for each other. I’m happy to have you back in California for some time. I think we’ve been talking for a good year now. Let’s shred hard before Maryhill.Is there Is there anything else you’d like to say or anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped me with making the Purdue longboarding club a great success. Also, I am so thankful for the huge support from my sponsors Gunmetal trucks, Maxxspeed skateboards, Action board sports, Globes sunglasses and Mue apparel.
Thank you Daisy for interviewing me to get the PLC out there and the event making process open to everyone. I hope to see more girls making clubs at their college and hosting more competitions in the future!
“Do it with passion or not at all.”
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