So much more than ‘a bit of boarding’

‘All of my friends come from longboard communities’

Students Manon and Simone erected longboard community Zwolv last month. The community in Zwolle is growing rapidly.

Longboard games, tricks, and Frankfurters: the parking lot underneath the X-building was a playground to the newly founded longboard community Zwolv on Sunday, January 15. This community was erected by students Manon Hessels (22), Simone Haverkate (26) and three fellow longboarders. They wanted a strong fundament for the new generation of longboarders from Zwolle. The start-up event was incredibly much fun, Manon says, who is a fourth-year Journalism student: “I spent the entire day walking around with the biggest smile on my face, that is how proud I was of the result. We organised three longboard games, like a race through the parking lot: you had to do all sorts of assignments in a team, like bringing a cup of beer to the jury as fast as possible. It is quite difficult when you are boarding!”


Dancing on a board
Longboarding is similar to skateboarding, but it is a very different discipline, according to Manon: “A skateboard is shorter in length and you mostly pull blunt tricks with it. Making distances is difficult: you kick off three times and stand still again after only ten metres. And if I ride over a small pebble, I am flat on my face!”

Simone, fourth-year Cultural and Social Development student: “A longboard is built for long distances, a little bump will not change all that much.”

However, what Manon really likes to do with a longboard, is dancing: performing dance moves on a rolling board. Yet you can perform more extreme stunts with a longboard. Simone: “I know a guy who boards down a mountain with 80 kilometres per hour and a motor suit on. No, thank you, not me!”


Great transformation
To Simone and Manon longboarding is so much more than ‘just a bit of boarding’. Manon bought her first longboard four years ago. “I wanted a board much longer than that, but in the village where I lived there were only brick roads and that does not board well. So, when I came to live in Zwolle I went to the former board shop The Boardfather. I felt at home right away. The longboard community is beautiful. Longboarders all have the same views in life: they are creative, enterprising and they give each other attention. My entire social circle stems directly and indirectly from this community!” Simone: “When I am travelling I look for longboarders. Through the international longboard group on Couch Surfing you always find someone to hang out with or to sleep at. That is how I boarded with a group of longboarders through Paris in the middle of the night. We had the city to ourselves, delightful!”

Manon found a lot of support in the community when she came to live in Zwolle. “I was new here, did not know anyone and I did not have an easy time at home. I had lost two relatives in a very short time. I had the opportunity to be myself in the community and if I did stupid things, like partying or smoking weed, the others talked to me and helped me get on the right track again. I now realise that it was flight behaviour and it is okay to stand still every now and then. I recognise the flight behaviour in the younger people, too.”  Simone: “We see people come in incredibly insecure, then they slowly bloom and undergo a tremendous transformation. It is really cool to see!”


More and more boarders
The need to erect a longboard association was brought up because of the growth of the community in Zwolle in the last few years. Simone is the initiator of the weekly longboard meet ups “Zwolle Rolle’, which is now also a part of Zwolv. “We board together every Wednesday evening, but the group has become so big that it would be irresponsible to board along cars. So, we are not welcome anymore in most parking lots,” she says. Manon: “We would love to have a regular indoor location where we could board with bad weather. As an association, you can get in touch with people more easily who could fix that for us. The parking lot underneath the X-building is perfect: we even had access to the toilets and electricity!”

An association offers more practical benefits. Simone: “It gives us structure. This way we can delegate tasks more easily. We both really want to travel. We could easily go away for a few months without the community collapsing. But the most important reason to erect Zwolv is to be stronger as a community and to have a strong foundation for the new generation. We hope that they look back in six years with the same satisfaction and gratitude!”


Janine Sterenborg.


Do you want to longboard?
Do you want to be a part of association Zwolv? You can sign up at As a member, you can partake in workshops in a discipline, such as long board dancing or freestyling, for free. As part of the community spirit, Simone and Manon expect a workshop to be ended with a pub visit or a BBQ in the park! Apart from that, there are touring trips planned. A membership for Zwolv costs 15 Euros a year.


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