Longboarding has been gaining steady momentum in Doha among many expatriates and even with some Qataris.
Considered as both a sport and a hobby, longboarding is simply riding a long skateboard for a variety of purposes whether for transportation or as a fun hobby, or for extreme sports like downhill longboarding.
In 2015, a handful of expatriates formed the Doha Longboard Crew (DLC). Its founding members include Filipino chef Alon Arcena Avilla and extreme sports advocates Gustav Brandt from South Africa and Olan Santos from the Philippines.
According to Avilla, DLC’s Facebook group lists some 120 members from India, Syria, Serbia, Italy, Qatar, South Africa, and the Philippines but only around 40 of them regularly ride outdoors.
Initially, Avilla said the group’s hangout was in Aspire Park or at the Museum of Islamic Art Park. But today, Brandt noted that the crew has moved on to other areas around Doha to ride and have fun.
Members of the Doha Longboard Crew and several hobbyists converged at the Hotel Park yesterday for weekly 'freestyle sessions'.
“Today, we are quite a large group; and every time we head out, we spread the word that longboarding is alive in Doha. There are plenty of parks in Doha and new ones are being built.
“We have our very own hill where you can learn to slide and pick up some good speed called ‘Hill 2’ and a ‘fun run’, which consists of a mellow slope with a few corners situated in Al Markhiya,” Brandt pointed out.
To further promote longboarding in Qatar, Avilla organises a ‘freestyle session’ informally called ‘Longboard Skate Clinic’ every Friday at the Hotel Park where people can meet new friends while learning how to ride the longboard.
“These ‘sessions’ are open to everyone and the longboarding lessons are free. Aside from meeting new friends, we would like people to know that longboarding is for everyone; but the main objective of this activity is to encourage children and other people to sport an active and healthy lifestyle,” Avilla stressed.
Most parks in Doha have become regular venues for longboarding, which is a growing sport and hobby among expatriates and Qataris.
Brandt added: “Well if the ‘bug bites’, kids will be wanting to be more on the board and out in the open carving the sidewalks rather than being stuck on their gadgets and online games.
“Unfortunately it does get hot and humid in Doha, so outdoor activities are limited, but from my experience, you tend to go online and search tutorials and inspiration from longboarding videos.”
Aside from physical activity, Brandt said longboarding will also help kids meet new friends and experience different cultures.
“They will also learn how to be vigilant of their surroundings, especially when on the board. Longboarding will also teach children the value of commitment, dedication, and responsibility from basic things like looking after their board or keeping their wheels and bearings clean for the next session,” Brandt said.
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