With cigarette in mouth, Brandon Pringle patiently waits for cars to clear at the top of a local hill. His curly black hair is pushed back, replaced by his full-faced helmet. Four yellow wheels finally meet the pavement; Pringle sets his feet. Zoom. Like a kid going down a jungle gym slide, Pringle seemed to be overwhelmed by joy, never acknowledging the ever-present danger of falling.
Pringle, a student at Potomac State College, has an unusual way of entertaining himself in this small mountain town –longboarding.
“A longboard is essentially a skateboard but larger and built for stability,” Pringle said.
Pringle races down hills at upwards of 50 miles an hour, geared with a helmet, gloves, and pads on top of his longboard. To most this would not be a good idea; however, Pringle can’t help himself.
“I am out there whenever I can be. Everyday problems disappear for the time I share with the road,” said Pringle after returning up the hill.
Pringle explained that he understood the dangers of his sport, just as a football player would understand the dangers of concussions.
“Never trade the thrills of living for the security of existence,” Pringle said.
Those “thrills of living” would be described by police as “obstructing traffic.” A $200 traffic ticket is issued to skaters.
“Those of us just having a good time usually get left alone; it’s the ones running stop signs and skitching on the back of moving cars that find a ticket,” Pringle said.
However, tickets don’t seem to be stopping Pringle from skating down hills, especially the one by the police station–his personal favorite.