Lloyd's New Book

Builders of the Pacific Coast cover
Builders of the Pacific Coast


Sample Chapter
Jan Janzen

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About the Author

Author Book Tour


More Books by Lloyd Kahn

Home Work cover
Home Work:
Handbuilt Shelter


The Septic System Owner's Manual cover
The Septic System Owner's Manual

by Lloyd Kahn
Longboards & Big Sticks

Lloyd on his Loaded Dervish longboard

Started skating at age 65. I saw some longboards and thought I'd try it. My interest was cruising, not tricks. First time out, just about broke a wrist, but I stuck with it.

I'm fairly obsessed. I'm constantly searching for the right downhill slope and smooth pavement. I never did learn to slide, so I have to get off when accelerating beyond the speed of being able to stay upright when bailing. I tried learning to slide; Cliff Coleman worked with me one day in SF, and I got a few tentative slides, but never practiced because I prefer fast, soft wheels.

I've probably had over 20 boards and recently spend most of my time on a Loaded Dervish with Orangutang wheels. It's got a flowing, flexible quality that I love. (Last week Lizzie at The Purple Skunk in SF told me the Dervish is their best-selling board.) The other board I use occasionally is a Landyachtz Evo for bombing.

When you're my age (73), you don't want to fall, but it's inevitable once in a while. Gloves with hard discs on palms are my most important safety gear. Cliff Coleman says, "When you fall, remember four words: Get On Your Hands," meaning let the gloves grind on the asphalt rather than your skin.

The other thing about skating at an advanced age: it's good for your brain to learn a new physical skill when you're old. Usually we stop developing new bodily skills at an early age. Once I start rolling, I have to focus. The two dangers, cars and pavement, make the stakes higher than falling off a surfboard.

I think there's a big untapped group of former skaters. Guys who got married, had kids and a job and quit skating. 40-50-60 year olds. They have the skills (muscle memory). They've forgotten about skating and don't know about technological advances in the last decade or so. I often get a former skater on one of my boards and they're amazed.

Lloyd using his Kahuna Big Stick

Have been using a Kahuna Big Stick on flat areas and slight downslopes and is it fun! Although in Santa Cruz a month ago, was skating along East Cliff Drive, getting thumbs up from surfers, feeling pretty sharp and wham! I was on the ground, the stick had caught a wheel. The first thing I do when falling is take a survey of what's damaged. Secondly I look around to see who saw me fall. Ended up with bruised ribs for 3 weeks. (No one saw me fall!)

I've been a publisher for 37 years. Two main categories: fitness, and building/architecture. I do only a book or two a year, and they are always on subjects that are part of my life. My blog, including adventures and misadventures: