Longboarding With Gideon Yendell
Gideon Yendell took part in the Elite Model Look World Final in 2016, representing the UK. Now a full-time model, he shares his love off the catwalk – longboarding. We talked about the fitness skills you need to ace longboarding, the best places he has ever taken his board, and why he will always have a place in his heart for his hometown Brighton.
How long have you done longboarding?
I’ve always had a longboard in the house for ages, but I have only just got into it seriously about 4 years now. It’s nice because you can just take it anywhere you want. For snowboarding, you have to have snow, surfing you have to have water, but there are hills in almost every town, every city. It’s very nice, you go to a new town you never been before and you try to find the biggest hill!
So do you like finding the biggest hill?
Yes! I like being able to wake up and test myself, trying bigger and bigger every time and then you’ve got sliding lands and stuff. But you also have to be careful. I’ve just got some new kneepads so, because at a couple of castings have been like “you need to be careful” – if I have had a recent fall, they see my scars! But I love adrenalin! The same as rock-climbing.
Why do you prefer longboarding instead of rock climbing?
Yes, because rock climbing takes more effort to organise, you have to get the rope, you have to get a place, you have to be paying, on longboard if you have a nice route, and it’s not like you have to pay to use the road. With longboarding you can just meet people on the way. I went to LA last year, and I was longboarding all around the city and that was so much fun. Just meeting random people was really nice and like an adventure.
What is it like to do longboarding in LA?
That was awesome. Venice Beach is perfect, there is loads of flat and then than hillsIt is actually very hard because there are so much traffic, so you have to really find a good spot. There are many cars going one way and stuff like that. It’s definitely risky but it’s so much fun! And you don’t have to wear a lot of clothes, cos it’s so hot!
How did you get into it at first?
My brother and my friends they were used to skate and I kind of like the idea of skating but skating takes a lot more time and practice. I kind of like the idea that I don’t have to learn. For me, it was funny and really frustrating trying to learn the same trick on a skateboard, but with longboarding I know what I can do and I know my capabilities. I just find it easier than learning tricks, although it’s not just an easy thing, it’s actually kind of a little more complex I think. Well, it’s just cool.
What the challenges are they? How does it gets harder?
The challenge is finding bigger and bigger hills. I went to Montana as well and that was like coming from LA and then in San Francisco I was just “Oh my gosh” like unbelievable. You go on Youtube and you see people going down these massive hills in Montana. So all the time, I’m watching these videos I’m seeing these guys going down these huge hills that just never stop. It’s like snowboarding and the thing I love about longboarding is that it’s not boring. If you become a master in longboarding sport it will carry over to surfing, kiteboarding or snowboarding. If you got one of them, you’ll carry over. So those are just challenge likes trying to find the bigger hills and push yourself to go higher and higher.
Cars are the worst! You want to learn how to get around fast and that could be a bit dangerous because of traffic. Some people on videos just go like, in New-York, down these massive hills and go through streets and red lights, it’s unbelievable. Even talking about that just makes me want to go and get my board!
What fitness skills does it develop?
It’s a good core workout. Rock climbing is even more so, but I’m not very good at rock climbing! Longboarding is more like balance and coordination: if there is a really big hill, you try to walk on the top of the hill and longboard down. Everyone can climb to the top of the hill and then tht’s just about cruising down at your own pace. Yes it just take a little bit of muscle! It helps strengthen your legs as well, of course. It’s much easier to cruise on a longboard, so you can cover much more distance than on a skateboard, and you can go everywhere. If you’re serious, I’d say longboarding is better. Idk, skate is pretty fun as well. It’s a hard decision!
What do you need to get really good at longboarding?
I would say reading the roads, knowing if you can take a risk or not. Being able to ask yourself: do I jump out of the board trying like to save myself? Sometimes you’re going down a hill at more than 40 miles/h and your board can carry that much speed so it starts wobbling! So you have to keep a cool head. Cos if you go faster, first you just think about “jump off the board, jump off the board!” Sometimes you’re going down a hill and at the end of the road there is a car, so you have to be able to slow down without falling. The way to brake is to put your foot down, so being able to judge that takes a bit of skill. It’s a lot of risk analysis!
Longboarding is a solo sport – do you enjoy that?
Yeah definitely. I know Brighton, where I’m from, and for one, it’s one of the most perfect longboarding cities just because I know like, if I go down a hill it will carry me up enough to get up the next hill. I can spend the whole time just longboarding in that city on my own. That is great because if you’re travelling and you are bored or if you feel sad you can just go longboarding and that’s really helps!
Where is the most exciting place you have taken your longboard?
Probably Costa Rica! That was crazy cos it was just roads and paths but that was beautiful. Turkey was a bit more like ideal but Montana was definitely the greatest spots. In Turkey, were were always going around, we just kept driving and when we found cool town we were doing kiteboarding as well. I wish I could say that kiteboarding is my main sport but unfortunately it cost like thousands bucks a time, you have to pay for like all the others stuff and that’s just too expensive for me!
We were in the middle of rainforest. That was incredible! Sometimes you’d find the smoothest roads in your life, it’s as if they shouldn’t be in the middle of the forst. And it’s also some of the highest roads in the world because it was the last place to be erupted by a volcano. So it’s the newest country in the world because of volcanos. You’re just like going through and you can see the animals like you see monkeys. So you are just think, “it can get much better than this!”
And do you skate and do longboarding in between model jobs, like in London?
I would love to use my longboard to get around for my castings. But I can’t do that, London is scary. You have to learn tricks like pick up your board very quickly! This is basically for cars and bikes on the road and nobody wants longboarders on the sides. Nobody will really accept longboarders here, so I mostly skate in the parks.