So today I went on a little adventure because I had a bit of spare time and I had an objective: my longboard was damaged in a way that the trucks on one side wouldn’t stay on because it wasn’t possible to tighten the screws on it. Something to do with a crack in the wood because of securing my screws without washers, and using the wrong kind of nuts.
Anyway, the point was it had to be fixed with some creativity.
I went into town to look for a hardware store. When I found one, they ran out of the parts I needed and told me to go their sister subsidiary on the other side of town. I was walking in my Vibrams all the way, and the sun was shining so it was kind of nice.
Along the way to the other side of town, I stopped by some random shops, and had a chat with the shop keeper. He said I might be able to find something at Hemley’s: a skate shop 5 doors away which I missed because it was so inconspicuous. So I went there to check out if they could do anything for me.
When I went in, I saw all the mainstream brands like Loaded, Landyachtz, Comet and some others hanging there. I also remember a friend of mine saying she got really excited when she got in the store because they had so many cool longboards there. She also said that it might not impress me however. And she was right.
When I came to Australia, I was sort of expecting a much bigger longboard culture than what I’ve experienced so far. Or maybe I’m just not in the right circles. Anyway, when I asked the shopkeeper about if he knew anything about custom board builders in Australia, he said he had no idea. And that’s definitely a sign that the Dutch longboard culture is much bigger if you look at the amount of custom board builders we have there. Also, I tried to find a massive longboard store in Melbourne like Sickboards in Holland, but there’s just nothing like it. The closest thing that comes to that is Fast times, a skateshop in the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne. And boards are friggin expensive. Take a full-setup Loaded Tan Tien for example: you’d be spending around $450 AUD for it. Holy shit. Compare that to about 275 euros for which I can get a complete Tan Tien in Europe. I sense an opportunity for a growing market, because there are definitely good longboarding possibilities in Melbourne. Or St. Kilda I should say. Which I should take the time to check out again.
Anyway, back to my story…
Since I didn’t find anything at the first hardware store, I meandered to the second one on the other side of town, and luckily found some parts that were perfect for my board. Fistpump! I then went home figuring I had the tools there to fix it all together. Spending about $20 on parts and a new tool, I was pretty happy that that’s all it cost me to be able to longboard again. When I got home, however, I tried to find a drill which I needed to make new holes in my board, but we didn’t have one… GAH. So I had to find a solution for that…
I texted a roommate who is a mechanic to see if he may have an idea. But I couldn’t just rely on him all the time (since he helped me out with removing my truck from my board, which was a shit job, since the wood around the screws were completely fucked up, and also the cross of the bolt was almost gone). I figured that the Engineering department at the university might be able to help me out, so I asked the student center there for advice on a project I had to do, which involved me having to use a drill. They advised me to talk to my supervising teacher to access those kind of resources. ‘Sure’ I thought, and figures I might be able to get into one of the workshops of the engineering department. All access to the workshops required a key card with authorization however, so that didn’t work. I figured I could try the uni’s bike store next. Maybe they had a drill. So I went there and asked, but it turns out that bikes don’t usually need drills which is why he didn’t have one. Fuck.
I was thinking, maybe if I go to the bigger skateshop in town, they might have something. Although when I went there last time, I didn’t remember seeing a workbench (which is also a minimum requirement for any proper skateshop in my opinion… anyhow), so I sort of had my doubts.
As I was walking towards the tramstops to get to the city faster, I walked by the Physics department… and through the windows, I could see people working in what looked like a Design Technology lab. And I thought ‘bingo’! If there are people inside, I might be able to work something out.
I walked into the Physics department, and almost into the workshop, where I stopped by a sign which said something like ‘ONLY AUTHORIZED ACCESS BEYOND THIS POINT’. That’s when someone noticed me and said ‘Hey! What are you doing?’. I explained to him that I needed to fix my longboard, and was wondering if I could use tools they seemingly had. He was like ‘Sure! No problem’ and he happily helped me with figure out what I needed, and let me do my thing. That was awesome.
I fixed my board, happily skated home, and am overly satisfied with the solutions that manifested.
What I learned is that persistence will get you there. Ask enough questions, follow your gut, be bold in your path and you will find what you’re looking for.