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Arran Borrill

Life in the 21st century is reliant on fossil fuels which are running out.  If we keep throwing CO2 into the atmosphere, there will be catastrophic repercussions and we will be the ones who will be paying for our mistakes.  There is no way even in a Utopian society that we can continue our use of motor vehicles and power stations all together – but we can reduce.

Last summer, I spent a large amount of time outdoors biking, skateboarding and walking.  Large amounts of these activities were spent travelling to locations and each of the methods had their pros and cons.  What started me thinking was that nearly all my friends were driving to these places or being chauffeured by parents – this meant damage to the environment.

So why weren’t people doing what I was doing?

Well, the honest truth is that some people live too far away and but is it in all cases? No, it’s not and this is whom I aimed my product at – ages 10 to 24 years.  So, why aren’t people cycling more?  Well, bikes are expensive and as they cannot be taken everywhere with you as they are not easy to carry, they must be locked up which can lead to theft. And what’s wrong with walking?  This takes a long time and being realistic, it can also be very boring.

Where is a reasonable compromise between the two?  A skateboard is easy to carry, fun to ride, transportable and fashionable. However, with their small wheels, thin trucks and non-flexible decks, they can be noisy and uncomfortable to ride.  This is where I decided to base my product.

Knowing that I needed a fashionable, easy to use, quick product, I began researching what was already around.  Unknown to me before, was a variant on a skateboard called a longboard, which is pretty self-explanatory – basically a longer board, more flexible with larger wheels and bigger trucks.  Most were either downhill or trick boards so I began designing a hybrid which could be used for commuting as well as recreation.

I knew I had to make my product commercially viable so I used a reusable former and a vacuum bag.  This meant my product could be repeatedly made whilst keeping the cost down. With the environment in mind, I used locally sourced timber from a local supplier who complied with Forest Stewardship Council Regulations.  The addition of the graphic was a hard choice as I needed something to attract a large group of users from ages 10 to 24 from both genders, so I decided on a ying-yang glyph which provided a mature aspect to the board.

Overall, it was an incredible project as I found out interesting facts about longboards that I never knew, and I refined my skills during the fabricating process.  My final product is ideal for the short trips of students into school or to friends’ houses and this is what I aimed it to do.