The world has paused. During this stillness, we perhaps look to the past with nostalgia and wonder how our ancestors made do. Maybe that’s how the long boards came up. They were tall Finnish skis used when the snows came too deep to walk into town. For how long have we used long boards for recreation and purpose?
That’s the idea for writers to explore. They could craft a story about the use of any long boards, true, or imagined. Many thanks to Keweenaw storyteller, Myra Möyrylä, for the use of her story and photo to inspire this collection.
The following are based on the April 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features long boards.
PART I (10-minute read)
Finnish Elite Troops by Paula Puolakka
Every time the “Swedish Crown” needed to recapture lost land from Russia, and it was winter, the Finnish skiing troops were sent to action. The old Russian war accounts include descriptions of the swift and almost invisible Swedish soldiers who caused fear among the Russians. No, those were not Swedish, but Finnish elite troops. “Sukset” made them move as smoothly as Tolkien’s elves. Their status was equal to the status of the feared 14th-century longbowmen of England. They were not English noblemen but mainly Welsh retainers. The Finnish peasants (mastering the long wooden boards,) too, were promoted during wartimes.
Diving Board by Susan Zutautas
Joe had butterflies in his stomach long before his alarm clock went off. Today he’d be diving in a state competition. Scouts from well-known universities would be there and Joe was hoping for a scholarship.
Climbing the high dive ladder a wave of total confidence came over him.
The first dive was a backward dive. He sprung on the board once then twice, then it snapped startling him, but he carried through like a pro leaving the snapped board behind. Three scores from the judges were all 9.5. Joe and his team were ecstatic!
Joe was offered a scholarship.
Board Games by D. Avery
He skated into the park on the longest longboard any of us had ever seen; stood nonchalantly mid-deck, told us his name was TuKu.
He held everyone’s attention as his due, reveling in the anticipatory silence as we clutched our boards, shuffled in our Vans. Like a patient teacher, TuKu waited for Sammi to follow suit, but Sammi just kept rocking in place, tip to tail.
“Catch me, Not-So-Ku,” she said, and was instantly on the rail, landing after a double kickflip. We breathed, grinned. Nothing had changed.
“Come on,” we invited TuKu, and followed Sammi best we could.
When Life Gives You Lemons by Dave Madden
To say Josh had been inundated with bad luck would be an understatement: his transmission terminated; the boss made him work overtime, without extra pay; and his girlfriend dumped him, saying he loved Jiu-Jitsu more than her.
Josh’s troubles disappeared in the breeze while gliding on his longboard to practice. His mind was absorbed in the moment, and the board’s polyurethane wheels flattened the troublesome bumps along the way.
After several hours of strangling one another, Josh, carrying his board up the steep hill toward home, was more mentally prepared to tackle the lemons life threw at him.
Safety Measures by Simon Prathap
What are you doing?
Corona safety measures dad
Is that my board?
Yup the same long board you used in the beach last year
What are you trying?
I tie this to myself
So that I will maintain social distancing, no one can come close to me
Thanks, a help please
Okay, what am I supposed to do?😕
Here hold this, now I am going to tie this with a rope
What are you doing?🤔
I am going to tie this rope in this lock and…
This is a corona safety measure?🙄🤔
It’s Lock down dad!
The Race by John Lane
Hansel drove his Polaris snowmobile through the snow-covered trails until he hit upon Gretel’s truck. Gretel wiped a greasy concoction that smelled like fecal matter in a pine forest onto two wooden slats.
Hansel chuckled. “You can’t get up the mountain with that.”
Gretel shook his head. “Twenty dollars says that these longboards will get to the top first.”
Three times, Hansel tried to climb the mountain. And three times, the throttle safety switch cut out.
Gretel waited at the top for Hansel as Hansel finally made it.
Gretel held out his hand. “Easiest twenty ever made.”
Winter Roundup by Ann Edall-Robson
Full moon night
Spooked by a holler
The chase begins
Cinched down tight
Lariats hung snug
The stud horse nips
At rumps and withers
Are running hard
Down the hill
Through spruce and pine
Frozen ground shakes
The pawed meadow below
Corral wings loom
Into their path
Guiding the herd
Freedom flight lost
Gate rails slide home
Ropes snake out
Nostrils flare, blowing
Winter full moon
Wild horse roundup
Optimal Velocity by Jo Hawk
Miners extracted millions from Gold Mountain, but Peggy didn’t want money. She sought powder and speed. The day dawned bright and clear, as she and the longboarders climbed the 1,700-foot slope to the starting position.
Reaching the top, she strapped on her 12-foot long Norwegian skates. She had rubbed her secret dope into the hand-hewn, kiln-dried, vertical-grain Doug fir skis. The mixture of paraffin, tallow, tar, and hemlock oil guaranteed optimal velocity.
The contestants crouched, waiting. The starter hammered the giant saw blade. Peggy pushed against her pole and shot downhill. Sixteen seconds later, she began her next ascent.
Longboard Records Are Meant to Be Broken by Chelsea Owens
Helle sped the slope, pushed and doped. Her longboard grooves dug into powder-kissed snowbase. Down down down she sped, chasing a memory’s record.
“Hm,” said Riku, peering down from winter’s cloud. “Those be longboards.”
*WHOOSH* Helle still sailed. The stopwatch blinked 10 seconds.
“Oh,” said Riku, gripping at edge of sky. “She be a fast ‘un.”
Helle squinted against snow spray, wishing for goggles instead of scarves. She squatted, splashing a trail behind her.
“Oh. Oh!” exclaimed Riku. “She be my granddaughter!”
Sliding to a stop, Helle turned to check her time.
“13 seconds!” The clouds proudly quivered. “She beat me!”
Making Tracks by D. Avery
The old wooden skis had hung on the wall ever since I could remember. I’ll never forget how Granpa’s eyes twinkled like stars on a winter’s night as he proclaimed they just needed fresh klister, already warming in a crucible. Smiling through his snow-white beard, Granpa spread and scraped molten wax onto the bases of the skis, rubbed it smooth with the heels of his wizened hands. He told me he had waited his whole life to make these longboards sing.
I held the door. Then SWISH! Granpa was kicking up fresh powder, carving tracks along the Milky Way.
Long Boards Too Short by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“I’m sure there’s an old pair of your mom’s long boards…skis…here, with the children’s skis. Like you, she was full grown when she fostered with us. They should work for you, too.”
Hjordis twitched her troll’s tail as she peered past the snow giant’s thigh. “Sorry I didn’t bring mine, Magnhildr. When the Berserkers raided my home, I had to run.”
“I don’t imagine the horse you stole would’ve been happy galloping with a pair of skis on his back. Ah! Here they are. Hold your arm straight up.”
“They’re too short!” Hjordis grinned.
Magnhildr cursed. “That’s…inconvenient.”
Alley Oops by JulesPaige
long boards down the lane
oiled for a game of ten pins
are alleys open…
We’ve played other versions too. Duck and Candle Pins. Each just slightly different, but still fun. We used to be in a league and still have our lockers at the local alley. I think hubby’s bowling shoes are at least half a century old. I used to get intimidated looking down those long boards. Shifting slightly left or right, hoping for a strike or spare. All the fears gone though – as now we just play for fun. I wonder is the Alley even open?
Surfer Girl by Sascha Darlington
The boys from the mainland think I’m weird. I have a shortboard, sitting in the sand, while they ride their longboards. They’ve never seen me ride. They think, because I’m a girl, I’m there to stalk them.
“A shortboard,” the tall one laughs. “Is that to match your height?”
Hurricane Anna builds waves. These boys surf when it’s calm, when waves are weaker. Today’s for real surfers.
I tug off my shorts and hoodie, grab Hugo the Shortboard, and run.
There’s nothing better than balancing on a board, feeling seaspray, adrenaline, unless it’s the shock on surfer boys’ faces.
The Art of Skateboarding by Ruchira Khanna
While sipping my tea at the crack of dawn, an idea sparked in my mind as I stared at my son’s longboard, “I should try this. After all, it’s all about balance.”
I lifted the board and walked towards my cemented yard.
After centering and grounding myself, I placed one foot on the board, and it whooshed off before I could put the other foot on it.
The result was a loud thud with an Ouch of a higher decibel that was quick to wake up my family.
“Nah! this is all about practice, not just a jiffy exercise!”
The Move by Priorhouse
Movers came and went.
Packaging tape screeched across boxes.
“Yes, I want them.”
“Mom, you have the other box already. One bedroom, remember?”
“Okay. Charity then.”
Later, a mover held up an old skateboard, “Keep or Donate?”
“Keep” we all exclaimed.
Unwrapping the cover, the wooden longboard was bent – clay wheels cracked. In the 1950s, when waves were flat, this longboard let grandad screech across the land.
“Isn’t that how he scarred his arms?”
“Yup, clay wheels were dangerous.”
The house was completely empty now – but finding grandad’s long lost longboard – filled us immensely.
PART II (10-minute read)
Matty will extend the hand of friendship to anyone, but the manners of her current guests leave much to be desired. There are even men among the party, and bass notes do drum on her ears. She should not judge, for they know no better, but the fellow who sat opposite at breakfast slurped his tea.
Alas, she must continue to suffer their company. She cannot withdraw her hospitality with the world in disarray. Fortunately she has parlour games and monologues to entertain them. Matty will select exceptionally long board games to spread cheer throughout her boarders’ extended stay.
Long Boring by Simon Prathap
Don’t talk to me
But what did I do?
You hesitated to talk with my family and disconnected phone!
No! I did not hesitate, it’s a long boring conversation and they were not talking to me and they were talking to your parents
I know how you use to talk with them
But darling, I did not do it on purpose I thought the conversation will end and it was long, I am sorry darling, it is my mistake. I know it is our family.
You always realize that late?
Please forgive me, Please
Okay, No dinner for you.
Borberline Dull by Geoff Le Pard
‘Morgan, what is it now? We need to find a motel…’
‘You can’t need another pee…’
‘I was just reading…’
‘Are you feeling faint from all that intellectual effort?’
‘Shut up. The guide book says there’s this museum…’
‘You want to go to a museum? You are to museums what rats are to traps. Not a happy combination.’
‘It’s the American museum of boards. Skate boards. I’ve got to see this. Next left.’
‘A museum devoted to men whose trousers don’t fit?’
‘There’s the longest board in the world.’
‘It’ll be the longest I’ve ever been bored…’
Long Bored by FloridaBorne
Tilde didn’t care if yawning was uncivilized. This museum was boring!
She wanted to see swords and axes used in battle — images of Vikings defeating Europeans, who were no match for their skill; not spun cloth and pottery.
Long boards stood in a row, skis by any other name. They held no meaning to a girl who loved cuddling in a blanket as her mother spoke about their ancestors.
Her father said they’re name meant “sword,” but the tour guide said that Øster meant someone on the east. What would she tell her next, that there was no Santa?
Awaiting Fame by R. V. Mitchell
Einar and Destin shifted the long pine plank into position as Thorbold prepared to rivet it into place.
“Don’t let it slide beyond the mark I made,” the master boat-wright snapped.
“Sorry Thorbold,” the pair said almost in unison.
Destin wasn’t really sure he was “sorry,” after all he had been building clinker ships nearly as long as his brother, Thorbold had.
He would show him one day. Sooner rather than later, in fact, that he, Destin Olafson could rival the skills of any boat builder in all of the Norse lands.
Just, today was not quite that day.
A Long Board by Doug Jacquier
The boss said to the boy ‘Fetch me a long board from the hardware. Ask Gus, the owner, he’ll know what I mean.’
Gus listened to the boy, grunted, and said to wait.
The boy waited, patiently.
Eventually Gus said ‘How long you been waitin’ now?’
The boy replied “Couple of hours.’
‘Are you bored?’
The boy nodded cautiously.
‘Well, then I guess you’re long bored, so you can go back to work now.’
When he got back his boss said ‘Well, where’s the long board I sent you for?’
‘The pigs are flying it in tonight.’
Building on a Dream by Annette Rochelle Aben
Frankie let out a deep sigh. No matter how hard he tried, the long boards were too heavy for him to carry. His older brothers, Ron, John, and Al could haul those boards around as though they were toothpicks. When would he be big enough to help his father build houses?
Dejected, Frankie sat down behind the lumber pile and began to cry softly.
“Yeah, we need someone to grab these boxes of nails.”
His older brothers were in trouble and they needed his help!
Frankie dried his tears, grabbed the nails, and ran after the crew.
Playing Pirates by Wallie and Friend
Two long boards made a very comfortable walk, and Tom appreciated the space to turn around, even though the boards were bendier than he liked. This was the moment he made his grand speech to the evil pirates before plunging into the watery depths of the sea.
Tom was about to speak when the boards suddenly creaked. He lost his balance and instead of drowning, sat down hard on the carpet.
The outrage from the pirates in their coffee table pirate ship made the boy rub his bruised elbow and glare.
“I thought you said that plank was safe!”
Precautions Not Needed by Charli Mills
Sam King parked the Willys Jeep in first gear. “Get the long boards,” he told his daughter.
Gripping the roll bar, Danni swung out the open side. Near the gate, the Lazy T Ranch kept long boards for crossing the boggiest parts of the high-meadow springs. Using her leather gloves, Danni moved one board at a time, setting each through the open space in the backseat. They stuck up at an angle. “Dad, you want me to tie a bandana on the end?”
Sam laughed. “We’re not likely to get rear-ended, Kiddo. The bulls are all down at headquarters.”
First Kiss by Susan Sleggs
Tessa stomped snow off her boots before going into her parents’ house. “Is our toboggan still around? The choir kids want to go sledding.”
Her father answered. “I’ll get it out if you promise not to allow co-ed rides.”
“Why would you say that?”
“I seem to remember my teenage daughter coming home all flushed because she had been kissed while in a jumbled pile after a toboggan mishap.”
Tessa’s eyes widened and she laughed aloud. “I haven’t thought about that in years. Wait till I tell Michael you remember that.”
“Your feet didn’t touch ground for a month.”
The Board Ritu Bhathal
Jonah let himself into his house and popped his keys on the sideboard when a strangled grunt of a noise startled him. It came from the living room.
He dropped the bags and rushed in to find his mother laying on her stomach, or rather, hovering, on her arms and feet.
“Mum! What’s the matter?” He went to help her up.
“Go… away… Jonah… I… am… trying… to… do… a… two… minute… long… board…” She struggled for breath, before the alarm beeped on her phone.
He laughed as she collapsed onto the floor. “Board? Oh, you mean a plank?”
Crack by Hugh W. Roberts
Rolling his heavy body towards the spot where Clarice had disappeared, Doug rubbed his hand over the long, bare floorboards. A crackling sound of static made the hairs on the back of his hand tingle.
Two floors below, Mike looked down at himself and took a deep breath. Pushing out the air hard, he aimed it towards the long boards just below where his other-self lay.
He watched as the boards started cracking.
Terrified by what the woman had yelled at her, Sophie’s shielded her face as the long floorboards underneath the woman began to make a cracking sound.
Ladybug by Saifun Hassam
At each end of the patio there were “steps” each made of two long cedar boards, supported by wood posts, cinder blocks, and rocks. Spider plants, morning glories, clematis, jasmine, and yellow climbing roses spilled over from the patio onto the steps.
Susan loved the mosaic of colorful petals and leaves drifting onto the boards, the changing patterns of light and shade. She transformed the mosaics into artwork.
Ladybugs clambered over roses, coral bells, petunias, hunting for aphids. Soapy water also helped to control aphids.
A strange season this was, also using soapy water to keep COVID-19 at bay!
Bored by Bill Engleson
She slowly peels the potato, lightly catching the skin. I pull her apron string.
This time, she’s not smiling.
“Go outside. Play.”
“Play in the shade.”
Outside, a buzz saw whines.
I peer through the fence.
Mister Jack is cutting 2 X 4’s.
I crawl through, watch, wait for silence.
He looks up, winks.
“Hot day, eh!”
My feet shuffle in the sawdust.
“Good. In the shop, then.”
I follow him in.
The door closes.
In the dark I hold my breath.
He hisses, “Let’s play our game, sweetie.”
Away From It All by Joanne Fisher
Stacey lay on her long board as she swam out from the shore. When she was far enough out, she sat on her board and waited for a decent wave to come.
Other surfers were mystified why she used a long board, the truth was she enjoyed the stability it offered while she sat and waited. Out here she was alone, she could breathe and think and ponder, and wonder at the vastness of the ocean that lay around her. Then a wave would finally come and she would surf back to the shore, and start all over again.
Establishments by D. Avery
“They’s openin’ up a ennertainment an libation establishmint over ta the Slim Chance Ranch.”
“Huh. We run sech a place.”
“Callin’ his place the Longboard Lounge. Claims ta have the biggist a ever’thin’.”
“Aw, Pal, that’s jist big talk. Bigger ain’t better. Don’t ya go worryin’ none ‘bout the Saddle Up Saloon.”
“Bigger pours, bigger portions…”
“We’re big on fun, Pal.”
“He’s offerin’ discounted prices.”
“An’ we ain’t never ast no one ta pay, Pal.”
“All ya kin write, he says.”
“An’ we say 99 words. Refreshin’ an’ satisfyin’.”
“Reckon thet’s the long an’ the short of it.”