Many trends come and go at Union, the latest of which is the Penny skateboard. Penny boards, or cruisers, are 22 inches long and six inches wide.
Manufactured in Australia, they’re made out of hard plastic and come in an assortment of vibrant colors.
Men and women alike are cruising Union sidewalks on these small plastic boards that look much like a child’s toy.
The trend began to emerge in December 2011 when sophomore English major Wyatt Keener purchased one of the small, colorful skateboards.
“I was interested in buying a longboard,” Keener said. “After checking some out online, however, I realized that they were more expensive than what I was hoping to pay.”
Longboards can cost nearly $200 when shopping for popular brands such as Gold Coast, Sector 9 or Arbor. Penny skateboards cost about $100.
Little did Keener know that with his purchase would come the beginning of a new fad on campus.
Gradually, more of the trendy skateboards began to show up in fall 2012. Some freshmen already had them. Some upperclassmen took their cues from Keener.
“It seems like each week I notice another person has bought a Penny board, which is pretty cool,” Keener said. “I like that Pennys are more accessible than skateboards or even a longboard. They’re relatively cheap, and it doesn’t take long to learn.”
Because the boards are much easier for people to ride than a traditional skateboard usually is, “people who would not otherwise have an interest in skating seem to enjoy Penny-boarding,” Keener said.
Melissa Fields, senior marketing major, received a hot pink Penny board with blue wheels for Easter.
“I would have laughed if you’d told me a year ago that I would have a skateboard right now,” Fields said. “Union is already a little quirky, and you can get away with more around here. I wasn’t afraid to get a skateboard even though I’m not the classic skateboard type.”
The smooth ride and ease of control make Penny boards challenge the stereotypes about most skateboards.
“They are easier to maneuver in comparison to heavier, bigger longboards,” Keener said. “People are either really skeptical or they try it and realize it’s really easy,” Fields said. “Everyone should try it.”
Penny boards are not the only type of skateboard used by students around campus, but they are certainly the most approachable type of skateboard for people to ride.
“I hope it lasts for a long time,” Keener said. “I’ve seen some freshmen around campus riding Penny boards, which is hopefully indicative of a lasting presence.”