Steele Minds: The Thrill-Seeker

Part V: The Thrill-Seeker

Taylor Overby, Staff Writer

Quarantine was a difficult time for many, but for Junior Izabella Neal, the time stuck at home marked the discovery of a new passion: longboarding. 

“I got really bored, so I asked my mom to get a longboard,” she explained. “And my sister and I shared it.”

Izabella quickly fell down the longboarding rabbit hole.

“If you go on my Instagram, and you start scrolling,” she enthused. “All you’ll see is hill bombing videos of guys going like 100mph down rocky mountains.”

Longboarding is similar to skateboarding, but different in many fundamental ways.

“In longboarding, the board is maybe twice as long, and there’s no tail, so the head is skinnier,” Izabella said. “So when you’re turning, the wheels don’t get caught on the board. That doesn’t allow for as many tricks. But it’s like optimal speeds. So I can go really really fast on it, up to 50mph going down a hill.”

The longboard is shaped this way for a reason. 

“The head of the longboard narrows, and so if I’m turning really sharp, it’s good for the head of it to be really narrow so I don’t fall off,” Izabella described. “It also has a W concave, it’s not dramatic, but it kind of molds down to fit my feet, so I don’t fall off, and it’s really nice.” 

She’s proud of the board she has now.

“It’s bamboo and they put plexiglass in between and it’s layered like that up to maybe 11 times,” Izabella explained. “And it has these big, round red wheels.” 

The material certainly matters.

“I think bamboo is good because if you want to be able to dance on it and jump up and down, I like the way that it flexes with my feet. And it’s bendable, so it won’t snap easily,” she said.  “And bamboo doesn’t break along with the plexiglass and I also have the rubber wheels, and the rubber absorbs the shock and it makes it so smooth. That’s why I like longboarding a lot more than skateboarding. Because the wheels are huge compared to skateboarding.”

Izabella’s bamboo board has taken her from neighborhood to neighborhood, exploring new parts of Cibolo. 

“At least twice a week, I try to find something new,” she mentioned. “I’ve learned a lot about Cibolo.”

In the three years since she started, Izabella has become rather good.

“It’s longboarding, so you can’t really do tricks, but I can slide, so I bring it horizontally to stop,” she explained. “I can do dances on it, where you step one foot over the other.”

However, for Izabella, the best part of longboarding is the payoff that comes from scaling a hill.

“There’s going up the hill. You do the hard work with the leg, you have to push and push, and you want to give up,” she visualized. “And then you get to the top, and you can let your legs rest, and go down. And with adrenaline junkies, they get the endorphins, but it’s addicting. The payoff of skating your butt off to find that perfect hill is very rewarding.”

Izabella wants to continue longboarding after high school and hopefully go pro. She thinks everyone should give it a shot.

“You should definitely try longboarding,” she joked. “Because hobbies are important and it is exercise. It’s the only thing keeping me from having a sedentary lifestyle.”