MagazineJune 2010Long Way to Skate

Long Way to Skate

Virginia Longboarders Attempt  Cross-Country Skate

Plenty of people have attempted to bike or run across the country, but very few have ever skateboarded across the U.S. Two Northern Virginia residents are in the midst of skating on longboards from Virginia Beach to Portland, Oregon. Tristan Lock, 25, and Josh Stowe, 19, launched from the beach in March on an estimated 5,000-mile long “push and glide” along scenic backroads to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. BRO talked with Lock as the duo rested in Sylva, N.C. after finishing their first 600 miles.

Describe a typical day on the road.
We get up around 9 a.m. because Josh likes to sleep in. We eat a granola bar, pack up camp, and get on our boards and skate. We take a break for lunch and look for fast food. We’re doing this trip on the cheap. I’d like to avoid the chains, but it’s hard to resist a $1 cheeseburger. We can usually pull an average of 20 to 30 miles a day. If we’ve got a nice long downhill, we can really cover some ground.

How fast are you going down these mountains?
We’re probably going 20 to 25 miles per hour with our packs. Without a pack, we can get into a tuck and clock 45 miles per hour.

How’s the terrain been so far?
The first 300 miles were flat, then we hit the mountains. Our packs weigh 50 to 60 pounds each so if the hill is too steep, we’ve got to walk it. We have hills in Northern Virginia, but nothing like this.

I understand you got kicked off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Yeah. We hopped on the Parkway at the Virginia border and were psyched about riding as much of it as we could. Five miles down the road, a ranger pulls up and asks us to leave. He was nice, but apparently you’re not allowed to skate the Parkway. Those five miles were fantastic, though—the views, the fresh air. I’ve been on the Parkway before in a car, but it doesn’t compare to a longboard.

Would you recommend the longboard as a form of long distance transportation?
It’s not the most efficient form of transportation. If you want to get somewhere quick, ride a bike. But the longboard is so much fun. It’s like surfing across the country. And on a longboard, you’re actually a part of the country you’re passing through. There’s a quote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: “You can see the country in a car, but you’re just looking at it through a window.” I understand what he means now.

Long Way to Skate

25 miles

Average distance Lock and Stowe skate each day on the road
625 miles

Distance Lock and Stowe have skated so far
5,000 miles

Estimated distance the two will skate from coast to coast
Follow the journey and donate to the cause at

Places to Go, Things to See: