On our way home from a hot air balloon demonstration I caught notice of a peculiar skateboard they were selling. Two wheels. At first I thought nothing of it, because the people trying it out couldn't seem to get it to work for half a second. So I put it at the back of my mind for the trip home -- how could a two-wheel skateboard work anyway? Bad enough I could hardly stay 2 seconds on a four-wheel one!
Back at home however, I decided, just for the fun of it -- to look it up. YouTube: 2-wheel skateboard. I was surprised at the very first video.
The video was... teasing. Some nerdy looking guy showing off how easy it was to ride the thing. And damn -- it sure did LOOK easy! Little did I realise then that it really wasn't just looks.
I showed the video to Pui's sister and told her how I wished I had taken a better look at the thing in the fair. Turned out our relative (who stays with us) had bought one for his kid!! I could check it out in the morning!
Sure enough he had it. It wasn't an "original" Ripstik, but it was still essentially the same thing. So we tried it, both me and the kid. He was better than me, having ridden and used a skateboard (better than me) in the past. Alright -- to be honest, I NEVER really ever rode a skateboard properly.
After less than an hour, that changed.
Probably because of the Homework I did the night before, watching all those YouTube videos even before stepping foot on it. I honestly didn't think it would ever work for me, much like any skateboard never worked for me. But I persevered, and in LESS than an hour (maybe 20 minutes) I could actually balance on it! A couple minutes later I was riding about 3 meters in a cramp line (between our parked cars and the edge of the driveway).
My nephew smartened up faster than me though. At the end of the day he was already doing turns on it. So I had to look after my own kids, that's why :P
The next morning he had to go off to his boarding school and we wouldn't see him for another two weeks. He wouldn't see his board either.
So I borrowed it.
I took it to work and when no one was around, I practiced a bit on it. Ok. So I might've shown off a bit as well. :D in just another few minutes, I could go down the entire length of the hallway -- smoothly. I mastered the wave-rythm needed to propel the thing forward. It's this movement that allows you to ride it without EVER having to put your feet down to kick.
Later on, I took the board to a wider area to practice my turns. At the same time another teacher caught wind of it and signed up for lessons :P He was riding in less than an hour (he had to catch the train home too) and I got the basics of turning!
Unfortunately it stopped there. Something felt different in the board. My worst suspicions confirmed: the bearings had shat out. Fun over. That's only what you can expect from a Chinese knock-off (which is exactly what it is)!
Well shit. Just 2 days of light usage and the results are 2 damaged wheel bearings and one completely screwed caster bearing. In anycase I made a temporary fix: I moved all the shitty bits to the front half of the board. See, the board is split in two: the front and back flex independently of each other through a torsion bar in the middle. It's the back bearings that wear down fastest because it's the back part that takes it the hardest (especially if you're a beginner). My fix worked: the board feels good again. But I won't give those shitty bearings much time. I'm going to get the kid's board some better bearings (least I can do for wearing them down).
So what's the point of the story? The point is -- it's damn easy to learn/ride the thing. But not just that -- it gives you a good workout too! That's probably the best part. I never sweated so much or felt my heart pumping so much. It's not the kind of work out that'll get you tired in a few seconds either. Well -- maybe when you're beginning it will. But once you've got the 'rhythm' you'll be able to ride it without thinking. Then you lose track of time having fun on it.
It's MUCH better than a skateboard. A lot of losers like going online to diss it whenever someone posts a positive review about it. As far as convenience goes -- it's easier to get around with a Ripstik because you can turn sharper while still being on the thing. Despite the two wheels it's more stable -- to stop or fall off safely (at slow speeds) it's simple: tip-toe forward. If you try that on a skateboard you'll risk tripping over it. I could never get a stupid skateboard to work with me even when I really wanted to. But this thing was so stupidly easy even a colleague of mine, who isn't a sporty person at all, could get it while being rushed for time.
So if you've always wanted to ride a skateboard properly (for even more than just a few seconds) -- go for the Ripstik/Waveboard/casterboard instead. It's more flexible and is DEFINITELY learn-able.
Two tips when starting out: don't look at your feet and don't try to go far. Just try a little -- a very SMALL push and try for a few inches, not feet. Do that again and soon you'll be going a couple meters straight.
Seen them in Tesco, always thought they looked hard to do, maybe I will get one for the kids, so I can have a go
I just ordered an original Ripstik Air Pro from Amazon.com. 50 bucks and shipping and handling is friggin 90 bucks!! Ah well. I've tried looking for replacement parts for my nephew's Chinese knock-off and keep being told to go to a shop OUTSIDE the major shopping malls. Right. Have yet to find those parts.
Just a word of advice if you get the ones at Tesco (or anywhere else in Thailand): Check all the nuts/screws/bolts before riding. Chinese manufacturers love to keep things loose. I almost lost a MAJOR bolt in my nephew's board -- the one that holds the two halves together!! Later after running through a complete check, I found that there were other bolts that weren't tightened properly.
The bearings will be sub-quality too. The ones on my nephew's board claim they're ABEC-7 bearings (the original Ripstiks only have ABEC-5 bearings)!! What a croc of bullshit. They flaked out in just 2 days of moderate riding. So if you get any here, try to practice on nice ground, don't take it to more rugged road else you'll wear the bearings out in no time. I think they'll last alright if you keep the kids in the yard : ) Else, original Ripstiks sport good quality bearings that ~should~ last a good 3 months or longer, even out on the sidewalks of Bangkok. Will test this out for sure.
I wish I could afford to make just a dollar a year.
Just Buy a Mac
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