I planned to post this article about 3 weeks ago after I and my son bought and learned to do the waveboard but somehow forgot about it.
My son has a thing for wheels it seems. Or, I guess this is a kid thing and applies to all kids 6 to 10 years old. Between this age range, he asked for a pair of shoes with tiny wheels underneath so he could cruise along as I pull him while strolling in the mall; he had me buy a regular skateboard on his 7th birthday and we both enjoyed it; we bought 2 pairs of roller blades for both of us (my wife looks like she’s interested to learn to use it but lacks the courage to try); and just a month ago, we bought this skateboard-like thing called the wave board or sometimes called the streetboard. Waveboards actually came out way back 2007 in the US.
This one looks different in that while the regular skateboard has a rounded (at the edges) rectangular shape, the wave board is like 2 pieces of small boards connected by a short length of metal tube (torsion bar) at the center. And the wheels underneath the board are not fixed but swivels with the applied weight (they call it 360-degree inclined casters). This waveboard is supposed to give the effect of surfing on land. Well, I haven’t ever been on a surfboard, so I woudn’t know how wave surfing feels.
So, the evening after we bought the waveboard, we both took turns trying it out on the village street. I don’t know what the neighbors thought of a grown-up trying to learn waveboarding this late. What I know is that it’s fun and I’m relishing the good time me and my 10-year-old son are enjoying. Besides, it’s good exercise for me too.
Again the waveboard differs from the regular skateboard in a lot of ways. First, you don’t make it move forward by pushing with your other foot. Instead, you put both feet on it and turn your hips circular sideways leftward and righward continuously like you’re doing some kind of belly dance or whatever. Like everything else, the first time is always the hardest part of the learning process. But after 15 minutes of practice, I soon got the hang of it. My son, learned it in less time. Then we proceeded to learn how to do the turn. The trick we soon found out is to twist the board by shifting the weight in such a way that the front board twists in the direction where you want to turn and the rear board twists the other way. This one is a little difficult at first and we have to endure a few falls, usually butt first, before we got it. At this point, my son is really enjoying it so much that he wants me to buy another one so we won’t have to take turns.
All in all, we had the best time there as we both conquered the waveboard learning curve. This whole week, I have to lock the waveboard away so he can’t access it while his left arm heals after he fell sideways while learning some dangerous trick with his friends. So far, I haven’t seen the waveboard getting on extreme games on tv. Although my son is not that reckless, it’s no assurance that he wouldn’t try some of those extreme moves especially when his friends do it. Peer pressure. Well, I recall having done some extreme moves on a bike myself when I was a kid.
The waveboard comes with a free instruction video. However, when I searched youtube, there were actually a number of videos that better explain the mechanics of waveboarding. Here are some of them.
My son’s 10 years old now. I wonder what wheels he’s gonna think of asking me for when he turns 18.
UPDATE as of December 3, 2011
If I thought that this was just another fad, I was wrong! Every toy store, every sports outlet in the city still are selling this waveboard like it never goes out of style. And all year round, I still see kids waveboarding on the streets and parks. Compared to the regular skate board, I actually see more waveboards being used. Cool, eh?