Streetsurfing Your Way to Fitness
Origins of Streetsurfing
Streetsurfing first hit the streets of California in the mid 2000s. Since then its popularity has spread worldwide, with an estimated six million children and adolescents having taken up this fun and exciting sport that is a combination of skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing.
But youngsters aren’t the only ones getting in on the act! More and more people in their 30s, 40s and beyond see street surfing as not only a great exercise option, but as an alternative means of transportation that will enable them to get from point A to point B and feel good in the process.
This seeing said, there are some very real benefits for kids that go way beyond getting out in the fresh air and having fun.
Benefits of Streetsurfing for Kids
Increasingly, schools are adding streetsurfing to their sporting curriculum. In some instances this gives inner city kids and those living in landlocked states a chance to “surf” for the first time. The response from kids has been incredibly positive. Even those who were previously physically inactive due to confidence issues or just not being good at sports, are participating in street surfing with gusto.
For a lot of these kids, the very word sport had previously carried stressful and negative connotations. Discovering a sporting activity they not only enjoy, but can do well, bolsters a child’s confidence, and the resulting sense of accomplishment can spill over into other areas, even to the extent of improving poor behaviour.
RipStik Caster Board
What Equipment Will I Need to Streetsurf?
The boards used in streetsurfing are called caster boards. Caster boards are self-propelled platforms (known as decks), not dissimilar to skateboards or snowboards.
Each board is made up of two decks mounted on wheels that are set at a thirty degree angle. The wheels, of which there is one for the front deck and one for the back, are capable of rotating a full 360 degrees.
The decks are connected by a metal beam, called a torsion bar. The torsion bar houses a heavy duty spring that enables the board to change direction and negotiate flat terrain, hills and ramps with ease.
RipStik Caster Board in Action
Streetsurfing has a minimal learning curve, which further adds to its appeal. Even those who would never class themselves as sporty are surprised at just how easily they not just take to streetsurfing, but love it. As with anything new it will take a bit of practice, but one can literally go from being a streetsurfing newbie to being quite proficient at the sport in the space of a few short weeks, with no previous skating, snowboarding or surfing skills required to do so.
Propulsion of the caster board is achieved by shifting body weight between the two platforms in an S-shaped pattern. This movement originates from the core with no foot action required, making streetsurfing a great workout, especially for the back, waist and abdominal region. Speed and direction travelled can be changed by placing more or less weight on the platforms and altering stance and foot placement. The board does the rest. Seriously, it’s that easy!
Check out the video below for a live demo.
How to Streetsurf
Wave Boards Vs RipStiks
Two of the most well-known and popular makers of caster boards are Street Surfing, who released the Wave Board in 2004, and Razor who introduced the RipStik in 2006. Both brands offer high quality caster boards in a variety of styles, with new and upgraded models being released from time to time. The ride these boards provide is almost identical, so if price isn’t an issue, choice will come down to personal preference after evaluating the small differences between the boards, which I will detail below.
The most obvious difference between the Wave Board and the RipStik is in aesthetics. The Ripstik (aka the ripstick, Rip Stik, Rip Stick, RipStik Wave Board), only comes in solid colors, while the Street Surfing Wave Board comes in a small range of solid colors, along with a wider range of cool, multi-colored designs.
Both boards are constructed from the same durable plastic and both have removable decks and wheels, meaning the color of these can easily be changed if desired. Though both boards provide the rider with a safe, non-slip surface, the shape of the deck and the grip plates of each brand of board differs. The torsion bar of the Wave Board is slightly shorter than that of the Ripstik, and its wave board wheels measure 77mm, while those of the RipStik are 76mm.
The other main difference between these two caster boards is price. Across the board, the Razor RipStik is the more expensive of the two. It is also the most highly reviewed, rated and recommended on Amazon.
Now that you have the facts, the only thing left to decide upon is which caster board will suit you best. Whichever way you go, you’re certain to have heaps of fun as you get fit street surfing!