15 Unbelievably Weird Skate Inventions That You Never Knew You Needed
The highs and lows of KickStarter inventions
If you don't know what Kickstarter is, you've probably been living under a rock. But we'll explain it to you anyway.
It's a crowd sourcing website, so when somebody has an idea or invention, they can put it on to Kickstarter and ask people to pledge donations to help with the building, marketing, and promotion of their project.
Kind of like Dragons' Den, but the general public replace the five wealthy naysayers.
Of course, skateboarding is a multi-billion dollar industry these days, so there are plenty of people using Kickstarter to try and get on the gravy train. We’ve trawled the site for the best and worst skateboard ideas...
1) Swing Blade
Ah yes, a text-book twist on the skateboard design. The Swing Blade differs from a regular board by having two wheels at the front that pivot slightly. The benefit of this is that, with a lot of Elvis-like hip gyrating, riders can “defy gravity" and ride up hill.
While we wish the folks at Swing Blade every success, there appears to be three major drawbacks to the product:
1. To “defy gravity" you have to look like a bit of a tool, doing some odd wiggling thing, a bit like Britain’s Got Talent’s singer Susan Boyle does in this slalom skateboard world record attempt...
2. The Swing Blades video doesn’t so much show gravity being defied, as somebody wriggling up a mild incline.
3. Most importantly, if a skater on a regular board wanted to get up that hill, they’d simply get off and walk up. And probably do so quicker than the Swing Blade World Champion (should such a person exist).
Electric skateboards aren’t new. When one person invents any form of transport, another will soon come along and want to stick a motor on it.
And what’s the next phase of this transportational evolution? An American arrives and whacks a significantly bigger engine on it.
That’s exactly what we have here. This inventor made three different designs of super-powered skateboards: a cruiser model called The Commuter, and off-road one with big-tread tyres called The Trail Rider, and a high speed model called (the slightly camp) Road Warrior.
We have to say, these actually look pretty cool. Based on the videos we’ve seen, they appear to work well. It looks like the public agree, as they’ve been successfully Kickstarted.
However, as good as they look, we can’t get away from the feeling that it’s just not skateboarding. Skateboarding is organic, expressive, and ultimately human powered. These are more of a Jeremy Clarkson wank fantasy.
Simple ideas are the best, right? The Shaggo Grom tests this notion.
It’s a small cruiser skateboard with a layer of thick, shag carpet where the griptape normally lies.
This is the kind of think we imagine Snoop Dogg (or whatever he’s calling himself today) cruising around his big old house on. It’s a curious mix of looking kind of cool, and yet really, really rubbish.
Maybe this has been lost in translation somewhere over the Atlantic, but in the currently climate, you have to question the wisdom of calling a product aimed mostly at children a Shaggo.
4) Skate Crate
These Skate Crates are modern versions of the really early skateboards kids used to hoon around US cities on in the early 20th century.
The originals were made of broken up bits of old shipping cartons with rollerskate wheels screwed to the bottom.
This 2014 variety are a far cry from the originals, being significantly plusher and well crafted. The definitely look pretty rad, but maybe more as an ornament in an ultra-hip loft apartment than an actual skateboard to get around on.
In fact, the only people we can imagine riding them are the winkle-pickered hipsters of London’s Shoreditch, Manchester’s Didsbury, and Birmingham’s Digbeth. If you’re not sure, that’s definitely an insult.
Who doesn't have an inner Marty McFly that longs for a Back To The Future style hoverboard? This Kickstarter thinks they have the perfect solution.
HoverSkater is a stange combination of a skateboards, a hovercraft, and a provincial French disco. It's essentially a longboard with a small hovercraft skirt attached to the bottom (and, inexplicably, a load of neon strip lights).
Our favourite part of the online pitch is the idea that the Hoverskate can be adapted to use in any way you want. In other words, you can take the skirt off it, and use it as a regular long board. Why? Just, why? This is less Marty McFly, more McBusted.
Nowadays, most people have access to high definition cameras and editing software, usually all on a single smartphone. As a result, skaters have the opportunity to shoot their own skate vids and put them online.
But even with your camera, edit suite, and expectant online audience, you still need someone to film you. Unless you’re one of those weird people with actual, real-life friends.
However, all is not lost. The SoloShot is a camera with a tracking device, allowing it to follow your movements as you smith grind that ledge. Users wear an electronic armband that pairs with the mounting between the camera and the tripod. This then rotates to follow wherever the rider (or at least the armband) goes.
With the market for drone cameras on the ride, the SoloShot seems like a really good half-way-house, allowing skaters to shoot footage when they‘re out alone.
However, we also can’t help but think that some mucky couple will use it to enhance the production quality of their X-rated home videos. Grim.
So, this one’s just a bit crazy. The creators (“inventors" is a bit too much of a push) have managed to make the worlds of skateboarding and playing keyboard collide. A union of music and lifestyle that the world has been waiting for since... never.
In fairness, the man behind the Kee-Board does say that it’s an art piece. Call us philistines, but it’s just a keyboard stuck straight on to a skate deck. The outcome is neither a skateboard, a keyboard, or art.
At least the name is a clever play on words. Hang on, no it isn't. No wonder this only ever got $10 of the $10,000 required to Kickstart.
This is kind of like the sideways Segway. It’s a board, wrapped around a large wheel that houses a motor. The makers claim it gives a gliding feel, more akin to snowboarding or surfing than skateboarding. Sounds amazing, right?
However, we question whether anybody could jump on one of these things and not look like an escaped circus performer.
The people riding in the film have got reverts down, but when the One Wheel goes close to a skate bowl, we found ourselves just itching for the rider to drop in, just to see what happens.
The Grindstick is the dream product for arsonists who’re a bit shit at skateboarding. It’s basically a long paddle that skaters can use to scoot themselves around with when conventional pushing just doesn’t cut the mustard.
With one of these in hand, you can look like one of those punts that paddle around rivers in Oxford. If that’s not exciting enough, the Grindstick has bits of flint sticking out of the bottom of it that produce sparks when they’re dragged across the ground.
We’re sure it’s effective, but we just don’t know why anybody would want one.
This one is actually pretty good. Buying a complete deck can be expensive, and long boards can easily stretch into three figures. As such, having one nicked can be pretty annoying.
A NoJack is a small plate that bolts onto the trucks of your board and allows you to use a regular laptop leash to secure your deck to a fence, a lamppost, stranded pensioner, or whatever else is around at the time.
Either that, or you could just pick your board up and take in in the coffee shop with you.
11) The Poser
This one will surely enrage all the skaters out there. Why bother taking the time to learn how to ollie properly when there’s a quick and easy solution?
The Poser is a lanyard that, at one end, wraps around the trucks on your board, while you hold the other end in your hand. The idea is that it helps the rider ollie higher, and with much more ease than doing it properly.
What the designers have maybe failed to take into account is that learning to ollie is a kind of right of passage for all skaters. Getting that first proper air and landing it is one of the most beautiful feelings on the planet. The Poser takes that away from a skater.
Maybe more importantly, when you’re not popping fake ollies with it, you kind of look like you’ve got your board on a lead, as if you’re taking it out for a walk. We don’t know anybody who can style that out.
Despite sounding like the sister company of Skoda, we think the SKÄTÖ is an idea with potential.
Fundamentally, it’s just a leash that attaches to a bike saddle, allowing a skater to hold on to the other end and be pulled along. While that’s kind of cool in itself, the possibilities grow when you think about using a SKÄTÖ to get bigger air.
Much like how winches are often used in urban snowboarding when there’s no slope to throw a boarder at a spot, the SKÄTÖ could be used to get to spots, or hit lines that simply wouldn’t be accessible just on a skateboard.
Maybe this idea failed to get off the ground because the belt holding your jeans up would do pretty much the same job.
13) Rebel Skates
Rebel Skates was a hopeful project where somebody wanted to open a skate store and skatepark in their home town. Leaving the whole park Vs street thing aside, this seems a noble enough cause.
However, what set Rebel Skates apart from other skate parks was that it would going to be “centered [sic] around custom painted skateboards". Now, if those boards were revolutionary designs, kinds never seen before that transcended the sport, then we could understand the appeal.
Alas, they weren’t. The example above is, well, terrible.
We’re all for people pushing skating, and making accessible to more people. However, we weren’t surprised to see it attracted just $20 of its $450,000 goal.
Yes, the BowBoard is yet another take on the skateboard design. We say skateboard, it looks more like a scooter to us. The idea is to push down on a bridged board that, in turn, propels you along.
As with many products that are a redesign on the traditional skateboard, it looks a bit shit. Ask yourself, would you happily ride along the street, bobbing up and down on one of these?
That said, hooning around on one will no doubt do your quads and glutes the world of good. You’ll be looking like celebrity arse-owner Nicki Minaj in no time.
15) Candy Grip
Although it sounds more like a pleasure giving tip from Cosmopolitan, Candy Grip is grip tape that changes colour. Initially, we thought this might be like those mood rings from a few years ago that claimed to change colour depending on how you were feeling, but no.
This is griprape with that colour changing pearlescent pigment in it. The sort that boy racers sometimes paint their cars with.
We think the best part of the video is when you first get to see the product. “It’s purple right now" explains the inventor “but as you go up to it, it turns green". Impressive if only the board actually changed colours, as opposed to just appearing like regular, dark grey griptape.
The two colours available are described as Electric Raspberry and Strawberry Lightning, which are a bit too Ann Summers sounding for us.
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