How to Learn Roller Surfing / Streetboarding / Ripstik riding

by Shawn Bradybunch

Some years ago, one of my cousins one day appeared with a Streetboard.  Streetboarding may not be the right term though, for it needs a smoother surface than a conventional tar street to be ridden on. 

A streetboard, also called a Rollersurfer or sometimes a snakeboard (though a snakeboard's board itself can do different motions) or a ripstik or a waveboard or a caster board or a street surfer, is like a skateboard, except it only has two wheels and it is divided in the middle with slight possible balancing movement between the two parts. 

At first I didn't think much of it, but before I knew it I tried it and next time I was at the shops, I instinctively bought myself one.  Then of course I had to teach myself to ride it.

First, what you need is a smooth surface to ride it on.  I've seen some people ride it on smooth pavement, or you could try some tennis courts, or, though slightly small, indoors on a squash court or a dance hall. 

Secondly, for a beginner it's very difficult if not impossible to just hold it with one foot and jump on and go.  So you'll need some kind of support you can lean on.  If you're practising on a tennis court, you can hold on to the fence. 

Put one foot on the front of the streetboard.  Now, while holding yourself upright with the fence, also put your other foot on the board, on the back bit of the board designed for the other foot. 

Give yourself a slight push to the side which you'd like to go into the direction of.  You probably will not manage the first time, but if you happen to be able to keep your balance for a split second, start moving the foot on the back part of the board from side to side repeatedly (or front to back from your own viewpoint - you'll be riding the board sideways.). 

You'll probably be able to go two to three metres before you lose your balance.  That's cool - as long as you got the feel of it. 

Keep repeating this until it feels like your body suddenly "gets it" - you'll feel like you start just knowing how to do it, almost like when you first learned to ride a bike and suddenly you were able to keep your balance and just go for it. 

If you're having trouble picking up momentum, try to push yourself a bit to wiggle your upper and lower body in opposite directions, even exaggerated if need be until you get up enough speed to stay in motion.  Soon you'll know how and how much to move your body to drive the board forward. 

After a few days of mastering this, try switching things around and going in the opposite direction.  At first it will feel like you absolutely cannot do this, but then suddenly you'll manage to go a short distance, and after that you will know how to ride your streetboard both to your left or right. 

And once you don't have to concentrate on how to do it anymore, it really becomes one of those fun things you can do.  I've also been told by some that it's good exercise, since your muscles are always working keeping your body balanced.

Also check out this Ferrari FBW32 Portable Cruiser Skateboard!