No one knows who invented the first skateboard, but it’s certain the sport first became popular in the late 1940s. California surfers were looking for a way to “catch a wave” when ocean conditions weren’t good for getting out on the board.
Skateboarding’s not a sport for everyone. To be a skater, you need the unique gift of great balance along with a measure of fearlessness. Knee and elbow pads, plus a helmet, don’t hurt, either.
Thanks to pro skaters like Tony Hawk and the extreme-sports X Games, skateboarding is now more popular than ever. Many communities even build elaborate skate parks and plazas with a variety of obstacles to keep young skaters from pursuing their pastime on streets and sidewalks.
It may seem that skateboarding is inherently low tech—nothing but a platform, wheels and a rider. But this is an electric skateboard controlled by a smartphone. A free app allows riders to accelerate, slow down, and stop simply by sliding a finger across the screen. An electric motor propels the skateboard up to 12.5 mph and provides ample power for scaling 10% inclines.
This revolutionary new invention challenges the whole notion of what a skateboard looks like. Like a cross between roller skates and a skateboard, these sidewinding skates are propelled by leaning side to side, allowing you to skateboard without having to push off the ground. Riders simply place their feet on the two platforms and lean side-to-side to rotate the rubber wheels around the feet, propelling riders forward in a serpentine motion similar to longboard skateboarding.
Another new design for foot-borne transport can be found in The Electric Gyroboard, controlled entirely by subtle movements in a rider’s feet. A rider’s balance is easily maintained even while stopped by the internal gyro stabilization. The gyroboard makes for an eye-catching recreational device, or could be a memorable and unique gift for anyone who works in a warehouse or has to get to and fro frequently.