I recently got a chance to check out an innovative new product that's a cross between a hoverboard and a skateboard but it's equally fun on pavement as it is on trails out in the woods. Sound fun? Let's check it out!
Traditionally, when thinking of boardsports, one may envision the excitement of the surfer taking advantage of offshore winds catching a slow curling wave at sunset or of the snowboarder cutting first tracks through an untouched glade on a bluebird day following a snowstorm. Conversely, the connotation of the skateboard by the average sport enthusiast may seem to be more utilitarian in nature rather than one of pure excitement. Some may view the skateboard as a piece of equipment which provides a means of transportation from point A to B that is limited to smooth paved areas while others may be interested in the technical mastery of street skating skills. However, the true thrill seekers would need to be exceptionally adept at the skateboard to be able to pull off tricks like the McTwist on a vert ramp.
The Onewheel may be just the right product to bridge the gap between user enjoyment and skill level for the land boardsports platform. Combining the thrill and excitement the typical sporting enthusiast seeks with a product that is easy to learn how to use and fun for all experience levels has always been the challenge. The Onewheel delivers in both categories. The revolutionary new electric boardsport is taking land and sea(shore) by storm and has begun to draw significant national attention with its first ever Onewheel Cross competition held at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado this June.
I am an avid winter sports enthusiast with over 15 years of snowboarding experience. Being summertime in San Diego, I jumped at the opportunity to demo the Onewheel, not only to test out a new product but also be able to bring back the experience of snowboarding during the long warm summertime here on the CA coast. Having no experience with the Onewheel®, I decided to get a little background on the product by going to the Onewheel website. I was surprised to find the level of technology built into the Onewheel such as the 2hp brushless hub motor which is mounted inside the wheel effectively delivering speeds up to 15mph, the solid-state inertial sensors providing stability and balance as the rider uses intuitive control to move forward or backwards, the 48V LiFePO4 supercharged battery pack which is capable of providing miles of riding in 20 minute charge times, and the built-in Bluetooth connectivity allowing stats tracking and adjustments to the board’s skill level settings via handheld device.
First impressions out of the box were that the Onewheel® was quite a bit heavier than expected, however weighing in at 25 lbs. along with the 11.5”x6.5” Vega tire proved effective at providing a sense of both stability and durability and by default giving confidence to the rider even before setting foot on the Onewheel. Be sure to read the operating instructions prior to first use, paying special attention to the locations of the pressure sensitive areas on the footpads and more importantly be sure to read the mounting/dismounting directions. Remember, if you happen to take a dive riding the Onewheel there is no soft landing in snow or water so the standard safety precautions of wearing a helmet and pads are recommended.
Sunny SoCal afternoon… power button on… time to take the Onewheel for my first ride! After bringing the board to the level position, a quick lean forward and I was off zipping down the street. Feeling confident with my previous boarding experience that I would get the hang of the Onewheel quickly, I was actually pretty excited to be “up on the first try” and couldn’t help but thinking of how easy it would be for a beginner to use and enjoy. Within minutes, heads in my neighborhood were spinning in bewilderment either silently wondering what just flew by or eagerly inquiring about what I was riding. After a few quick trips around the block, I felt pretty comfortable to step it up a notch by tackling new terrain such as nearby hills, grass and dirt trails.
I was surprised at the ability of the Onewheel to maintain its stability on a variety of surfaces while also having enough power to keep up speed. Unfortunately, I was not able to take the Onewheel to the beach to test in the sand, however after looking through several posts on the Onewheel Facebook page, would not hesitate to consider the Onewheel all-terrain. In another riding session, I brought the Onewheel to a local burger joint hotspot for some fun with a few friends. Immediately a small crowd gathered to inquire about the Onewheel and the buzz drew the attention of some younger skateboarders eager to test it out for themselves. The reaction was an overwhelmingly positive one, even after the news of the steep sounding price tag, however they did mention they would be willing to pay the current retail price for the Onewheel.
The Onewheel has successfully drawn my attention as a product and convinced me there is excitement to be had across a variety of terrain in the world of land boardsports. If I can scratch up enough cash from between the seats of my couch, I would buy one today and take it straight to the beach to carve some turns up and down the coastline. In the meantime, for those who may not be able to afford the current price tag, give it some time for the price to reflect the market.
Onewheel can be purchased online for $1,499 and they offer a plan with payments as low as $132 / month should the upfront cost be a bit above your budget :)