Another new longboard, the Freebord with G3 Trucks, acts almost nothing like a skateboard when underfoot. Indeed, with six wheels and two foot-ensconcing binding wings, the Freebord, which costs $229, can produce a wild ride down terrain so steep that you’d normally need a brake.
Made to mimic a snowboard, Freebord (www.freebord.com) riders buzz straight downhill on two polyurethane wheels mounted on a spinning mechanism that sits in the middle of the trucks. Leaning into a turn, the center wheels rotate and the rider carves on his inside or outside wheels, which act like edges on a snowboard.
It’s hard to explain. And it’s even harder to master. I watched several Freeboard videos online, with the riders carving effortlessly on steep streets and skidding to stops with precision heretofore unknown on a skateboard.
But on the hills around my house, I flailed and crashed into the grass. It took several laps until the feel for the board came through, and even then I was uneasy with my technique.
A steep learning curve is common in sports like surfing and snowboarding. So why not Freebording, too? Though it looks like a longboard, this is really a new discipline in the sport.
Freebord cites more than 50,000 boards sold since its founding in 1998. There are videos to show proof of this board’s potential. If you try it, wear a helmet and pads. And be prepared for a few bumps before you get it down.
But once mastered, you’ll be able to essentially snowboard on land. Step in. Point the deck downhill. And ride off carving, the concrete or asphalt skimming past below, gravity pulling faster as the wind picks up and begins to beat on your face.